Arsenal See Off Partisan Belgrade 3-1 In A Game Of Penalties
After the weekend's shock defeat at home to West Brom, Arsenal made the long trip to Belgrade to face Partisan in the Champions League. Although a far from classic display, Arsene Wenger's side came away with all three points that sees them sit proud at the top of Group H.
Arsenal were inspired throughout the game by Jack Wilshere and Andrey Arshavin, and it was this combination that lead to the opening goal. Arshavin passed to Wilshere inside the box, and just as it looked as though the young Englishman had lost it underneath his feet, he somehow managed to drag it back and slot it to Arshavin to fire home.
This started a period of dominance for the visitors who were thwarted time and again by the in-form Stojkovic. Indeed it was the home-side who scored next. Denilson gave away a soft penalty after handling in the area, allowing Cleo to score from the spot.
1-1 at the interval.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first, with Arsenal havinglots of possession but causing little in the way of clear cut chances. However, they got the opportunity to go 2-1 up when Jovanovic was sent off after bringing down Marouane Chamakh in the box. Disappointedly, Arshavin failed to convert.
Arsenal didn't have to wait too long to make their man advantage pay. A delightful ball from Rosicky was met by Chamakh, and with the goalkeeper only able to help it onto the post, the Moroccan international was first to pounce on the rebound and slot home.
The Gunners made sure of the points when Sebastian Squillaci scored his first goal for his new team, heading in from a corner.
Partisan could have got one back in the dying minutes but for some fine goalkeeping from Lukasz Fabianski. First he saved a penalty, after Kieran Gibbs made a clumsy challenge in the box, then he turned the ball brilliantly around the post after a strike from close range.
It wasn't the best Arsenal performance, but nor was it their best team. Three points away from home and a step closer to the knock out stages, all in all a good night's work for the Gunners.