UEFA Champions League

December 8, 2010



3 - 1

Partizan Belgrade

Group H

19:45 +00:00, December 8, 2010

Emirates Stadium, England

Referee: Paolo Tagliavento

  • 94'

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  • 94'

    Still, though, with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Schalke to come, Arsenal will wonder how they failed to finish first after taking nine points from their opening three games.

  • 94'

    Robin van Persie put the Gunners in front from the penalty spot and after Cleo equalised, goals from Walcott and Nasri saw Arsenal secure the win.

  • 94'

    FULL TIME Arsenal move into the knockout stages, but only in second place as Shakhtar have won 2-0 at home to Braga.

  • 93'

    Krstajic whacks a free-kick into the wall in what is likely to be the last decent chance of the game.

  • 92'

    Joseph Kizito replaces Moreira.

  • 91'

    Emirates Stadium is half empty and the absent fans miss a typical piece of behaviour from Bendtner. The ball appears to be rolling invitingly into the path of Van Persie but his team-mate takes the ball away from him.

  • 89'

    Every time Davidov gets the ball I can't help but imagine an alluring European woman whispering 'Cool Water' in my ear.

  • 88'

    So Arsenal have lost Sagna for the start of the knockout stage, and that will be a setback if they are facing Barcelona, against whom Eboue could be a weak link.

  • 87'

    Petrovic's free-kick is saved well from Fabianski and he also takes Cleo's headed follow-up.

  • 86'

    It was an innocuous challenge really, but it was from behind and he did bring him down on the edge of the box.

  • 85'

    Bacary Sagna. The Frenchman brings down Lazevski.

  • 84'

    Nasri sprints away from his marker and slips a pass into Bendtner, but the big Dane cannot keep the ball under control.

  • 83'

    Walcott breaks into the box and attempts to square for Van Persie, but his pass lacks pace and Stojkovic smothers the ball.

  • 83'

    Shakhtar have just gone 2-0 up so they will top the group and Arsenal will finish second - meaning the Gunners will face Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Schalke.

  • 82'

    The Partizan fans are enjoying themselves at least, indulging in a bout of choreographed clapping.

  • 81'

    Davidov replaces Babovic.

  • 79'

    Arsenal's third goal really was a thing of beauty, and yet again Nasri demonstrated his imperious technique and poise. What a season he is having - he's been like Robert Pires crossed with Dennis Bergkamp so far.

  • 79'

    Over in Ukraine, it is Shakhtar 1-0 Braga so Arsenal now have little chance of taking first place. Given the tense nature of this game in London though, qualification itself will do nicely.

  • 77'

    Brilliant. Just brilliant. Song performs a one-two with Bendtner, moves away from two markers and then squares for Nasri, who opens up space with his first touch and slots home for his 12th of the season.

  • 77'

    GOAL! Arsenal 3-1 Partizan

  • 76'

    Nicklas Bendtner replaces Chamakh, who has been poor tonight.

  • 75'

    That's providing Arsenal don't concede a second of course...

  • 75'

    So now, strangely, Arsenal are hoping for a Braga goal as that would give them top spot!

  • 73'

    Jovanovic produces a poor attempt at a clearing header from Sagna's cross and Walcott exhibits excellent control before volleying back across goal and into the net. Lovely.

  • 73'

    GOAL! Arsenal 2-1 Partizan

  • 73'

    It remains 0-0 in Ukraine. Surely Braga know how close they are to the knockout stages? Just one goal will do at the moment.

  • 72'

    Moreira loses possession instead of hoofing the corner clear and Song grabs control of the ball and turns a shot wide of the post.

  • 71'

    Arsenal go close! Van Persie lashes in the set-piece from 20 yards but it is too close to Stojkovic and he palms the ball over the bar.

  • 71'

    Krstajic blocks off Theo Walcott and Arsenal have a free-kick on the edge of the box.

  • 70'

    Nasri attempts to dink a pass through for Van Persie but the ball had fallen kindly for him and the Frenchman could have had a shot himself. Arsenal must score to make their qualification certain.

  • 70'

    Partizan Belgrade's Cordova Cleo celebrates his equaliser

  • 69'

    Partizan Belgrade are not a good Champions League side at all and Arsenal should not be drawing against them with just over 20 minutes remaining. This has been a poor display.

  • 68'

    Gibbs of course walked off in the end due to his ankle injury, having attempted to play on.

  • 68'

    Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs is stretchered off

  • 67'

    Arshavin, who has had a quiet night, is replaced by Walcott.

  • 67'

    Wonderful footwork from Nasri and Van Persie allows Arsenal to negotiate their way through banks of black shirts, but Arshavin cannnot control in the box.

  • 65'

    Theo Walcott is being readied on the touchline, and you feel this is the kind of game he could wreak havoc in.

  • 64'

    It remains 0-0 in Ukraine, though both teams are enjoying chances so it could yet go either way.

  • 63'

    Partizan goalkeeper Stojkovic drops a high ball under pressure from Song but although Chamakh is lurking, Arsenal fail to take advantage.

