Arsene Wenger slams 'naive' Arsenal
Lionel Messi scored two late goals which left Arsene Wenger very frustrated with his team's display
As the teams walked out to the UEFA Champions League anthem, the electricity in the air was palpable, as Arsenal kicked off to a huge roar from the Emirates faithful, who had turned up in numbers. The Gunners got off to a fairly decent start and it looked like Arsenal were really going to challenge Barcelona at the Emirates.
However, 2 Lionel Messi goals in the second half cost Arsenal the match, and Arsene Wenger was fuming at the way those goals were conceded.
"We were naive," he told BT Sport. "Similar to Monaco [in last season's last 16], when it looked like we could win this game we gave it away.
"That [second goal] makes it realistically very difficult, if not impossible [to come back]. We have to go there and fight.
"It is difficult because I thought in the last 20 minutes there would be room to score. We had the chances but didn’t score.
"They are lethal. One thing we couldn’t afford to give them was counter attacks because they are very dangerous. That’s exactly what we did. We pushed too far in their half and got caught. That’s down to their quality as well.
"It’s too easy to blame I think you have to respect the effort the players put in. What is frustrating is that it looked like they might tire.
"I knew in the last 20 minutes we would have a chance to win the game if we don’t make any mistakes and that’s the frustration of the night."
Arsenal have gone out in this stage of the Champions League for the last 5 years and barring any miracle, it looks like that it is going to happen for the sixth time consecutively this year.
Lionel Messi finally scores against Petr Cech
Lionel Messi proved a thorn in Arsenal's side yet again as his second-half goals earned Barcelona a 2-0 win at Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Tuesday.
The Spanish holders' feared attack had been well shackled by a disciplined home side for much of the evening, but a lightning break after 71 minutes saw Argentine Messi teed up by Neymar to score past keeper Petr Cech for the first time in his career.
Messi, who scored four goals against the Gunners in 2010 and a double a year later in knockout round wins, doubled Barca's lead seven minutes from time when he beat Cech with a penalty, having been tripped by Arsenal substitute Mathieu Flamini.
Arsenal relied on counter-attacks and had chances, most notably from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud, but now have a daunting task to turn the tie around in the Nou Camp.