FOOTBALL is a funny old game – and that’s why we love it.

It was easy to see why Barcelona are the best team on the planet in a first half mauling of Arsenal at the Emirates that looked ominous for the home side.

But it does not matter how good you are, if you do not take your chances a 1-nil lead can disappear in the blink of an eye.

When Robin Van Persie beat Victor Valdes at his near post with a flash of brilliance, the Catalan”s aura of invincibility evaporated and Arsene Wenger”s men smelt an unlikely victory was in the air.

Lionel Messi”s glaring first half miss and the wrongful dismissal of the one he did bury for offside suddenly became relevant.

Van Persie”s strike levelled a glorious opening goal by David Villa served up by Messi that Barca thought was enough.

But Arsenal completed a glorious fightback with a winner of the highest quality. When Sami Nasri turned the visitors inside out, Andrei Arshavin delivered the ice cool finish to claim a memorable 2-1 win.

It is hard to imagine that Barca will make the same mistake in the second leg at the Nou Camp. But this is a win that breathes a huge shot of confidence into an Arsenal side yet to win a trophy since moving to the Emirates.

UEFA Champions League
Arsenal 2-1 FC Barcelona
16 February 16

– BY JOHN GUBBA

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