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Barcelona’s Lesson to Arsenal

It’s the same philosophy, roughly the same infrastructure, but it’s a whole different result that can be found in Barcelona and Arsenal

Pass and move

The philosophy of both Barcelona and Arsenal when they’re playing football. Both are amazing to watch, but Barcelona still are a class above in terms of this. But when you ask anyone, who are the two best teams in the world in terms of passing, the knowledgeable (or even some not so knowledgeable) will definitely say Barcelona and Arsenal.

So what’s the difference between the Spanish side and the English side? I think that one reason behind it: Barcelona take their time to carve out chances, Arsenal too often rush to making a pass or a shot from somewhere outside the box without really getting inside the box.

Which brings me to my next reason, the movement of the Barcelona players is incredible, the work-rate is high, and there is a lot of productivity coming out of the passes they make. Just look at the likes of Pedro, Villa and Messi, darting runs into the box, which really brings out why their passing is the best in the world, having the ability to pick out those passes. Arsenal on the other hand, don’t work nearly as hard as Barcelona do.

Barca have Xavi, Iniesta, Messi etc.  Arsenal have Fabregas and Wilshere

All the players mentioned above all in some way or another went through their respective clubs’ academy teams and made it to the big time. So just how did Xavi, Iniesta and Messi turn out to be world beaters when Fabregas and Wilshere can be second-rate at best when comparing to Barcelona?

I think the reason behind that is that the Arsenal team simply changes way too often. Just look at how their team has changed over the years, Gallas left, Henry left, Vieira left, and a few others have left. The fact is, that they haven’t replaced those players properly, and they are still suffering the effects of not properly replacing those players.

Compare that to what Barcelona do, which is to actually bring in someone before selling someone. One example would be the Zlatan Ibrahimovic case, where Barcelona actually secured the services of David Villa before offloading Ibrahimovic to AC Milan.

Barcelona have already a basic outline behind the squad, with Andres Iniesta and Xavi dominating the midfield for years already, Puyol being a lynchpin in their defence, and Lionel Messi, simply being amazing. The fact is, Barcelona don’t lose their star players, they simply sell those off form and bring in better ones, and they actually splash the cash unlike Arsene Wenger. Another comparison would be in selling Ronaldinho, a bold but correct move. He was way past his best and it was exactly the correct time to sell him.

Submitted by Two Liverpool Fans




  1. simon

    May 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    mate the opening paragraph tells me you know nothing about arsenal, arsenal rush to a shot outside the box!!! do me a favour we are always trying to walk the ball in the net, we rush to make a pass,what!! we pass to much mate, how many times is our passing broken down in the middle just outside the box, because we are trying to thread it thru legs!!when barcelona make a defined pass, it then splits teams open, we do not shut people down in 7 secs, whilst this is the barcelona rule. we dont work hard enough of the ball to retain possession

    • mark

      May 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      Simon I totally agree I think over the season we scored 1 goal from shooting outside the box and I think that was a deflected Cesc goal and we only have an handful of attempts from outside the box. I think the key differences between us and Barca is firstly the inferior quality in players that we have, we don’t work hard enough without the ball and press the man in posession, the quality of their front 3 Messi, Pedro & Villa as opposed to RVP, Walcott who is a liability on the wing & Arshavin who turns up now and again. Barca also defend well as a team from the front and keep the ball better than us whereas we have players like Diaby, Song and others who give the ball away when not under pressure. The only similarity between Barca and us is our domination of posession and that’s it and they are way more productive when they have the ball whilst we are impotent in the final third and in defence.

    • fatah

      May 31, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      i agree.. arsenel cannot retain the possesion.. coz the back four always retreat to middle half. n try to defend the box.. while barca woould try to retain the ball by pressing even in the opponent half. you can see Puyol wandering around try to take the ball as quickly as possible. arsenal did that when we had tony adams, keown, bould n petit. but now too many players too lazy to chase the ball.. that’s why i’m hoping cesc go n vermaelen become captain so our back four can be strong again. we need a leader in the back..

  2. Joe

    May 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Ha, I wish arsenal rushed with the ball and showed that kind of urgency, because we desperately lack it. if we rushed we would be much better off for it. I agree with the the comment about energy levels though, that is the main difference between the two teams for me. Barca work a lot harder than us to win the ball back. Hell, even man utd do.

    As for why Wilshere and Fabregas aren’t as good as Iniesta or Xavi, first of all, Wilshere and Cesc are 19 and 24 respectively. Secondly, isn’t that like asking why Gareth Bale isn’t as good as Ronaldo?

  3. steven111

    May 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    It is not the same philosophy actually. There are differences.

    Arsenal have inferior players. Wilshere wouldn’t get in our reserves and we are buying Fabregas to sit on bench. Not one Arsenal player would get in our team, not one. We have the greatest team ever that this why we get better results than Arsenal.

    Wenger is not in same class as Guardiola. He is a revolutionary.

