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Wenger labels side ‘naive’ as Arsenal rue missed chances in Barcelona defeat

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was left frustrated after watching his side suffer a 2-0 first leg defeat at the hands of current Champions League holders FC Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Barcelona came into the game unbeaten in 32 matches but were frustrated by a resilient display from the Gunners for the first 70 minutes. However, eventually their quality shone through as Lionel Messi grabbed himself a brace to give the Spanish giants a huge advantage heading into the second leg.

Wenger believes his side were once again naive and the Frenchman was frustrated that they couldn’t open the scoring in what was an open contest.

“Technically we were very average,” Wenger said after the game. “The regret I have is, despite looking like we dominated the game, we gave a goal away in the last 15 minutes, similar to Monaco; naive and that’s what is frustrating. When we looked like we could win this game we just gave it away.”

Wenger added that his players looked tired, which will worry Arsenal fans as they have a hectic upcoming schedule in the Premier League title race.

“It’s too easy to blame, you have to respect the effort the players have put in but it’s very frustrating at the moment, we looked like we were tired. I knew before the game in the last 20 minutes we’d have a chance to win the game if we didn’t make any mistakes and that’s the frustration of the night.”

Arsenal’s vice captain, Per Mertesacker, made a mistake leading up to the Barcelona penalty which made the score 2-0. He rued his sides missed chances and highlighted the main focus for now must be the Premier League.

“It’s a tough go for us now, we had to score at one point here,” the German said.

“You would never keep them quiet for 90 minutes that was for sure. We tried our best but we didn’t deserve it because we had enough chances to score at least one.

“We have to concentrate on the Premier League now and then in one month we are facing Barcelona again with the same bravery and same courage. We still have a little chance, we don’t give up.”

Could Arsenal’s ‘naivety’ cost them in the Premier League title race?

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About Lewis Addley (592 Articles)
Major League Soccer and Premier League reporter. Sub-editor, writer and Social Media manager for MLSGB. All views are my own.

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