Arsenal Through After Downing Dortmund
A deflated Borussia Dortmund travelled to Arsenal on Wednesday 26 November in an attempt to turn their season of turmoil around by securing top spot in Group D but the Gunners spoiled those plans by running out 2-0 winners.
Having lost all of their previous four matches against German opposition, Arsene Wenger’s men would have seemed the perfect catalysts to kick start a new dawn for the side in the bottom three of the Bundesliga.
However, 72 seconds into proceedings and Arsenal were already celebrating courtesy of Yaya Sanogo’s maiden goal for the club.
The French under 21 international burst through the Dortmund defence to punch home through Roman Weidenfeller’s legs and the visitors never recovered.
Sanogo should have made it two for the home side after nine minutes but hesitated when it looked harder to miss than to score and it remained 1-0 at half time.
Jurgen Klopp mentioned in the build up to the game that his team would be focussing their attention on the Bundesliga now that their qualification from the group is a certainty.
“This is a little bit like a holiday situation for me,” quipped the charismatic Klopp before explaining that he wants to top the group but hoped this fixture would provide some stability for their league concerns.
The second half began much the same as the first with the relaxed, disinterested German outfit clearly in the holiday spirit.
Just before the hour mark, Sanchez was left unmarked at the edge of the box and managed to score a spectacular curler that gave the keeper no chance.
The teams then went into consolidation mode and ran at one another but without the penetration expected of a Champions League table-topping encounter.
The only occasion Emiliano Martinez was needed for anything other than a goal kick throughout the match was when he produced a fine save to prevent Henrikh Mkhitaryan from pulling one back for the visitors.
Both teams advance to the last 16 stage of the Champions League but Wenger will be hoping his side can top the group as Arsenal have been knocked out of the next phase in all of the last four seasons after finishing second in the standings.