    • Chris

      May 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm

      Emmm…. agree with the quality of players somewhat, Cesc RVP and Wilshere aside (subtract Busquets and David Villa) but Guardiola has not revolutionised a club that was always going to produce these players. Wenger revolutionised Arsenal in that they now are producing high quality players.

    • Stoph

      May 31, 2011 at 11:04 am

      ‘Steven’ ay? That’s a very Catalan name isn’t it.

  4. crusader

    May 30, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I wonder if you’ve ever watched Arsenal at all. A riculously unknowledgable blog if ever I’ve seen one.Arsenal would possibly have won it if they had had Messi in the team.

  5. James Wilfred

    May 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    The difference is in the epl the thugs can unleash career killing tackles without fear of being punished.Furthermore the epl guys in black are more lenient compared to the cl refs. In the cl final notice the rd did not make crunching tackles or robust challenges on messi and company. This was the realisation that it could result in a red card.
    The latest is the red faced cunt is preparing to topple Barca.He may not want to know the Barcelona team will be around for the next few years. To build a team to overcom the Spanish aint easy and will take a minimum of two to three years.
    As for domination in Europe it is an uphill task. First the refs must be bought and other teams are strengthening.
    He better give up because in my opinion time is against him and it’s better for him to leave on ahigh. For if he persists,he could lose the next two cl finals which would be ego busting.
    Some managers have tried to dominate but are not willing to admit that domainating the domestic scene is the pinnacle. After that it’s a downward slide.

  6. NIcholas

    May 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    i agree with u guys , the class of our Arenal players is not worthy to compare with Barca.Arsenal players are not world class, only Cesc &RVP can stand a chance. Lets not be fooled , Nasri is yet to be cpmared with Iniesta, Walcot overated but no near Pedro. As for the rest they are below arsenal class, and dont deserve to be waering that Shirt with a Gun. Imagin barca developed Iniesta whilst having Deco at his best, Pedro for Ronaldinho. Mascherano nw for Veterian Puyol. So what we have at arsenal is fun, we expect great results from average pleyers wc is impossible. A SPADE A SPADE , GOONERS , WE SHALL DIE OF CRISIS OF EXPECTATION. Mr Wenger lost the plot this tym , these boys will never become our ever cherished one and only Invincible.

    • Stoph

      May 31, 2011 at 11:06 am

      Oh shut up you mug. Learn to spell

  7. Jan

    May 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I actually find Barca quite boring. When Arsenal are at their best they are attractive than Barca imo. Barcas passing is very good but without Messi they would be too predictable.. Messi does two things: A) He does the unpredictable and carves through the opponent singlehandedly. And B) leaves space for the others.

    So Messi is what makes Barca win…..

  8. Natal

    May 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    For me i think is true Barca has better quality than gunners and their players are more hard working but the secret wipoon of barca is get de ball and pass it,apart from demight Messi who has that right to drible unlike gunners where everybody attempts to do so and yet can not keep the posession.
    So if gunners can adopt get and pass system then dribling leave it to only Nasri.we good shoping from weak points we can much Barca sucessifuly.

  9. Billy MacInnes

    May 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Big difference is that Barcelona have an easy ride in the Spanish league and the Champions League. If they had to play in England, they would be scythed down by opponents every week in front of referees who think dangerous tackles and trying to kick good teams off the park are part and parcel of the game. I shudder to think what Stoke would do to them, for instance. Or Blackburn or Birmingham.

    It’s much harder for a team like Arsenal to win the EPL than it is for Barca to win the Spanish League.
    To try and avoid the very physical challenges in a much quicker game, Arsenal have to play a similar game as Barcelona but at a faster pace.

    Yes, the players at Barca better but they have an easier time of it over the course of a season. Besides, let’s not forget Arsenal beat Barca this season and were ahead of Barca on goal difference when the ridiculous sending off of Van Persie occurred.

  10. Steve Carson

    May 30, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I agree with 99%. The Gunners mostly have to improve on winning ball back which Barca is excellent. As far as us shooting from outside in panic…what a laugh! I grow old waiting for SN outside shot.

  11. joshua

    May 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    The main difference between Arsenal and Barca is quality and work rate. Barcelonas attacking three are constantly moving and looking for space. Then Xavi and Iniesta who are some of the best passers of the ball waiting for the perfect moment to open the defence but I think Wilshere and Fabregas could match Xavi and Iniesta if they had the same quality movement to work with. A massive difference aswell is Arsenal dont have Messi.

  12. Kwabena Nketia

    May 30, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I think the only time Arsenal played like Barca this season was when we beat Chelsea 3-1 at home. We pressed very hard anytime we did not have the ball. And on the two occasions we scored in the second half, it was through this pressing and the speed of Theo to split the defence. Just hope the economist coach that we have will spend the money that is purported to be sitting in our transfer chest.