  • 62'

    Arsenal win a corner and Arshavin fails to beat the first man with a poor delivery. The little Russian has only impressed in bursts so far - but he is well accustomed to that.

  • 62'

    This is all looking a touch ominous for Arsenal. Partizan appear to be visibly growing and the home side are losing possession a bit too frequently, with Arshavin the latest guilty party.

  • 61'

    Arsenal have no problems in creating chances, but their weakness remains in defence. It has done for some time. They are missing Thomas Vermaelen something chronic.

  • 60'

    Arsenal continue to look decent in possession, and Chamakh stretches and only just fails to reach a great cross from Sagna.

  • 59'

    It is really unthinkable that Arsenal are in any trouble here. They took nine points from their first three games, and then looked comfortable at half-time here. What a nervy conclusion this could be.

  • 58'

    Arsenal look a touch nervy and are lucky not to be punished when Denilson loses possession in midfield.

  • 57'

    Van Persie produces another sumptuous spinning backheel to turn the ball in the direction of Chamakh, but his cross lacks direction.

  • 55'

    Just to reiterate, Arsenal are going through as things stand. However, if Partizan score, or Braga score in Ukraine, then Arsenal will be dumped out of an easy group. They shouldn't even be close to being in trouble.

  • 54'

    Cleo now gets in behind the Arsenal defence and drags a shot wide. You can sense the tension inside Emirates Stadium now. That goal came out of nowhere, and yet again Arsenal's defence has proved to be soft as they come.

  • 52'

    Well, well, well. Partizan score only their second goal of the group stage as Cleo finds space away from Squillaci and then unleashes a shot that deflects off the defender and over Lukasz Fabianski.

  • 52'

    GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Partizan.

  • 51'

    A rare foray forward from Partizan results in Lazevski being tackled by Sagna as he attempted to hit the byline.

  • 48'

    Arsenal construct a fine passing move and Arshavin releases Denilson with a pass that bisects the visiting defence. A cross from the Brazilian falls to Nasri but his half-volley rises over the bar. A nice move, but a wild finish.

  • 47'

    The worry you have for Arsenal in this situation is that they have shown on so many occasions they can be guilty of complacency - most notably when losing 3-2 at home to Spurs of course. They need to find a second for a bit of comfort.

  • 46'

    Denilson plays a lovely through-ball for Chamakh but AGAIN the striker's touch deserts him. Time to bring on Nicklas Bendtner?

  • 46'


  • 45'

    Second-half predictions? I fancy Van Persie to bag a second, and Shakhtar to kill off Braga.

  • 45'

    So this whole scenario hangs on a knife-edge. If Braga score early, it gives Arsenal the chance to finish top, but also means if they concede against Partizan they will be heading out. It could be a tense second half.

  • 45'

    Arsenal will be content with that first-half performance and they have plenty of gears to go through yet. However, they need a goal for Braga if they are to take top spot in the group.

  • 45'


  • 45'

    Arsenal fail to carve out a chance from the corner, and that is half-time.

  • 45'

    Arshavin releases Nasri with a fantastic pass down the left flank but when he tries to slip the ball to Chamakh, the ball is cut out.

  • 45'

    The half ends 0-0 in Ukraine, so Shakhtar are currently taking top spot, with Arsenal second.

  • 45'

    Van Persie finds space on the right but when he squares for Chamakh, the striker miscontrols. Chamakh has been poor in the first half and has lost the ball too often.

  • 44'

    Van Persie scores from the spot

  • 44'

    It's a low key end to the half with Arsenal content to keep possession - it's their default setting.

  • 42'

    That was a rare chance for Partizan in this one-sided first half, though Arsenal have been nowhere near as dominant as they can be at home.

  • 40'

    Now the visitors surge forward but when Cleo finds space in the bo, he is unable to pick out a team-mate.

  • 39'

    A loose pass from Krstajic cedes possession to Van Persie but Arsenal cannot take advantage as Nasri loses the ball. That was fortunate for Partizan.

  • 38'

    Partizan are reduced to a frankly rubbish long-range effort from Medo. It was nowhere near.

  • 37'

    Nasri lofts a hopeful cross into the box and Van Persie fails to get the requisite power on his header and doesn't trouble Stojkovic.

  • 36'

    Arsenal look much more confident now, that goal has settled things down a bit. They SHOULD coast home from this position.

  • 34'

    Emmanuel Eboue embarks on a surging run and delivers a delightful cross with the outside of his right boot, winning a corner in the process. The ref spots an infringement by an Arsenal player though.

  • 32'

    Braga therefore need a two-goal swing if they are to deny Arsenal a place in the knockout stages.

  • 31'

    So, as things stand, Arsenal are heading into the knockout stages of the Champions League, though they are heading for second place as Shakhtar are drawing at home to Braga.

  • 30'

    GOAL! Van Persie won the penalty following a foul from Ilic and he takes the spot-kick, firing it past the reach of Vladimir Stojkovic.

  • 29'

    Penalty for Arsenal!

  • 29'

    Denilson is sporting a newly-shorn head in the centre of the midfield, which doesn't look quite right. Still, though, if it makes him play more like Gilberto Silva...

