Charlie Nicholas: This frustrated me most in Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Barcelona
Charlie Nicholas criticises Oliver Giroud's performance in Arsenal's 2-0 defeat by Barcelona
Charlie Nicholas says Olivier Giroud’s performance was the most frustrating aspect of Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Barcelona.
The France international managed to register one shot on target after the 29-year-old’s header was saved by Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The thing that frustrated me was that you’d have to ask why (Olivier) Giroud wanted to keep coming back?
However, Lionel Messi completed a counter-attacking move to make the breakthrough in the 71st minute before the Argentina international added a second from the penalty spot seven minutes from time.
But former Arsenal midfielder Nicholas was most frustrated with Giroud’s tendency to drop into midfield and leave Mesut Ozil up front for the home side.
Nicholas told Sky Sports: “I don’t think he [Wenger] got much wrong,” Nicholas said. “For 70 minutes, it was a pretty good shape.
“However, the thing that frustrated me was that you’d have to ask why (Olivier) Giroud wanted to keep coming back? Arsenal ended leaving Mesut Ozil up front and when they were launching the ball out, it keeps coming back because he doesn’t have that presence.
“When Ozil got the ball, he wanted to make things happen and Alexis Sanchez the same. Unfortunately when you look at the quality Arsenal have on the ball to what Barcelona have, that’s why you have to spend £30m on Sanchez and £40m on Ozil. That’s where the big gap is.”
Arsene Wenger’s side make the return trip to the Camp Nou on 16 March as Arsenal look to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2010.
Third-placed Arsenal make the journey to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon to face bitter rivals Manchester United in the Premier League.
The Gunners were 2-1 winners against leaders Leicester City last time out in the Premier League.