Arsenal star Jack Wilshere says beating Barcelona was the pinnacle of the season, saying it was a night he won’t be forgetting any time soon.
“From a match point of view you have to say beating Barcelona [was the highlight]," Wilshere told the Official Arsenal Matchday Programme.
"Sadly we couldn’t finish the job away but that was possibly more down to a big decision by the referee than us. But the home game was an amazing night. The fans were brilliant and we played brilliantly as well, especially in the second half.
"To be a goal down and win against a team like that is great and I was pleased with my performance.
“Players like Messi, Iniesta and Xavi are the best players around. They showed it at the World Cup, and they have shown it again throughout the Champions League this season.
"To play well against them was massive for me personally, and hopefully I can continue that form.”
Arsenal defeated Barcelona in the first match 2-1, with goals from Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin. While Barcelona eventually won the tie 4-3 on aggregate, Arsenal could be proud that they came so close to the team that is currently considered by many to be the best in the world.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, their defeat to Barcelona was the start of a free fall to a sixth straight trophyless season. Critics have pointed to the loss in the Carling Cup as the turning point for Arsenal’s season, and Wilshere can’t help but wonder what could have been if some luck in the final had gone their way.
“I think the thing everyone talks about is the Carling Cup Final,” Wilshere said.
“We were 1-0 down and when we equalised it was more of a relief, because we knew we could create chances to get the winner. Obviously then there was a mistake from a couple of our players and that happens in football.
"We had to pick ourselves up, and we did have some good performances after that, like beating Man United. But I know people will say that had we beaten Birmingham we could have pushed on and hopefully won the league, and that tells you how small the margins are in football.
"It was a freak moment in the final and to be fair to both Laurent and Wojciech they have been brilliant all season apart from that. So we don’t blame anyone because we are a team. But had we won that game, then maybe…”