  • 28'

    Sasa Ilic challenges Bacary Sagna

  • 26'

    Eboue wins a free-kick and Arshavin attempts to catch the Partizan defence cold by taking it quickly, but the chance comes to nothing.

  • 26'

    That will unbalance Arsenal a touch as Gibbs provides good penetration down the left flank. While Eboue does the same, he is more accustomed to the right side of course.

  • 24'

    And here we go, Kieran Gibbs is indeed replaced by Eboue, who heads over to left back.

  • 23'

    Emmanuel Eboue appears to be stretching on the bench so perhaps Arsenal are unconvinced about Kieran Gibbs' ability to continue. He does look to be far from 100% after that injury.

  • 22'

    With the score still 0-0 in Ukraine, Arsenal are progressing at present but a goal for Braga would change all that.

  • 21'

    Now Chamakh clutches his leg but it appears to be for show and the referee waves play on.

  • 19'

    Now Nasri hits his stride and after slipping away from two men he plays a one-two with Sagna before slipping in a pass to Van Persie, who turns the ball wide.

  • 18'

    Gibbs really does have no luck whatsoever with injuries, but he is off the stretcher and hobbles back onto the pitch. We will see how long he lasts.

  • 17'

    Gibbs looks to be in some trouble and with Gael Clichy out, it would be Emmanuel Eboue who comes on. The stretcher comes on and Gibbs is carted off. Not good.

  • 15'

    Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs is down clutching his leg - an all-too familiar sight for Arsenal fans. He went over on his right ankle and looks in some pain.

  • 15'

    Nasri, despite the recent praise coming his way after a stunning first few months of the season, has been relatively quiet so far.

  • 13'

    Still Arsenal pour forward and Sagna, again, provides the cross from the right. However, Chamakh gets under the ball and heads over the bar. His aerial presence has really given Arsenal another dimension in attack.

  • 12'

    Arsenal are predictably dominating possession but Partizan look capable on the break and in Moreira have a tricky little player who could cause the home side real problems if given time and space.

  • 10'

    Sagna flicks a cross into the box but when Van Persie produces a backheel, Nasri is found to be offside, correctly. Van Persie loves indulging in flicks like that when he plays in the No. 10 role, he's a wonderful talent.

  • 10'

    Andrei Arshavin, clearly confident in his own ability after helping to deliver Russia the 2018 World Cup, embarks on a jinking run but attempts to take on one player too many and loses possession. Still, it's nice to see a player who tries.

  • 8'

    Moreira attempts to release Cleo with a fine through ball as Arsenal look vulnerable on the break, but Koscielny just gets across to get his body in the way and avert any danger. The Arsenal backline do look very jittery at present though.

  • 7'

    Now Arshavin plays the ball into the box from a wide position on the left and Chamakh attempts to touch the ball off to Van Persie, only to see his cushioned pass elude the Dutchman.

  • 5'

    Nasri and Sagna exchange five or six passes before the former swings a cross into the box, only to see it cleared by the Partizan defence.

  • 4'

    Partizan's Moreira attempts to work space in the final third but is closed down quickly by Laurent Koscielny, who was a doubt today after getting a nasty knock to the head against Fulham at the weekend.

  • 3'

    Arshavin attempts to complete a one-two with Nasri by the touchline with an outrageous backheel but he fails to pull it off.

  • 2'

    A quiet opening and it appears Van Persie will be playing in the Fabregas role, playing off Marouane Chamakh. Van Persie performed in this role in the Carling Cup win over Wigan and almost produced two magnificent assists for Carlos Vela.

  • 1'



    Sticking my neck on the line, I reckon Arsenal will coast this 3-0 or 4-0. There is no excuse for not winning, no excuse whatsoever.


    Right, the two teams are emerging from the tunnel and Arsenal are lead out by Robin van Persie, who is captain for the day with Cesc Fabregas out injured. All eyes on Samir Nasri after his exceptional performances this season.


    If the unthinkable does happen, and Arsenal do fail to reach the knockout stages for the first time in eight years, well, then the inquest will be long and hard.


    So qualification should not be a problem, as Braga are likely to struggle in Ukraine too, but if Shakhtar get a point then Arsenal will be denied top spot - a farcical situation for a side that won their opening three games. If that scenario occurs, they will have shot themselves in the foot, and will play one of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Schalke.


    Arsenal put six past Braga and five past Shakhtar in their first two home games, before capitulating to defeat to both clubs on the road and putting their qualification at risk. They should win easily tonight though against a Partizan side that is yet to claim a single point, and has scored only one goal.


    However, to finish top, and avoid a more difficult draw, Arsenal must win and hope Braga emerge victorious away in Ukraine, which appears unlikely.


    Welcome to our live coverage of Arsenal's final Champions League group game against Partizan Belgrade. The equation for the Gunners is simple: win and they are through to the knockout stages. In fact, they just need to match Braga's result away at Shakhtar. If they don't they are out.


    Live updates will appear here from 1930 GMT.


    Arsenal must win against Partizan Belgrade to ensure their progression to the knockout stages of the Champions League. Jon Carter previews the tie at Emirates Stadium.