Sky Sports pundit critical of Arsenal's tactics against Barcelona

Sky Sports pundit Tony Cascarino says that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger needed to be braver when facing Barcelona.


Pundit Tony Cascarino has suggested on Sky Sports News, broadcast on February 24 at 10am, that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger adopted the wrong tactics for their Champions League fixture against Barcelona.


Wenger set up with his trademark 4-2-3-1 formation against the Catalan giants, and for a time, it worked as they prevented their opponents from registering a shot on target during the first half at the Emirates Stadium.


However, after missing several chances of their own, Arsenal fell behind to a Lionel Messi strike before the Argentine attacker doubled the La Liga's side advantage from the penalty spot.


The Gunners deserve praise for their efforts during the opening hour, but Cascarino has insisted that Wenger should have been more adventurous against a team possessing the talent of Barcelona and has written off any hope of a dramatic turnaround from a 2-0 deficit at the Nou Camp.


Cascarino said: "They can't get through. If we had said before the game, how many goals will Barcelona score over two legs, we would have probably said between three or four. You know they are going to score and you know what they are about.

"Can you stop it'? It's very hard. I think Arsenal's tactics were to drop off and it worked for a period of time, but Barcelona are always going to score a goal and then you are in trouble.

"I think Arsenal had to be braver. I remember when they went to Monaco and played Welbeck and Giroud, two in midfield with wide guys and they caused them all sorts of problems. I would have liked to have seen them adopt that, and go brave. You cannot drop off and let them have all the play.

"I would have liked them to test Barcelona because that was like watching Groundhog Day of what Barcelona have done to many teams."

In hindsight, Wenger could have started with Theo Walcott instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to provide a greater threat on the right flank, but the Frenchman would have also been facing questions had he played too many offensive players and his team concede before the interval.

The second leg in Spain takes place on March 16.

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