‘I Take Full Blame, One Of The Worst Moments Of My Life’ – Fabregas Apologises For Barca Defeat

Chris Wright

9th, March 2011


By Chris Wright

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has taken sole responsibility (in 140 characters or less) for his side’s defeat in the Camp Nou last night after his ill-conceived backheel allowed Andres Iniesta to retrieve the ball, pick a path through the Gunners’ cramped defensive line for Lionel Messi, who rounded the move off by stubbing the ball over Manuel Almunia (Szczesny dislocated a finger with quarter-of-an-hour gone) and volleying Barcelona in front from close range.

Seven minutes after the interval, Arsenal pulled one back when Sergio Busquets’ mis-directed clearance pinged awkwardly off the near-side corner of his rectangular head and into his own net, though three minutes later came the incident that robbed Arsenal of any potential impetus they may have been sitting on – Robin van Persie left the field, and not on a stretcher as many people predicted.

After picking up a caution earlier in the first-half, the Dutchman saw yellow again for lashing a shot against the advertising hoardings after blatantly not cottoning on to the fact that he had indeed been called offside moments beforehand.

Said Van Persie after the game:

“I cannot understand that view from the ref. If there were four, five, six seconds in between, you can make a check (for offside). One second, it’s a joke.

“I tried to explain there were 95,000 people jumping up, how can I hear the whistle? We feel betrayed a bit, when it was 1-1 it was all to play for and in my opinion this referee killed the game.”


Still, Swiss referee Massimo Busacca saw fit to rid the game of the foul, time-wasting swine, and Barca took full advantage – swamping and cloying at the Gunners both defensively and offensively.

First Xavi, by way of a glancing deflection off Bacary Sagna, finished off an incisive passing move after Iniesta and David Villa had rushed the ball through Arsenal’s backline and then, two minutes later, Laurent Koscielny felled Pedro in the box with Messi clipping home the resultant penalty kick.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was left fuming at the referee’s conduct in his post-match presser, claiming that he was ‘convinced’ his side were going to win the game before Busacca pulled the rug out from underneath them:

“I felt Barca gave a lot in the first half. We were completely dominated, I agree with that, but in the second half we felt there was more space.

“I knew that like the first game we could come back into the game and overall I’m convinced we would have won this game.

“I think two kinds of people will be unhappy – those who love Arsenal, and those who love the game. We are frustrated with [Busacca’s] decision. It is very difficult to understand his attitude.

“We lost against a very good Barca side, congratulations to them and good luck for the future, but we have many regrets tonight because we didn’t expect to lose the game like that.

“I feel sorry for the people who watched the game tonight.”

While RVP’s red card was ridiculously harsh and a fine indicator of the obliging incompetence that seems to fall in Barca’s favour on a few too many occasions as the Big Cup progresses, it’s an inescapable fact that the Gunners had to wait until the 75th minute for their first touch in Barca’s penalty area and that they duly went on to manage a grand total of ZERO shots (either on or off target), even in the 55 minutes they played for with 11 men on the pitch for Pete’s sake.

I mean, just have a butcher’s at the BBC’s stat table…

That ain’t great.

Even the most one-eyed Gooner must surely accept that he result was never really in doubt after the Catalans began to pulse.

What say you, one-eyed Gooners? Any thoughts on last night’s proceedings?

Posted in Arsenal, Barcelona

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  1. drags says:

    i think the red card was definitely a ridiculous decision, but i think van persie could easily have seen a red for his ‘slap’ on alves just before half time. he was fuming!
    Also the arsenal goal was very lucky and i think the outcome of the game would not really have changed anyway, arsenal hardly touched the ball and created 1 half-chance the whole match. so they cant come out and say they would have won it, barca were class and would have won regardless i think.
    A main concern for me is the trend of shocking reffereeing lately, not sure whats going on.

  2. EXECUTIONER says:


  3. Tinez says:

    @drags – your comment about the alves faceplant belongs in a stand-up routine.

    outplayed. simply. but barcelona went through by 1 goal – even with all that dominance. let’s see what happens when they could up against a team of experienced defenders.

  4. Neutral says:

    It’s clear Arsenal came to defend, but I mean, when they are down in scores, they need to start attacking. Sure the RVP sending was harsh, but when he was sent off, it’s time to somehow put in a central striker, possibly playing a 4-4-1, but instead they continue defending even with 10 men! Against Barcelona of all team! A week and a half ago Arsenal was racing for 4 trophies, come this weekend, they may only still be chasing 1 (if they were to lose to Man U in the FA Cup). Ohh my, I smell another trophy-less season for the gunners. Maybe, just maybe, they need to buy new guns.

