There was a time when Arsenal was the platonic footballing ideal of every football fan. The distinction of “playing the right way,” a phrase born out of witnessing Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka Barcelona side win the treble during the 2008-09 season with an artistry never before seen, teams across Europe strived to create their own version of tiki-taka football.
Martin Tyler on his commentary saw the moment coming, as he famously screamed, “Arrshaaaaaaaavin” before the ball even reached the Russian.
The goal resembled one that Barcelona would have been proud to score, but with an element of Englishness that only Arsenal were capable of constructing.
Arsenal were still underdogs going into the second-leg, as Arsène Wenger explained during his press conference after the first-leg. Barcelona dominated the second-leg.
The task was made even more difficult when van Persie was shown his second yellow card for kicking the ball away after the whistle had blown for offside. In the end, Arsenal lost 3-4 on aggregate.