So, after that shambles of a Premier League game at the weekend, it was time to turn our attention to the Champions League, and make sure we avoid any hangovers from that game.
The starting line-up saw 6 changes made, with the likes of Koscielny, Nasri, Clichy, Rosicky dropped/injured/rested. Fabianski was preferred in goal, with Almunia injured.
Sagna, Djourou, Squillaci, Gibbs
Song, Denilson, Wilshere
Rosicky, Chamakh, Arshavin
Missed the start of the game, as I was on my way from work, but apparently, we started a bit shakily, withFabianksi already called into action inside the first 5 minutes. Was hurrying home as much as I could and was hoping the goals would wait until I got home, but it seems the players didn’t get my memo. Something to do with those floodlight failures earlier, I’m sure…
Good thing it was an Arsenal goal though, as Partizan were threatening. The goal was scored in the 15th minute by Arshavin, created by Wilshere with a lovely back-heel inside the box into Arshavin’s path and he lashed it into the back of the net. Say what you want about Arshavin being a lazy so-and-so, he’s been doing his thing quietly and getting the job done. I guess one always expects fire-works from him and in all honesty, we haven’t had any from him lately. But he’s been doing his bit. I even spotted him tracking back today…
So with the goal, we were getting into our stride and starting to dominate, and had chances to double our lead. Their goalkeeper was doing his best to keep them in the hunt, if not the game would have been over before half-time. When we did manage to beat the ‘keeper, Arshavin chipped effort ended up being cleared off the line by a Partizan player. It was very similar to Cesc’s against Braga, when he almost had his hat-trick.
But not long after Arshavin’s effort, Partizan got their equaliser, 30 minutes into the game. It came from a penalty, as a result of a supposed handball by Denilson in the box. I’m going to come all Wenger-like and say I didn’t see it, but I didn’t. The replay(s) I saw wasn’t conclusive. But anyways, a penalty it was. Cleo (anagram of Cole, I see!) took the penalty, calmly rolling it into the bottom right corner, sending Fabianski the wrong way.
Annoying to concede at that stage of the game, but you sensed we had it in us to wrap the game up, just a question of when. Oh, and apparently that’s our 13th away game without a clean sheet. Well, you don’t earn extra points for clean sheets, but it’s always a nice feeling for the team, having one.
So we went into half-time on level terms. (Un)deserverdly? Doesn’t matter. We had to step it up in the second half and take our chances, because we were creating them.
With 55 minutes on the clock, another penalty was awarded, this time to us after Chamakh was brought down in the box, after being sent through by Arshavin. The Partizan player was shown a straight Red, and Arshavin stepped up to take the penalty. He went straight down the middle, but unfortunately that didn’t work, as the ‘keeper saved it with his legs. Missed