Every decision referee Massimo Busacca got wrong - and right - in Barcelona vs Arsenal

How did the man in the middle perform in the Nou Camp cauldron?
ANALYSIS
By Oliver Yew

Arsenal's defeat to Barcelona at the Nou Camp was not without incident, and referee Massimo Busacca was at the end of stinging criticism from Arsene Wenger and Robin van Persie following the match.

The north London club were furious with some of the decisions made by Busacca and Wenger believed his side would have progressed had it not been for the decision to send Van Persie off for time wasting.

But it is not just the Gunners who will feel hard done by the referee as Barcelona will claim they had a couple of key decisions go against them over the 90 minutes, so Goal.com UK takes a look back at the key incidents from the game in the Nou Camp to see whether Arsenal really got a raw deal from the referee or whether the decisions even out over the course of the match...

27th minute

Incident: Samir Nasri battles with Daniel Alves just inside the Barcelona half and the full-back puts in a stern challenge on the French midfielder and appears to get the man and the ball.

The ref's decision: No foul, play on.

Why is it controversial: Arsene Wenger was furious with the challenge which left Samir Nasri in agony on the floor. Alves did appear to get the ball but the challenge ended with what looked like a scissor tackle. It was not the first time the referee had let play continue when it appeared Barcelona had committed a foul.

The law: A direct free-kick is awarded when a player kicks or attempts to kick an opponent, trips or attempts to trip an opponent or makes contact with the opponent before touching the ball when tackling.

Goal.com verdict: The correct decision - Arsenal were getting frustrated with many of the referee's decisions regarding tackling but he got this one spot on. Alves' challenge was physical and he did catch Samir Nasri with a scissoring motion, but the important aspect is he got plenty of the ball first.


33rd minute

Incident: Abou Diaby clatters into Lionel Messi just inside the Arsenal penalty area, right under the nose of the referee.

The ref's decision: No foul, play on.

Why was it controversial:
Barcelona were pressing for a breakthrough against an Arsenal team standing firm against wave after wave of attacks and there is no doubt they should have had a penalty. The referee was standing right next to the incident and he should have seen Diaby tripping Messi inside the area.

The law: A direct free-kick is awarded when a player kicks or attempts to kick an opponent, trips or attempts to trip an opponent or makes contact with the opponent before touching the ball when tackling.

If any of these offences are committed by a player inside their own penalty area then it's a penalty.

Goal.com verdict: The wrong decision - The referee was in a great position to see the foul and he made a huge mistake in not pointing to the spot. Arsenal got away with this decision.


45th minute

Incident: Tempers start to boil over as Jack Wilshere is fairly tackled on the halfway line, but the England midfielder seems to get his ankle caught and he stays down. The Barcelona players seem to take offence to this and as a result a lot of pushing and shoving occurs. Eric Abidal appears to put his hand around Van Persie's throat during the incident.

The ref's decision:
The referee was right in the mix of the melee, trying to break up the players. He chose not to book anyone following the incident.

Why is it controversial:
On another night Abidal would have been sent from the field. He clearly raised his hands to Van Persie and had the referee seen the incident Barcelona would have had to play the second half with 10 men.

The law: A player is sent off and shown the red card if they commit violent conduct, such as throwing a punch.

Goal.com verdict:
The wrong decision - Abidal was very lucky to stay on the pitch. A few weeks ago Abou Diaby was sent off against Newcastle for exactly the same thing and no-one would have had any arguments had the French defender been given his marching orders.

46th minute

Incident: Van Persie and Alves come together deep inside the Barcelona half. The Arsenal man tries to get past his opponent, who goes down clutching his face.

The ref's decision: Foul, and booking for Van Persie.

Why is it controversial: Van Persie certainly catches Daniel Alves but the Brazilian full-back goes down very easily clutching his face. The Dutch striker appears to push Alves' shoulder and that is all he needs to make a meal of the challenge.

The law: A direct free-kick is awarded when a player kicks or attempts to kick an opponent, trips or attempts to trip an opponent, makes contact with the opponent before touching the ball when tackling, jumps at an opponent, charges an opponent, strikes or attempts to strike an opponent or pushes an opponent.

A player can receive a yellow card for anything that can be deemed as violent conduct, such as throwing a punch, unsporting behaviour or persistent infringement of the laws, for example, a series of fouls.

Goal.com verdict: The correct decision - Van Persie was playing a dangerous game lifting his hands and pushing Daniel Alves but the full-back did make a meal of the contact and played a part in the Dutchman's yellow card. It was to prove crucial as the Gunners striker was controversially given his marching orders later in the match.

56th minute

Incident: Van Persie is played in behind the Barcelona defence but is marginally offside. He is not aware of the whistle going and fires a shot wide of the goal.

The ref's decision: The referee thinks the Dutchman is time wasting and shows him a second yellow card.

Why is it controversial:
The decision upset Arsenal fans because replays showed that the time between the referee's whistle and Van Persie's shot was one second. The Dutch striker himself argued against the decision, saying he did not hear the whistle amongst the noise of 95,000 fans.

The law: The referee can give a yellow card to a player who delays the restart of play. A player can be sent off for receiving a second caution in the match.

Goal.com verdict:
The wrong decision - The referee thinks he has gone by the letter of the law but this was an absolutely ridiculous decision. Not an ounce of common sense was displayed by the referee and the fact the time between the referee's whistle and the shot was one second rubs salt into the Arsenal wound. It was the key decision and the wrong one. No-one will ever know what the outcome would have been but it certainly had an effect on the course of the game as it is hard enough to play Pep Guardiola's side with 11 men, let alone 10.

71st minute

Incident: A tired looking challenge from Laurent Koscielny sends Pedro tumbling in the box.

The ref's decision: Penalty, no yellow card.

Why is it controversial: No real controversy surrounding this decision. Arsenal could have no complaints as Koscielny clearly brought down Pedro in the box. The referee could have produced a yellow card for the French defender, which would have led to him being sent off for a second caution and the Gunners going down to nine men, but the ref chose not to brandish a card.

The law: A direct free-kick is awarded when a player kicks or attempts to kick an opponent, trips or attempts to trip an opponent or makes contact with the opponent before touching the ball when tackling.

If any of these offences are committed by a player inside their own penalty area then it's a penalty.

A player can receive a yellow card for anything that can be deemed as unsporting behaviour or persistent infringement of the laws, for example, a series of fouls.

A player can be sent off for receiving a second caution in the match.

Goal.com verdict: The correct decision - Arsenal could have no complaints about the penalty and it would have been no surprise had the referee gone to his notebook again and sent Koscielny off for a second yellow. He had booked others for much less.

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