  13. ODANE

    May 30, 2011 at 6:46 pm



  14. The BearMan

    May 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Having watched my team over the years I knew exactly when Arsenal was going to run out of gas. Arsenal needed a full squad of quality players and a backup of Excellent Reserve players to mount a reasonable challenge each season. All Arsenal could rely on was 11 good players and no backup should anyone suffer an injury.

    Many Arsenal fans were shooting me down when I said, Arsenal needed to add 5 quality players in January to push on to the end of the season, even to call back our better Reserves from loan instead of rushing some of our injured players back to quickly. I could not also understand the unfitness of players that spent most of the season on the bench. Arsenal needs to do much pruning and add players in each department, but do not stop there – remove some of our lame coaches as well.

    11 players needed to go and bring in 6 then add 5 of our reserves. But do not stop there. Make ready another reserve squad to start challenging the first team for places.

  15. amet

    May 30, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    i agree with this article..i often see sagna likes to run the ball and cross it very quickly(RUSHING AND EASILY BLOCKED BY ENEMY)..walcott too..they should learn how to control ball better..i dont how sagna and how arsenal control the ball except nasri and cesc…spanish how to control the ball properly just like barca did..arsenal like sagna and the rest of squad always losing ball..

  16. jp

    May 30, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    I disagree, the main difference between arsenal and barca is confidence and passion. Barca players would die for their club where arsenal players just think about leaving…There is only 1 arsenal player who is 100% passionate about the club and thats wilshere. Secondly Arsenal are lacking in confidence which is why they throw away important games…barca, newcastle and birmingham to name a few.

  17. Rudolf

    May 30, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Wait till our kid Ryo Miyaichi makes it to the first team. Arsenal will be the best team in the world! He’ll be our Messi and hopefully within a year or two we’ll have a defensive line full of world class players. Szenznznznznzy will be the best keeper in the world in 2 years time. Mark my words. Arsenal are going places.

  18. Alan Wong (HK )

    May 31, 2011 at 1:54 am

    In a way I am glad the gunners quad challenge fizzle out.Imagine the heartbreak of losing the cc despite dominating.As for the cl and fa trophies,had the gunners reached the finals ,chances of them losing will be 90%.
    I am glad gunner fans did not have to stare at defeats.Wenger thinks otherise aboot winning trophies. Until he fixes the flaws,the gunners will continue to lose the crunch games.

  19. mathias muhangi

    May 31, 2011 at 7:53 am

    I think arsenal is a class apart though to the disappointments they had this season.lets watch out next season.

  20. Rocco

    May 31, 2011 at 7:53 am

    How can you compare Barca to Arsenal both teams operate on completely different budgets and leagues.
    1.spanish league is easy for barca because best footballing teams wins, teams do not have a opposing tactic to slick passing compare that to epl nearly all teams kick Arsenal off the park.
    2. Barca spend big on gaps there youth/academy players cant fill. YAYA TOURE, RONALIDHINO, ETO, VILLA, HENRY, ERIC ABIDAL, DAVID ALVES the list continues these players are all above what arsenal can afford due to Wengers revolution bigger stadium etc.
    3. Barca players are allowed to play there football la liga refs dont tolerate teams kicking barca off the park, epl refs allow chelsea man utd, stoke, bolton all to kick arsenal out. Champions league is same refs from contiental europe dont allow thuggery.
    so you cant compare the teams unless its an even playing field FOOLS!

  21. Billy MacInnes

    May 31, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I’m with you Rocco. Barca would never win the EPL because the likes of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta would spend half the season injured. They would also be bullied off the ball with challenges that would get free kicks in Spain but not in England. It’s like comparing Apples with Oranges.
    The reason why they do well in the CL is because the refs are European, not English, so they get a lot of free kicks they wouldn’t get if they were playing in England.
    They also benefited from some seriously dodgy sending offs. The Robin Van Persie sending off came at a perfect time for Barca when Arsenal had one foot in the next round. I would like to have seen what would have happened if Arsenal had 11 men on the pitch for the last 20 minutes in Spain.

    • fatah

      May 31, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      agree.. barca players can’t dive in EPL

  22. amet

    May 31, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    i dont care about barca..they physical suitable for them for la liga challenge but i dont understand why wenger want to follow like barca,wenger should know that younger absolutely cannot challenge the english physical game and least wenger should buy tough defender and striker,fast,good control and not easy to panic..midfielder we have wilshere(tough guy although small),cesc,arshavin,nasri and ramsey..its good enough to win cup..AND THEY MUST PLAY CREATIVE.NOT JUST MAKE THE BALL RUN AND CROSS..

  23. jyola

    August 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    arsenal team and boss and manager are nt serious

  24. Kye

    August 18, 2011 at 6:00 am

    I think that Barca is a great team all of there players are world class but I think that there over rated. Yer they got Messi, Puyol players lie that but what whould happen if Messi was injured for a year then their system whould fall apart. But with Arsenal if a player like Sanga got injured they’ed just replace him. But most of the players should’nt play for us (Arsenal) our player like Henry have just been traded and Wenger bought Crapy ones!!

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