Barcelona have now gone two matches without winning and according to Julián Ruiz, Barcelona are a team in crisis.
Ruiz writes in El Mundo today:
“In the second half, Barcelona were a team without spark or fluidity, a toy without batteries – the team was like a deflated doll. Messi looks to have lost the thread of his dynamite and Iniesta, the poor guy, looks like he is sleep-walking. I don’t want to sound too opportunistic but I was ridiculed when I said Barcelona are a worse side that last year and above all two years ago. In this country everything has to be black and white; Barcelona are in crisis, that’s the truth. Propaganda and fanaticism don’t play a part.”
Ruiz’s colleague at El Mundo Paco Cabezas, gives a slightly more balanced view of last night’s match saying:
“However creative you are and however well you can play, great teams are built on triumphs and defeats. Arsene Wenger knows this all to well having gone six years without a title. And now Guardiola experienced a similar feeling in London. Arsenal imposed themselves on this match and I think won fairly thanks to their resistance and the initiative of Jack Wilshere. Guardiola, on the other hand, replaced Villa with Keita. At the time the team should have been taking steps forward, instead they backed down. A fatal decision from Pep.”
Sport’s Lluis Mascaro, simply blamed the referee and Guardiola for the defeat:
“A lack of luck could be used an as excuse for defeat but the referee annulling a legal goal and not awarding a penalty also work. This argument sounds like an excuse but it’s not. The other reality is that Guardiola was wrong to bring Keita on for Villa. A match they could have won 3-0 was lost. What a shame.”
AS columnist Santi Gimenez has accused Barcelona of lacking fighting spirit to match their superb technique.
“There were two teams who needed the ball to play their game but there was only one ball, and the question came down as to how such a dilemma would unfold. Broadly, it unfolded like this: Barca had the ball but not the unbreakable spirit or faith that characterises wounded teams. And a wounded Englishman is very dangerous. And he knows how to fight back. And in the end strength overcame technique.”
Spain’s leading daily, El Pais had these comments:
“Even though Arsenal’s goals came late, they played well and made an interesting come-back with dynamic, lively football. Wenger’s boys are better and better footballers, they have definitively lost respect for Barcelona who yesterday were more administrative and less ambitious or, at least, more vulnerable and less punishing.”
Pretty tough stuff considering Barcelona were playing one of the favourites to win the Champions League and a 1-0 win at home in the second leg send Barca into the quarter-finals.