There were three pivotal might-have-beens during Arsenal’s ultimately disappointing second-leg tie in the Nou Camp last night.
1. Abou Diaby’s poor decision to go left for Bendtner when Walcott was streaking through on the right. If Theo had converted (fairly substantial if), 2-0 would have given Barca a real problem.
2. The poor decision to flag Nicklas Bendtner offside when he went through on Valdes with the score 1-1. Again, a second Arsenal goal at any point would really have worried Barca.
3. Tomas Rosicky’s opportunity two-thirds through the second half after Arsenal had enjoyed an impressive spell of possession. 3-2 would have made the last 15 minutes extremely interesting.
All that said, over 180 minutes it would have been something close to a travesty if Arsenal had progressed at Barcelona’s expense. But the second-leg performance was brave, committed and honest from a much-depleted side and there should be no shame in going down to a tremendous Messi performance.
Let’s hope heads don’t drop too low in advance of the crucial trip to Tottenham.