Arsenal fans are the best in the business at letting out a collective groan when one of their players misses a chance, opts to pass instead of shoot or gets a pass completely wrong - as was the case with Olivier Giroud against Barcelona on Wednesday night.
Minutes before Lionel Messi opened the scoring for the visitors, Giroud produced a comical moment which enraged the 60,000-strong crowd inside the Emirates Stadium.
The French striker received the ball inside the box and turned. The nearest defender was a good four yards away and he could have shot at goal, passed to Theo Walcott on his left-hand side or picked out Alexis Sanchez who was standing in a good position on the edge of the box. Nobody expected what would happen next.
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Giroud set himself and then inexplicably passed the ball with his left foot to, well, nobody.
One can only assume that Giroud thought one of his teammates - Walcott, perhaps? - had overlapped him on the right-hand side. But nobody was there and Barcelona’s players, mightily relieved no doubt, regained possession.
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Video: Olivier Giroud's pass to nobody
Fans react to Giroud's pass on Twitter
Here’s how fans reacted to Giroud’s pass on Twitter…
Barcelona capitalised thanks to Messi
This would turn out to be an important moment in the match, because just minutes later Barcelona were 1-0 up thanks to the world’s best player.
Barcelona went from one end of the pitch to the other in just 16 seconds; Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez and Neymar all involved before Messi produced a composed finish past Petr Cech.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner hadn’t scored in six previous matches against Cech but doubled his - and Barcelona’s tally - from the penalty spot just over 10 minutes later after he was brought down inside the box by Mathieu Flamini.
It’s difficult to envisage Arsenal progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals following last night’s defeat. Barcelona are formidable away from home, but even better at the Camp Nou.
A frustrated Arsene Wenger was quoted by the Guardian after the match as saying: “We were naive. The regret I had was that once we looked like we dominate the game, we give the goal away. It was similar to Monaco last season – naive, and that is frustrating. We just gave it away.
“I feel we are extremely guilty and we have no excuse for that goal. We knew that if we have to keep a 0-0, we keep a 0-0. They are better than us. I believe everybody knows that. We could have won the game if we had kept the discipline until the end. And, once again, like against Monaco, exactly the same. We were caught in exactly the same way. We had two or three opportunities to stop the first goal, which we didn’t do.”
Do Arsenal need a better striker than Olivier Giroud? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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