Arsenal 3 v Partizan Belgrade 1

That Arsenal would make the next round of the Champions League was almost a given,but the manner of achieving that objective via a second place in group H would not have been envisaged by Arsene Wenger. Robin Van Persie struck from the penalty spot. Cleo levelled for Belgrade, before Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri put the Gunners through who also saw Bacary Sagna harshly sent off late in the second half after a foul just outside the area.


As Arsenal looked for the opener, Marko Jovanovic felled Van Persie, it was a poor challenge, but a penalty nevertheless. The Gunners’ captain for the night got up to fire to the ‘keeper’s left who although guessed correctly was nevertheless beaten to the relief of the Emirates crowd.


With Gunners in the ascendancy and Belgrade rarely venturing forward, one just wondered how long it would take for the second goal of the evening. When it did arrive however, it was from Partizan for an unlikely leveller. Cleo was given too much space and as Sebastien Squillaci backed off, the shot deflected off his boot and over Lukasz Fabianski.Moments later things could have been a lot worse when the same player went close again.


Could a Champions League shock be on the cards? Midway through the second half, Walcott had the answer. Bacary Sagna’s cross was poorly cleared, but fell to Walcott. The Gunners’ striker took the volley on his right foot to power in the Arsenal second goal.


Any lack of attacking instincts seem to disappear with a much more of an open game.Denilson was denied a penalty with ten minutes remaining, but just minutes earlier, Nasri had finished off a slick Gunners’ move after some strong play from Alex Song. Gunners’ gloss could have added to the evening as firstly Walcott’s indecision when clear and Nicklas Bendtner getting in Van Persie’s way when readliy to pull the trigger cost Arsenal who nevertheless capitalised on another European win, but one that came from a nervy side.