In the news today is your typical after-the-fact journalism on Barcelona's narrow Round of 16 win over Arsenal. Most sources I've read have completely discounted the closeness of this tie. Even though they carried 74% possession, had 20 shots, and generally dominated the game, the clash hung in the balance until the final whistle. Despite the red card and failing to register a shot, a fine piece of finishing from Nicklas Bendtner would have turned the tie around near the death. Barcelona were not always going to win; they ended up winning.
Last year's semifinal between Barcelona and Inter Milan played out in a similar manner. Going into the second leg at Camp Nou, Barca, after losing 3-1 at San Siro, commanded 86% of the possession, and held ten-man Inter to 1 shot. They ended up winning the game 1-0, but lost the tie on aggregate. Inter's superb defensive effort was lauded after the game, and rightfully so. But, had Bojan's disallowed goal in the final moments been allowed, would we have seen a similar description of that tie? Probably.
Sportscasters love to side with Barcelona's luscious style of play. They are fluid, clinical, and outplay most sides, even when they lose. If Arsenal had notched the crucial goal, they would have been through to the quarterfinals. I am shocked at all the negative light being shed on the Gunner's play since they were actually close to winning. Sure they were outplayed, but they remained in the hunt until the referee looked at his watch one last time. The coverage of Barcelona's dominating play is exhaustive and overshadowed a tie which could have gone either way.