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A Van Persie Double Puts Arsenal Through To The Last Sixteen

by on November 24, 2011

Arsenal are through to the last sixteen of the Champions League after beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1, Robin Van Persie scoring a brace for the North London side. This victory means Arsenal go through as group winners with one game left to play, which is next month away to Olympiacos.

Arsène Wenger named an unchanged line up from the team which defeated Norwich on Saturday. Emmanuel Frimpong replaced Francis Coquelin on the bench. Thomas Rosicky was ruled out through injury so the returning Abou Diaby was named on the bench. Borussia Dortmund’s manager Jürgen Klopp named an unchanged line up from the team which beat Bayern Munich on the weekend. Reported Arsenal target Mario Götze started for the German side.

Arsenal’s starting line up – Szczesny, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie (C).

Substitutes: Fabianski, Djourou, Diaby, Frimpong, Benayoun, Arshavin, Chamakh.

Dortmund’s starting line up – Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Santana, Hummels, Schmelzer; Kehl (C), Bender; Götze, Kagawa, Grosskreutz; Lewandowski.

Substitutes: Langerak, Blaszczykowski, Gundogan, Owomoyela, Perisic, Leitner, Barrios

An early run from Brazilian full-back Andre Santos, who found Dutch striker Van Persie just outside of the Dortmund’s box but he dragged his shot wide of the goal. Alex Song won the ball just inside the Arsenal half and quickly released it to Ramsey who controlled well and played a delightful through ball to Walcott. The England international couldn’t get to the pass, Weidenfeller immediately came rushing out of his goal and the goalkeeper just beat Walcott to clear the ball.

Lewandowski tried his luck from distance and his effort just went past Szczesny’s post. Dortmund were forced to make two substitutions in the first half after Sven Bender and the highly-rated Mario Götze went off through injury. This meant Moritz Leitner and Ivan Perisic came on for the German champions. With Götze going off it meant Dortmund were going to lack creativity going forward.

Both sides went in at half-time goalless, Dortmund’s pressing throughout the first-half meant Arsenal couldn’t control the game. The gunners needed to up their performance in the second-half. Per Mertsacker made a crucial clearance early in the second-half from a dangerous Dortmund cross. Moments later Szczesny was forced in to action when Japanese midfielder Kagawa got in to the Arsenal box but the Poland keeper made a solid save.

Now the moment of the match, Alex Song collected the ball in the Dortmund half. Forcing his way down the left-hand side getting past one Dortmund player and then magically the midfielder manage to get back two more. Then put in a perfect cross for Van Persie to head Arsenal in to the lead. Van Persie had opened the scoring at the Emirates after great work from Song to create the goal for the Dutchman.

Arsenal could have doubled their lead when Ramsey’s pass found Gervinho’s run, tricking Weidenfeller in the Dortmund goal but Hummel done enough to stop the Arsenal forward from scoring. An Arsenal counterattack started after Alex Song won the ball for the gunners but Walcott opted to shot rather than pass. And his shot was always going wide of the goal.

Gervinho came off for Yossi Benayoun to help Arsenal see the game through. Then Wenger made two more changes taking off Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott for Johan Djourou and Abou Diaby. This was Diaby first appearance off the season so far after recently returning from injury.

Mikel Arteta’s corner was flicked on by Vermaelen near the front post and fell to Van Persie who couldn’t miss and scored his second of the match. Dortmund did pull a goal back late in injury time through Japanese midfielder Kagawa.

Many people are going to say Van Persie was man of the match as he scored both of Arsenal’s goal but I thought Alex Song deserved it. Song didn’t have the best of first-half’s which was down to Dortmund’s pressing. But the Cameroon midfielder stepped up his performance in the second-half breaking up Dortmund’s attacks and magically setting up Van Persie’s first goal.

The victory meant Arsenal were through to the next round as group winners, which will mean they will avoid the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the next round. Their next Champions League match is away to Olympiacos next month. Because they are already through they will be able to rest key-players and start more of a second side against Olympiacos. The gunners next game is against Fulham on Saturday at the Emirates.

You can follow me on twitter @AFC_93.

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