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.”

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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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Sky Sports pundit compares Chelsea legend to Lionel Messi

Arsenal great Thierry Henry has compared Frank Lampard to arguably the world’s greatest ever player in Lionel Messi because of his work rate.

Henry has praised Lampard ahead of what is set to be his final Premier League appearance next weekend, and has claimed the midfielder’s success surprised him.

“I remember playing against him while he was at West Ham,” he said on Sky Sports on Sunday. “I remember our fans having a go at him, but so were the West Ham fans and I thought it was unfair.

“I never thought he was going to be the player he became.

“You could see he’d have a career, but the career he had is all down to work. You need a certain quality to reach a certain level, but he is a great example of working hard.

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“It’s difficult to replicate what [Lionel] Messi does but Lampard is an example of how far you can go with hard work.”

Lampard has been the Premier League for 20 years and won 13 trophies during his time at Chelsea, but is set to play his final game in England with Manchester City next weekend ahead of his MLS move to New York City FC.

There’s no doubt Lampard is one of English football’s hardest working players to have played the game and he will now look to leave whatever mark he can on Major League Soccer.

How good has Frank Lampard been for the Premier League? Is he one of the best midfielders to play in the top flight?

Chelsea’s hopes of OUTRAGEOUS £200m transfer dead and buried

Chelsea‘s chances of completing the most outrageous transfer of all time are completely over as their reported £200 million transfer target, Lionel Messi, is fully focused on life with FC Barcelona.

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner had a slow start to the season after injuries affected his summer after his World Cup final disappointment in Brazil.

Chelsea came in as favourites to sign the 27-year-old striker, according to the Express, after his high-profile spat with Barcelona manager, Luis Enrique, but they stalled on a January offer due to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rulings.

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Messi has now put uncertainty behind him and is happy with Barcelona in Spain, he told fcbarcelona.com. 

“I was inconsistent last season. I was out for a while due to injury, missing quite a few games,

“When I came back I didn’t feel right. It was a year that I have tried to quickly forget to try and get back to my best through hard work, smiling and effort, like I always have and now, fortunately, I feel very good.”

Messi has netted 34 league goals in 31 appearances so far this season and is on track to help Barca secure yet another league title.

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The Argentine superstar will be in action on Wednesday evening as he will be under the spotlight once again as Barcelona face Paris Saint-Germain in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash.

Any hopes of seeing Messi move to the Premier League with Chelsea look to be over as a move away from Camp Nou looks to be extremely unlikely.

Is a £200 million move for Lionel Messi too hard to believe?