Arsenal 2-0 Standard Liege  

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

First half goals from Samir Nasri and Denilson gave Arsenal a 2-0 win over Standard Liege and a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Arsenal dominated the opening exchanges with their usual crisp passing football in the group H clash, but their best chance of the opening 15 minutes came via a goalmouth scramble.

A corner was whipped in which was met by a Andrei Arshavin header which was blocked on the line. The ball fell to Carlos Vela who struck the post before William Gallas saw his effort blocked by keeper Sinan Bolat. The ball rebounded to Thomas Vermaelen, whose shot hit Arshavin on the line and went wide.

The visitors came desperately close to taking the lead on 21 minutes when Dieumerci Mbokani cut inside the defender and his shot rebounded off the angle with Manuel Almunia beaten.

On the half hour mark, Cesc Fabregas whipped in a cross for Gallas to head wide, but by heading the ball, he clashed heads with Arshavin leaving both of them requiring a few minutes treatment.

Arsenal took the lead after 35 minutes when a floated ball caused Landry Mulemo slip as he was trying to change direction, which let Nasri in to place his half-volley past the keeper.

The home side were well on top, and they were centimetres away from extending their lead on two separate occasions in the space of three minutes.

First of all, a slide rule pass from Nasri set up Arshavin to hit a first time shot which curled just wide of the post.

Two minutes later, Arshavin turned provider to play in Fabregas, but his cross-shit evaded the sliding Vela and the far post.

Arsenal doubled their lead in first half injury time when Denilson unleashed a 35-yard swerving effort that deceived Bolat and flew into the roof of the net.

Axel Witsel had a great chance to pull a goal back five minutes into the second half after latching onto a quick free kick, but his tame effort was easily kept out by Almunia.

A piece of magic from Vela nearly helped Arsenal net their third goal, but he badly scuffed his shot.

Arsenal coasted the remainder of the half with their lead never looking in any real danger, apart from when Zoro Gohi-Bi struck the post.

The visitors were reduced to ten men in the closing stages when Medhi Carcela-Gonzalez was dismissed for a tussle with Fabregas, and Arsenal saw out the final few minutes to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League as group winners.


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