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Player Ratings Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona

ARSENAL

Almunia: 7.5 -
Was in sensational form in the first half making a string of important saves when the Gunners were under the cosh. A superb stop from Xavi in the first half was the best of the lot but he let his grade come down by running from his area needlessly to give Ibrahimovic the space to score his opener.

Sagna: 6.5 -
Likes to get forward but had precious little time to do that as he had to cope with constant pressure from the visitors where he had a habit of crawling over Barca's number nine. Did fizz in some good crosses on his rare forays forward before being withdrawn to make way for Walcott.

Gallas: 5.5 -
Didn't look like a player who has played much football recently and it showed as he limped off before half-time. Did make one good intervention to deny Zlatan in his 40 minutes of action.

Vermaelen: 6.5 -
Gave away an early corner which set the tempo for Barca's first half dominance. Launched into a tackle on Busquets in the 16th minute and spent a lot of time chasing shadows like the rest his side when the holders were on top.

Clichy: 6.5 -
All the pre-match hype was how he would deal with the menace of Messi and the verdict was he did okay despite hacking the Argentinian down inside the box inside the first half. Sent in a inch perfect cross for Bendtner in the first half.

Song: 7 -
Shadowed Ibrahimovic and Messi in particular for long spells. Made a vital goal-line clearance in the first half in a disciplined showing where he rarely got out of his own half.

Fabregas: 7.5 -
He didn't look fit and the game seemed to pass him by until the Gunners clawed their way back into it. Picked up a booking for a bad foul on Busquets ensuring he misses the second leg and showed guts to take the spot-kick to earn the draw.

Diaby: 6.5 -
Made a host of poorly timed challenges which eventually earned a booking for a late one on Keita. Also made an important clearance at the death.

Nasri: 6.5 -
Unable to show what he could do as Barca bossed most of the contest. Fizzed a shot by the post in the first half and saw more of the ball in the second playing his part in Walcott's opener.

Arshavin: 5 -
Rarely in the game apart from picking up a booking and then limped off hurt early on when the tide was flowing against the north Londoners.

Bendtner: 7 -
To his credit he never gave up despite having to lead the line himself for long stints. Drifted out wide to see more of the action sending in some good crosses and provided the assist for Walcott's first strike. Had some chances himself which were expertly denied by Valdes.

Substitutes

Eboue: 6.5 - Replaced Arshavin and was a more dependable presence than the Russian playing some neat balls when Arsenal were in the ascendancy.

Denilson: 6 -
Another who saw action early after Gallas was withdrawn and had a quiet second half.

Walcott: 7.5 -
A spectacular introduction leaving Maxwell for dead seconds after coming on and scoring an excellent goal moments later. A constant threat from then on as his side went on to grab a crucial second.

BARCELONA

Valdes: 7.5 -
Could have taken a nap in the first half as Barcelona battered the opposition. Did what was necessary to deny Bendtner from close range but should have done better with Walcott's effort which crept underneath his body.

Maxwell: 6.5 -
Had little to do until Arsenal forced an onslaught and was left exposed by Walcott once the Englishman got on the pitch who left him for dead to score the Gunners first of the evening.

Puyol: 7.5 -
Made several good clearances in the penalty area from the few Arsenal attacks which came his way. Always reads the game impeccably well and will argue that his red card was harsh which led to his dismissal and Arsenal's second goal.

Pique: 7.5 -
No stranger to English opposition he executed an old fashioned long ball to set up his side's first goal of the night. Played well for the most part but earned a booking meaning he will miss the second leg.

Daniel Alves: 8 -
Instrumental in Barcelona's first half masterclass linking up with Xavi to superb effect whipping in some delicious crosses which deserved better.

Busquets: 7.5 -
Barca's midfield enforcer was deployed to do a job in front of the backline and he did well preventing Arsenal from playing particularly in the first half. Nearly scored himself within the first minute with a shot.

Pedro: 7.5 -
Involved with the one-touch wonderful to watch first half performance when he saw plenty of the ball. Less effective in the second half. 

Xavi: 8.5 -
Relentlessly consistent and tonight was no exception. Executed a superb pull-back for Messi in the first half and constantly probed the opposition whenever he saw the ball which was often. Played in the assist of the match for Zlatan's second goal with a quality through ball.

Keita: 7.5 -
Not as easy on the eye as Xavi but very effective in what he does. Solid and dependable.

Messi: 8 -
Won't go down as one of his masterclass nights but still lit up the Emirates with some dazzling runs, passes and quick thinking where for once he didn't score.

Ibrahimovic: 8.5 -
Took his goals extremely well silencing his critics. Barca bought him specifically for occasions such as this match and while he did miss one sitter he more than made up for it with his second half strikes.

Substitutes

Henry: 6 - A token cameo towards the end when his side were under pressure and did little during his 13 minute spell.

Milito: N/A 



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