    On a better note, what about that Shaktar Donetsk game? That was a good game.

  5. Tinez says:

    come up against*

  6. gus ceaser says:

    barca were better before and after the game,but arsenal were robbed of there chance with a joke of a red card,barca took full advantage of red card and you will see that almunia only made the majority of saves after the red card,arsenal have to bounce back against utd and barca will be hard to stop in the champions league
    – from a realistic arsenal fan.

  7. gaptooth says:

    as tony cascarino put it ” it was a bit like the haye v harrison fight!” loads of hype but essentially a very one sided affair

    i had a sneaky feeling throughout that arsenal were gonna get thru due to a slice of luck , but to be fair , that would have robbed the tournament of a better team. Im glad i was wrong .

    regarding cesc , he is a funny guy , im not sure what to make of him because this match seemed to represent a conflict of interest for him. He was hugging and kissing his opponents before the game (which is understandable) , he branded them “the best team in football history” at the emirates , he wanted to go in the summer and he plaid awfully yesterday and practically gifted them a goal , altho not many players could do what iniesta and messi did.
    This type of want-away behaviour is so dangerous and arsenal fans should not take it lightly because it directly effects performances , and now could jepardise their season because of cesc’s injury.

    I think wenger got it wrong rushing him back for the second year in a row, because the collateral damage could leave them trophy-less once more , which will be a massive shame

    cesc is a great player – but i really question his mentality and professionalism

  8. tapioca says:

    “…on the plus-side, though, if Barca win the CL now maybe they’ll finally have enough money to buy me!”

    My own personal highlight of the match was the karma-tastic Busquets own goal, because he’s a diving, cheating, see-you-next-Tuesday.

  9. HerpMcDerp says:

    I don’t see how what difference the sending off made. Van Lampard did the square root of Eff All up to the sending off. The first time I even noticed him was when he got booked for that petulant little shove on Alves.

  10. K P V says:

    i thought Arsenal were the better team


    follow me on twitter @andrewabrahim yall

  11. Branden says:

    The sending off made a huge difference.

    Arsenal’s game plan was the same as the first leg. Sit back and defend like hell for 70-75 min. Let Barca press high and run themselves ragged. Then start applying the pressure when Barca is tired. If the Supermen of Barcelona get tired after that much pressing.

    Look at the outcome of the first leg. Arsenal was entirely dominated for the first 65 minutes or so? Then came back and scored two goals to win the tie. Not saying the outcome could have been the same here, but that was the game plan.

    Losing van Persie killed that. A team like Barca thrives on space, and an Arsenal, with only 9 outfield players, doesn’t take up as much space as one with 10 outfield players. Many times during the first half Arsenal were defending with a back 6, with Nasri and Rosicky tracking the Barca fullbacks all the way up. Without van Persie to pressure the CBs when they receive a pass back the cause was hopeless.

    But even for all that domination, Arsenal was one Bendtner touch away ffrom going on.

  12. jon says:

    it’s cool, you don’t have to elaborate, just link us to your shitty blog!

  13. K P V has lost it says:

    K P V has just left the planet everyone. That, or he’s being a shit-stirring moron.

  14. The Yank says:

    What a sap. Arsenal lost as soon as that buffoon Van Persie was sent off. It may have been harsh, but he was getting it sooner or later. You got beat, plain and simple. Don’t try to play martyr, Fabregas.

  15. chet says:

    no denying we were ridiculously outplayed. but despite all that, we were one decent bendtner first touch away from going through…

  16. Michael D says:

    I agree with the overall comments that while it was an incredibly harsh red, its likely that he would’ve seen it at another point in the game. But that masks the fact that Arsenal absolutely baffled me with their game plan. They basically tried to pull an Inter Milan but don’t nearly have the strategic experience nor players to defend and play the counter like Milan did before. And I find it humorous that in the build-up Wenger kept talking about how Arsenal would “play their game” but did nothing of the sort. And please bear in mind, this was against a less-than-fit Barca team that was missing two key players in Puyol & Pique. But oh well, they still have the PL title to play for if they can pull themselves together. I just really don’t know if this Arsenal team has that killer instinct that they used to have. Very talented and loads of technical skill but they just seem to choke up in the big occasions. Oh yeah, and the officiating has been all over the place.

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