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Referee scapegoated

Arsenal were given a serious going over in the Camp Nou last night: beaten 3-1, and given such a football lesson that the next time Arsene Wenger complains about a negative approach from opposition teams they can show him a video of this match.

And yet, and yet, and yet: despite the fact Barcelona dominated possession to the point that it looked like they were exchanging magnets; or that they could have easily had five or six; or that they had more shots on their own goal than the Gunners did, Nicolas Bendtner could have knocked them out in the dying minutes (were he not such a complete donkey). Not only that, had Robin van Persie not been sent off for two ridiculously soft bookings just after they had taken the lead in the tie, it could have been a very different game.

Arsene Wenger was certainly focussing on the referee, rather than the undoubted hammering his side took by a far superior team, saying that Arsenal would have won if not for that decision. It seems like a bit of a stretch, but you’ve got to give a man something, right?

‘We would have won that game,’ the Arsenal manager said. ‘I felt that Barcelona gave a lot in the first half of the game but in the second half we felt there was more space. I felt that, like in the first game, we would have come back into it and overall I am convinced we would have won this game.

‘I think two kinds of people can be unhappy: those who love Arsenal and those who love football can be frustrated with the referee's decision because it's very difficult to understand his attitude. How can you kill a football game like that? It was a very promising game, very interesting, that's the regret. We lost against a very good Barcelona side, congratulations to them and good luck for the future, but we have many regrets because we didn't expect to lose the game like that. I feel sorry for people watching the game tonight.’

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