Arsenal became the first team in Champions League history to have no shots during a match as they were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona on Tuesday.
The stat had initially gone some what unnoticed, largely because the Gunners did manage to get on the scoresheet through Sergio Busquets’s own-goal. But it has now emerged that not a single effort from an Arsenal player was on target.
An Opta spokesman said: “There have been 981 Champions League games since 2003-04 and Arsenal are the first of 1,962 sides not to manage a shot of any form in a match since then.”
Barca midfielder Javier Mascherano seized on the opportunity to suggest that Arsene Wenger might be barking up the wrong tree with his criticism of referee Massimo Busacca.
He said: “Wenger knows how the game went but defeat is tough and nobody wants to be out of the competition.
“Our team has not achieved as much as it has thanks to the refs, we can’t be hypocrites or stupid. Barca win because they play well not because of the refs.
“Wenger has every right to his opinion but the stats say that it would have been very unfair if we hadn’t qualified.”
And it seems that goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, who came on as a sub during the match, also believes the problems lie a little closer to home. In a very outspoken quote, the Spaniard seemed to suggest that his outfield players were either tired or couldn’t be bothered.
He said: “Even at 3-1 we only needed one goal and you can’t understand how there can be players that were walking. With a bit more effort we could have caused them damage at the end.
“Barcelona bossed us and in the second half we had players that were not running. It seemed that everything was lost but you can score a goal at any moment.
“So the only explanation I have is that we were so tired and the players couldn’t give any more. And being down to 10 men, well, it was double the effort.”
Ouch! That sounds like a least one effort that hit its intended target.
Updated: It gets worse. Apparently, there was not a single shot. Let alone on target. Well, there was one but Robin Van Persie was sent-off for pulling the trigger!