The Internet has been awash with reaction to the revelation last week that Arsenal’s army of Twitter followers have been largely responsible for four of the top five most-tweeted-about moments in 2015/16 Premier League matches.
It’s long been known that Arsenal fans are the most active English club supporters on Twitter, despite their following having recently been surpassed by that of United. Meanwhile Barcelona’s enduring appeal is reflected in its following of 136.9 million across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (remarkably, Barca’s total of over 14 million UK-based fans on those platforms only just falls short of Arsenal’s).
So it’s no surprise that last night’s match between the North London club and the “MSN”-powered Spanish juggernaut proved popular on the platform. But would Arsenal’s 7.1 million followers make themselves heard over their 16.9 million-strong Spanish rivals? Well the short answer is “yes”!
The game’s most-mentioned moments were, as you would expect, its main incidents, with the Oxlade-Chamberlain, Suarez and Ramsay misses all featuring prominently, alongside Pique’s controversial booking. However the two events that generated the greatest reaction were Messi’s brace of late goals—his seventh and eighth against Arsenal.
The Argentine’s first strike, the result of a flowing move down the left involving Suarez and Neymar, certainly got fingers tapping, but it was the action leading up to his second, a coolly-taken penalty, that proved the main talking point of the match.
It’s interesting that while Barca supporters reacted more to the first goal, Arsenal fans became more exasperated about the second. This is likely due to Flamini’s hapless 10-minute cameo, which saw him enter play as a substitute and concede the spot kick within 47 seconds. The Frenchman’s lunge on Barca’s famous number 10 drew huge criticism, as did Wenger’s decision to introduce the defensive midfielder when his team were 1-0 down.
It goes without saying that these events resulted in a torrent of negative comments from Arsenal supporters who, up until the first goal, had shown more positivity than their rivals. By the time Messi’s penalty had hit the back of the net, The Gooners had even begun resorting to dark humor, with one fan tweeting that “Flamini’s first touch was Messi.”
Whether they were over the moon or on the floor, however, Arsenal’s fans comfortably out-tweeted supporters of their illustrious opponents throughout the game, despite being outnumbered by an eye-watering 10 million followers.
Earlier in the week Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu voiced his concerns about the effect next season’s record-breaking Premier League TV deal would have on his club. Last night’s match suggests he may not have too many worries just yet about being challenged on the pitch, but I’m sure the club’s hierarchy will be casting envious glances at the engagement of Arsenal’s Twitter followers.
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