Thursday, 1 April 2010

Was the Arsenal v Barca game 'Art' ??

To tell you the truth the last thing i wanted to do or think about after United's lackluster defeat to Bayern was watch another game of football, or even consider Champions League results for a few days. But in England, when Barca and Arsenal..the two purveyors of 'perfect football' meet, you're gonna get it rammed down your throat, unless you go hide under the bedsheets and take a large dose of nightnurse.

The build up to the match was painful. Would this be the greatest game of football that the universe had ever seen? I felt sick to my stomach. I have respect for both teams. Barca ruined us in last years final, but we have put Arsenal to the sword several times in recent memory. I don't get the press adulation that Arsenal get for playing pretty football. It looks lovely against the Prem minnows, but will it win you the big stuff?

In and around kick off time i heard the word 'Art' being banded around rather loosely. Would this game represent an embodiment of art? I swore to myself multiple times. So like most of the nation i sat down on my sofa, jacked up the plasma screen and watched the match.

That first 45 minutes was the most incredible display of football by a team I have seen...well...maybe EVER. Arsenal were taught a lesson in what passing football really is. How the game was still goalless at half time will remain a mystery to modern man for all time. The play was simply scintillating. I watched most of that half with my jaw on the floor and my tongue resting gently on the carpet. It was football from another planet...another galaxy even! Arsenal were on the pitch somewhere, but when the opposition appear to have 15 players what can you do?

The second half was different. Despite Barca scoring twice in fairly quick succession, the half belonged to the Gooners. Walcott's impact was almost immediate, and it thoroughly surprised me to see Arsenal play with heart I haven't seen from them previously. A year ago they would have lied down and died 4-0. But they didn't. And that is where the question in the title of this article starts to get answered.

The answer is: yes

The 'Art' of football was present at The Emirates last night. By that I do not mean just from what we saw from the Spaniards..but also from the reaction and contribution of Arsenal. The art embodied in that match was the end result..and how that result was created. People may say that to consider a game a work of art is pompous and in general they are correct. But art can be revisited and analysed and enjoyed repeatedly. And that game last night falls into that category. Arsenal played their part, although one which many thought was beyond them. They brought the heart to the game. If Barca were the technical magnificent of this piece of art then Arsenal breathed life into it. If you could frame all of this, it would sit proudly in the National Gallery..or maybe even the Tate Modern. It was football from 2010 at its very best and it was a privilege watching this art be created.

I'm a football lover. I'm lucky as a United fan to witness us create our own works of art. But even a supporter as partisan as me can tip my hat too two teams who on the night entertained every football fan on the planet, and earned all of our respect.

Art should be enjoyed by all. Art is for everyone.



  1. I'm a die hard Arsenal fan and its actually really refreshing to see a Man U fan appreciate the game that took place at the Emirates last night. You've got it spot on. Barca were playing football from another planet but in the second half the men in Red finally showed the passion and self-belief that had been missing for years.

    It truly was special.

  2. great article dude!!

  3. Great post Rob. Not many non Arsenal nor Barça supporters are recognizing that last night's game was a work of art. I'd like to underline this phrase from your post: "It was football from 2010 as it's very best". I have a feeling football has evolved a lot in the last years, though only a handful of teams can put up with this fast progression: Man U, Barça, Inter and Arsenal. Chelsea is old fashioned.

    Looking forward to watching another 'piece of art' in Camp Nou.

  4. Succinctly Put, I wasn't sure I wanted to watch it after our German, well, chase... Terrific football match, kudos to Arsenal for turning it on in the second and thank you to Barcelona for providing what was probably the most fluid attacking display of football, breathtaking!!

  5. i doubt whether it was an art at all but the dramatic equaliser could qualify it.Its only absurd that a full strength Arsenal has never had a chance to play an always excellent Barca.Players like Arshavin where expected to be the flag bearers but at no avail. Never the less as a die hard gunner i accept we are just mediocres when it comes to passing football.I just dont know what tactic Arsenal can do in Nuo camp to get a result but i hopelessly expect the tie to go to penalties.

  6. Good piece, although if you want to uber-poncify it then you need more on the aestethics question of what art is.

    Avoiding that somewhat tough question myself - I was at the game, and it was like watching ballet, but more balletic. Absolutely stunning. I almost feel guilty that we got a draw.

  7. I think even the Arsenal players were busy watching Barcelona paint last night. By the time they'd roused themselves from admiring the play they were 2-0 down. If the Gunners are to come away with anything in Spain they'll need to mix the art with more tactical nous. Letting Barcelona have space to turn and play is suicide. Barcelona are vulnerable to speed of counter-attack and flank play. Arseanl learned this in the 2nd half, but will they remember it?

  8. great and honest article coming from a Man U fan ¡¡ Congratulations ¡ football is football and teams as Arsenal or Barcelona make sometimes football is Art whatever team you are fan from. I saw Art las night in the Emirates

  9. We've had the Emirates artwork. Roll on next week for the Nou Camp masterpiece!

    Great post Rob!