Top Stories

Wednesday Kickoff: UEFA Champions, Europa League notes

BusaccaRVP (Getty Images)

Arsenal players and coaches were visibly upset in the aftermath of Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Barcelona, and one of each has been charged with improper conduct by UEFA.

Manager Arsene Wenger and midfielder Samir Nasri were both charged for for their postmatch comments to referee Massimo Busacca. The Swiss referee controversially sent Robin Van Persie off with his second yellow card in the 56th minute after he elected to shoot after being whistled for offside.

The match was level at 1-all and Arsenal was a goal up on aggregate at the time of the red card, and Barcelona tallied twice with the man advantage to advance to the quarterfinals.

Wenger and Nasri will have their case heard a week from Thursday.

Here are a few more notes from Europe:


Two teams will join Barcelona and Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday. Tottenham looks to hold its 1-0 lead over AC Milan, but it will have to do so with Gareth Bale likely coming off the bench.

Schalke hosts Valencia in the day's other match, carrying a small advantage after tallying an away goal in a 1-1 draw in their first leg in Spain.

Both matches are slated for 2:45 p.m., with Tottenham-AC Milan being shown on Fox Soccer Channel and Schalke-Valencia broadcast on Fox Soccer Plus and 


Liverpool will be without Steven Gerrard for its Europa League Round of 16 first leg at Sporting Braga. Gerrard has been dealing with a groin injury and did not travel with the team.


Kyle Lafferty and Vladimir Weiss will be available for selection ahead of Rangers' Europa League Round of 16 first leg against PSV Eindhoven.

Both players have missed the last two matches and will help the Rangers attack in what has the makings of a high-scoring tie.


What sort of punishment do you think Wenger and Nasri deserve? Who do you see advancing to the quarterfinals today? Do you think Liverpool will struggle without Gerrard? Do you see Rangers or PSV moving on in Europa League?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Wow, a yellow that should have been a red? As a neutral, I don’t think even that should have been a yellow. Alves drops at the slightest of touches, which it was and grabs his face no matter where the contact occurred. If that was a yellow, surely the throat locks by Abidal and Adriano should have been reds then. What would Barca do if they were down two men as they should have been. Bussacca has reffed Spanish teams 29 times in his career, with the Spaniards never losing…….coincidence, Maybe. But you should look at the card totals for the opposition, it’s an eye opener…

  2. Barca and Spain’s tiki taki style is designed as to give them control over the defensive and offensive phases of the game.

    Defensive because the other team can’t attack you if they don’t have the ball; offensive because eventually the other team will expose themselves in trying to win the ball and leave openings.

    If Barca’s opposition is up to the battle and Arsenal should have been a worthy foe, it can be fun to watch but the endless interpassing can also be pretty boring if Barca are in a “technical and tactical” mood.

    It’s the equivalent of the slowdown play you used to see in basketball before shot clocks.There is a reason so many people say the EPL is the most exciting league to watch.

  3. Players should never be sent off for infringements like that. If he deserves to be sent off for that, then players should be booked for stalling on throw ins and lying on the ground to catch their breath.

  4. I disagree. I love watching teams that actually work the ball and create openings. So what if they protect possession and wait for defenders to commit before passing?

    99% of the football I watch has me in a neutral position. What puts me to sleep are teams that force passes and exchange possession too quickly.

  5. I don’t think anybody is saying that Arsenal would have absolutely won the match if not for the red. I believe people are just saying that the 2nd yellow was unjustified and completely changed the complexion of the match. Disallowed and misallowed goals can be overcome….going down to ten men against Barca cannot be.

  6. Please one has only to go back over the years in these forums and it’s always the ref’s fault. Every ref, horrible, a disgrace. Why wasn’t the ref in London, the one who disalowed Messi a perfectly legit goal a disgrace?

  7. You are out of your mind! Barca is famous for playing with canteranos, home grown players, from Pique to Pedro to Messi to Valdes, to Xavi and Iniesta. Not their fault their youth developement system is second to none!

  8. Why was is despicable??? What Van Persie warranted a yellow card. He’s an idiot. No ones fault he already had a yellow which should’ve been a red!
    Sorry Barca puts you to sleep…No one cares!

  9. That second yellow was really out of line on Van Persie. Was he a jerk? Yes. Does 100K screaming fans make stopping full on sprint 1 second after the whistle is blown difficult? Hell yes.

    That ref had it in for VP.

  10. I see what you’re saying about the back and forth being exciting. I am a fan of both teams and definitely agree with other comments about the game being a bit of an abomination because of how it played out. Too bad, really…

    I don’t really like when people call out players for diving and “attitude problems” though. As a fan, you have to look past that stuff because you don’t really know where the player’s balance is or how hard that actual hit was. Look at Nani’s injury over the weekend for example. The commentator was calling him out for being dramatic which is disgraceful on his part.

  11. All I am saying is that I think the second yellow was completely unwarranted. It looked to me like he was planting to shoot when the whistle blew. Would it have changed the outcome of the match? I have no idea, but it absolutely ensured Barca would advance. Furthermore, there were instances when Barca players shot after an offside was called with no card produced. Once again, selective reffing just further perpetuates the misguided notion that the “fix” is in.

  12. You have that maturity thing down. Oh, you’re a massive Arsenal fan? Never would have guessed.

    Try bringing something useful to the conversation next time.

  13. Can’t find it now. Must have been false. I swear that half the stories I read out of England are not true.


    He definitely heard the whistle. The Barcelona defenders around him stopped immediately when the whistle blew. And let’s take this back awhile… Van Persie was given a yellow card during the World Cup for this exact same thing. And his excuse is almost word for word what it was at that point. “It’s a stadium of 100,000 people, how am I expected to hear the whistle”

    Either he is flat out deaf, or he is a liar. I’m going with liar. And to further confirm that thought, watch his reaction after the whistle blows. He pulls up a bit and launches an 18 yard shot when he was 1 on 1 with the keeper. Not only that, but a player of his caliber missing the goal by 15 feet from 18 yards in a 1 v 1?

    Either he’s a terrible player or he was kicking it out frustration. The yellow was earned.

  14. I think it was accurate. That Arsenal keep that got injured just sat there for quite some time before they subbed him out.

  15. Can you give a link for those comments, because the comments I read from him say the exact opposite. Again, there was a one second interval between whistle and shot.

  16. These comments are ridiculous.

    All I hear is “Oh the referee did this and the referee did that.” Van Persie admitted after the game to hearing the whistle and shooting the ball out of frustration.

    CASE CLOSED. Yellow card. Gone. You want to point fingers? Point them at that petulant child of a forward.

    And then why don’t you start complaining about the penalty not given to Messi and the Messi goal disallowed in the first leg.

    Why not? Because you say you are unbiased, but you are not. Calls went against Barcelona as well. You are rationalizing a loss, and it looks foolish.


Leave a Comment