Galatasaray 1 Arsenal 4
( Sneijder 88, Podolski 3, 90, Ramsey 11, 29 )

Arsenal stormed into the Champions League last 16 with a thundering 4-1 win is Istanbul. Progression in Europe’s elite club competition had already been assured, nevertheless, this is the 15th conductive time the Gunners have progressed from the group stages. Arsene Wenger’s side however will be in Monday’s draw as runners up after Borussia Dortmund avoided defeat at home to Anderlecht to secure the Group D top spot. Aaron Ramsey’s stunning brace and another double by Lukas Podilski had the Gunners comfortably on top, with Wesley Sneijder grabbing a consolation goal for the Super Lig side.

” We gave a strong response. We were dangerous every time we won the ball back, had good penetration, goals and until half-time we were very strong. In the second half we suffered a bit more – some players had not enough competitive games and I had to take two players off. We were a bit more lightweight in midfield. It was, overall, a strong performance,” smiled Wenger.

The Arsenal manager had called for a strong response following the weekend’s disappointment at the Britannia stadium. The players heeded that plea and surged into a 3-0 lead within the opening 30 minutes.

With Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla left at home, Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell were given starts in a Gunners attack which proved too hot to handle. On the defensive side, there was a welcome return for Mathieu Debuchy, which meant that Hector Bellerin switched over to left back. With three minutes on the clock, Podolski took delivery of Ramsey’s pass after he had skipped past a succession of markers. From a narrow angle, the Germany striker struck a thunderbolt for the opener, giving Bolat no chance in goal. Just eight minutes later, the Gunners had fired in a second, and again Podolski’s role was key.

The Gunners’ number 9 won the ball and found the willing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. His teasing run set up Ramsey, who with technical adroitness managed to caress the ball past Bolat. More of the spectacular stuff was to come from the Wales midfielder as the Turkish side tried to comprehend what was unraveling before their very collective eyes.

Hasan Balta had struck a shot wide of Wojciech Szczesny’s goal but Arsenal were in complete control. Podolski crashed his shot against the bar, and when Campbell released Sanogo, the young France striker should have pulled back for either the in space and waiting Oxlade-Chamberlain or Podolski rather than electing to shoot, as his shot was blocked.

Just shy of the half hour mark, Arsenal grabbed a third and perhaps the best strike of Ramsey’s career. Campbell’s corner was routinely cleared, and as the Galatasaray defence looked on, Ramsey volleyed the ball with his left foot with such ferocity, it was beyond Bolat before he knew what had just happened. An absolute stunner to give the Gunners a comfortable 3-0 half time lead.

After the break, Wenger introduced Gideon Zelalem and Ainsley Maitland – Niles for Mathiu Flamini and Ramsey, for their Champions League debuts. Any notion of Arsenal managing the six goal margin they needed to top the group was put on the shelf. Galatasaray tried to regroup, and Bulut would’ve scored but for captain for the night Per Mertersacker’s excellent block.

Wesley Sneijder however did hit a stunning free kick to make it 3-1 two minutes from time. Arsenal however would have the final say as new strike force pairing of Sanogo and Podolski combined with the latter slotting home the Gunners’ fourth to match the scoreline at the Emirates when these sides played there in October.

Podolski was pleased with his and Arsenal’s night’s work.

He said, “We came here and left some players at home but you could see the mentality of the team in the first half was very good and the performance was as well.

“Of course we are very happy, we won away in Turkey against a good team. It is always difficult to play in Turkey, with the atmosphere and the fans, but we did it well and we won 4-1, which is good.”