Jack Wilshere and Samir Nasri joined striker Van Persie and manager Arsene Wenger in attacking the referee they feel cost them their Champions League dream.
In all honesty Arsenal hadn’t mustered a shot all night, and many people will say that they could have had 12 players on the pitch and Barcelona still would have found a way through, but football is decided by key moments in a game.
Arsenal had just scored the away goal that put them 3-2 up in the tie, and left Barcelona needing 2 more goals to go through in normal time. Only 40 minutes remained and with 11 men in the first half Arsenal had resolutely kept Barcelona at bay for 47 minutes.
Barcelona were reeling, and the momentum was changing, but referee Massimo Busacca had other ideas and booked Van Persie in comical fashion for daring not to hear his whistle above 95,000 screaming fans.
Wilshere, who was Arsenals best player on the night was left gutted, and said, “We all know it was the wrong decision, but that’s part and parcel of football.
“I think we dealt with it quite well. We know Barcelona are a good team. If you want to go down to 10 men against anyone, it’s not Barcelona.”
Arsenal will now try to focus on their weekend trip to Old Trafford for their FA Cup match with the league leaders Manchester United, but Nasri couldn’t resist one passing jibe.
The Frenchman tweeted, “Thank you for your support once again you were amazing. Sorry for the result, now we have to think about the Man Utd game and we still have a league… to win, and by the way Busacca is the best….pff (a slang expression of disagreement).”