Date: 24th July 2011 at 12:30pm
Written by:

More often than not, Arsenal’s play has drawn comparisons with Barcelona. Infact, it is common to hear the Catalan giants and the Gunners being hailed by pundits as the two sides in Europe that play football most aesthetically. And the similarities are there for us to see: both sides play a beautiful brand of soccer that is founded on one touch crisp passes. Both teams rarely use the longball tactic and both teams don’t rely on physical players but rather small but technical players. But what many people fail to notice is that here is where the similarities end.

At a closer look, you will discover that although both teams like to keep the ball, they use different approaches. Let us take the best sides for both teams. The Gunners side of the 2007/08 season that had a midfield quartet of Mathieu Flamini, Cesc Fabregas, Aliaksandr Hleb and Tomasz Rosicky and a strikeforce of Eduardo, and Van Persie / Adebayor was according to me, the best at playing the game Wenger wanted. And the current Barca side that has Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta as the midfielders and the genius of Messi, David Villa and Pedro as the strikers is the best at playing Barca’s game.

While Arsenal’s game is based on quick, onetouch passes that sometimes develop into long passes, Barca’s is based on short but slow passes and you will rarely see Xavi launch a long crossfield pass from deep to find Pedro the way Cesc does at the Emirates. Arsenal also have pace and their play involves alot of running and passing while Barcelona’s play is built on the ability to hold onto the ball and press to get it when its lost. The Catalans are aided in this by the fact that most of their players are good dribblers hence have good ball retention skills. The Arsenal of 07/08 had pace to burn and even upto now you can see that Wenger is trying to groom the current side to play like them. The side was also capable of lightning counterattacks. I remember watching the Gunners against Reading and Reading won a corner but within seconds, the Gunners had scored on the other side with a brilliant counter attack. The Reading manager later said, “When I heard the cheers, I thought we had scored….some of these fixtures are mismatches.”

That season, the Gunners were capable of combining domination with a lethal panache attacking football, that, although is missing in the current squad at times, embodies Arsenal soccer. Most recently before the two sides clashed at the Emirates, Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, admitted that the Gunners forwards were very pacy and singled out Theo Walcott for praise, “once he has the ball, you need a pistol to stop him.”

That’s so unlike Barca who lack pace and instead rely on patient build-up coupled with individual genius. So before you slate Wenger and Arsenal for trying to imitate Barcelona, stop and think first! Because the two teams have different styles of play and Arsenal’s style is unique in Europe.

Keep the faith!


0 responses to “What is the difference between Arsenal and Barcelona?”

  1. forbar says:

    I love this analysis. Good article dude. Keep the faith!!!

  2. Yes it’s true but i want wenger to buy players

  3. Arjun says:

    Arsenal need new manager who can sign star player

  4. DEO says:

    Great analysis. Wenger needs to reawaken the counter attack strategy. Hopefully with Walcott, Ryo Myaichi, Gervinho, van Persie and Jack Wilshere. Nasri sometimes slow down some attacks because he holds on to the ball to dribble before passing. I believe Wenger knows what to do. I feel sorry for the unfair criticisms he has come under in the last 4 years. I thank God for his mental and psychological strength to with the pressures. Wenger stick to the path you believe in.

  5. George_D says:

    From the first paragraph I inderstood that your article is bad… Pique and Busquets are small players? No, they are physical players in critical positons… And we have no physical players… So buy Samba, Sakho, Lukaku and Fellaini!! Please!!!!!

    Only 4 transfers!!!

  6. Sulaimon says:

    Arsenal need 2 buy good player both mildfield and striker role

  7. Sulaimon says:

    Arsenal manager is ok 4 arsenal

  8. Gunzblazin says:

    good article BUT barcelona have alot of good experienced players and leaders in puyol and xavi, the reason we suffer is because we dont have any, we both play brilliant football but because most of our players are very young we tend to make vital mistakes aswell, we need to give a good balance to our team by buying a few really gud leaders than can carry this team through the important part of a season, GO GUNNERS

  9. Anijunsi christopher says:

    D diff. Blw Barca n Arsenal is lack of players lyk Samba,cahill,MATA,LUKAKU,CARZOLA.

  10. Gunzblazin says:

    man u have leaders = vidic, rio ferdinand, scholes, giggs.

    chelsea have leaders = terry, lampard, drogba.

    arsenal = ??????????????

    leaders are very important, they are the players that have been there, done it and got the t shirt, so they know what it takes to be winners, which players in our current team have really won anything ??????????. its something for wenger to think about.

  11. Gunzblazin says:

    i know vermaelen is a real leader because he has captained the belgium side and he plays the game with desire and fight, i think if we can keep verminator and RVP fit for most of the season then we really have a good chance of winning something this season, im really impresses with RYO MIYAICHI and our new signing GERVINHO. GO GUNNERS.

  12. Jadymax says:

    Wenger, Brace Up. Please!

  13. Mark says:

    This article is spot on! I’ve always noticed there’re differences between the two teams but just can’t put it into words. Great analysis!

  14. HashGun says:

    Actually there are no differences for me! If want to enjoy some entertainment with football as the preference, I watch Barca or Arsenal. The latter will win, draw,lose or throw away a big lead, but they know how to entertain football-wise!

  15. Aminu-Anyigba Nigeria says:

    There is great diff betwn Arsenal n Barca. Arsenal does’t hv a team leader, no great players. Even though great players are ready to come to arsenal, wenger is not ready to spend in other to bring them. He hs test hs young talent for years without yielding result. So arsenal great headace is wenger. The board should do something about it. Up gunners.

  16. wenger you are a good 4 arsenal. i hope you will buy a good defender i.e left back

  17. Phylwenger says:

    Great article mate!! We need a few more of these to try and show the boo boys that’s it’s not all doom n gloom at Le Grove.

    Keep the faith!!

  18. Arsènal says:

    For me, the major difference between the two teams is the backtracking. The pressing barcelona does ist not from this world and forces every team to loose the ball again and again. I really cant understand why there arent more team doing this the same way… Maybe its difficult to teach the players to do this for 90min… But dont understand what the problem is, cause formme its obvious the most important point! Remeber russia vs holland in 2008? Holland smashed france and italy easyly but the there was russia. The only thing russiadid was pressing pressing and pressing, and the dutch players were like paralysed and made thousands of errors and they had no chance to hold the ball and pass the way they did in the games before! So forme, if wenger would teach this forchecking to our players, i believe we would have 75% possesion like barca and could win titles!

  19. kay says:

    arsenal doesnt press as barca. Arsenal loose d game so easily under any pressure while barca hold ball as much as 75per cent in each match 2 frustuates their opponents into making mistakes. Arsenal not a standard team enough 2 be compared 2 barca.

  20. Dave Highbury says:

    Barca are skint, and rude, and resort to diving when they are 5 – 0 up. They also need help from the ref by sending players off for ‘off-side’ in the 70th minute. They also haven’t shut up about Fabs for six years. IT IS THE ATTITUDE that is completely different.
    I am a gooner and DON”T want to be compared to this disrespectful mob. We are on the up, and will be the better team. Big up the gooners

  21. There r is 2 things that arsenal are mising. 1= pressing the opposit playes 4 them 2 get the ball “Playing physically. 2= positioning the front players @ the penalty areas 2 get chances.

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