Arsenal Aggravate Arsene’s Agony
Arsenal picked up a valuable point on Tuesday when they drew 3-3 with a determined young Anderlecht side who will take some pride from the match after throwing away three points in the first meeting in Brussels.
The big talking-point will undoubtedly be the fact that Arsene Wenger’s men crumbled from three goals up to concede as many in just 29 minutes, becoming the first ever English side to lose such a lead in Champions League history.
The game started frantically with both clubs pushing forward in an attempt to make early inroads and put the opponent onto the back foot.
Arsenal could have taken the lead on 12 minutes when Aaron Ramsey found the ball at his feet in front of goal but the Welshman failed to finish and the shot went out for a corner. A few minutes later Alexis Sanchez hit the upright but Anderlecht were holding up against a wave of attacks from the home side.
Then the inevitable happened, Arsenal had one on the board. Congolese defender Chancel Mbemba became entangled with Danny Welbeck sending the striker to the floor and the result was a penalty which Mikel Arteta coolly tucked it away for his first Champions League goal.
Just as they had done in the first meeting, the visitors fell apart after conceding the first goal and a second was fired in in quick succession. Alexis Sanchez volleyed home through the wall after his initial free kick had been blocked.
The Gunners were first out of the blocks in the second half and almost immediately made it three when Kieran Gibbs found himself unmarked in the box but then unselfishly passed to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who could not quite find the angle.
It was Oxlade-Chamberlain who, on 58 minutes, ghosted past Anthony van der Borre on the wing before sending a beautifully placed finish into the back of the net for Arsenal’s third.
Van den Borre took no time in getting his own back though; tapping home from an offside position to spark a fight back and Arsenal had lost their clean sheet. Moments later he scored from the spot to take the Belgian Pro League side within one of the home team.
On 90 minutes Arsenal had officially collapsed. A determined Aleksandar Mitrovic bullied Nacho Monreal out of the way and dived in to score a fantastic header to level matters.
In the other Group D encounter Borussia Dortmund overcame Turkish giants Galatasaray to win 4-1 at home and secured their passage into the next round. Arsenal have now made life more difficult for themselves as they will have to pick up at least one win from their two remaining fixtures to advance to the knockout phase as runners up.