After two weeks of disappointing form and leadership issues Arsenal had to come up against the Ukrainian outfit Dynamo Kiev at home.
The match would decide a lot for both teams: for Arsenal it would seal them top spot in the group for Kiev it would increase their chances of qualification or end their strong season.
Arsenal had to be the favorites due to home ground advantage but poor form and club troubles will insure the match is hotly contested.
The match began in typical style for Arsenal with the home side dominating proceedings for the first 25-30 minutes but not being able to score due to the great compact defense of Kiev that pushed Arsenal wide throughout the first half.
First half chances fell to Van Persie, Vela and Ramsay with Van Persie really looking the most lethal of the three with some powerful left foot shots from wide positions.
The last 15 minutes of the half Kiev started to create great chances on the counter attack passing brilliantly from defense to attack before failing to put power on the shot.
5 minutes before half time William Gallas popped up to put Arsenal ahead before being called back for offside. Gallas was again in the spotlight 2 minutes before the end of the half William lost the ball at right back with the Kiev player hitting the post a lucky escape for Arsenal and their ex-captain.
So at half time the scores were tied at 0-0 a half that was dominated by Arsenal just look at the statistics 7 shots to 4 and 67%-33% possession.
Arsenal dominated a tough first 10 minutes in the second half with Van Persie having two excellent shots on goal only to be blocked by a defender and his team mate William Gallas both on the goal line.
Arsenal continued to dominate but just couldn’t find the net the compact defense of Kiev dealing really well with all of Arsenal’s attacks. This forced Wenger into a substitute with Ramsey replaced by Bendtner in the 68th minute followed by Vela being replaced by Wilshere in the 76th.
Jack Wilshere the young 16 year old made an instant effect on the game passing the ball extremely well in his first champion’s league appearance almost assisting the opening goal with Bendtner just missing the shot.
In the 85th minute Johan Djourou landed on this shoulder after a tackle this forced the game to be paused and a drop ball taking place. Kiev didn’t contest the drop ball with Captain Fabregas taking possession an launching an extremely long ball forward which Bendtner took on the chest then hit it with his knee before smashing the ball into the net in clinical style.
The compact and counter attacking Kiev could just not hold on for the full 90 minutes with man of the match Fabregas providing a controversial assist for the 1-0 lead.
Kiev still had their chance for a point but 3 minutes from time Aliev the Kiev midfielder got sent off for pushing/touching the referee ending Kiev’s hopes of a point as they were reduced to 10 men.
The final score was 1-0 to Arsenal a less than convincing result for the young team but a result neither the less.
Final shot count: 13-8
The win sees Arsenal on top of the group with Kiev missing out on progression:
P W D L F A Pts
1. Arsenal 5 3 2 0 11 3 11
2. FC Porto 5 3 0 2 7 8 9
3. FC Dynamo Kyiv 5 1 2 2 3 4 5
4. Fenerbahce 5 0 2 3 4 10 2
Arsenal Line Up:
Manuel Almunia(gk), Johan Djourou, Mikael Silvestre, William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Aaron Ramsey(off 68th), Alex Song, Denilson, Cesc Fabregas(c), Carlos Vela(off 76th), Robin Van Persie.
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