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Lachen Stadion

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  • Robert Pires 88'

Pires pen fires Arsenal into last 16

Arsenal had already done the hard work in the Champions League with four straight victories, so it was of little surprise to see them stroll through a 1-0 win over 10-man FC Thun on a bitterly cold night in Switzerland.

Substitute Robert Pires netted from the spot with just three minutes left as the Gunners continued their best ever start to a European campaign as they secured top spot in Group B.

With the pressure off after having already qualified, Arsene Wenger gave youth a chance, with full-back Emmanuel Eboue and midfielder Alexandre Song both producing solid performances.

• Campbell unconcerned by slender win

But with Thun heading into the match still in contention for third spot and with it a place in the latter stages of the UEFA Cup, the Swiss side were determined to give Arsenal a test of their European credentials, more of which will come in the knockout phase.

There was an early warning for the Gunners they would not have it all their own way when Thun captain Silvan Aegerter fed Alen Orman on the overlap down the right, but his cross sailed high over the crossbar.

On six minutes, Thierry Henry - making a club-record 70th European appearance - broke down the left, and was tripped by Armand Deumi.

The Frenchman took the free-kick himself, whipping the ball into the six-yard box, which the Thun defence eventually hacked clear with Robin van Persie looking to capitalise on any misjudgement.

Australian Ljubo Milicevic then tried his luck from a central position 25 yards out, but Manuel Almunia - in for the rested Jens Lehmann - was right behind the shot and saved comfortably.

The tempo of the match, played in a biting Alpine wind, then dropped somewhat.

It was not until the 20th minute that the next clear opening came.

Jose Antonio Reyes' quick free-kick released Van Persie.

But having beaten the offside trap, the Dutch forward elected to shoot first time from the edge of the area, when he had time to take the ball on, and Eldin Jakupovic made a smart save low to his right.

At the other end, Pimenta Adriano saw his deflected 18-yard effort loop just wide of the left-hand post, with Almunia beaten.

The balance of the match changed on 34 minutes when the Swiss were reduced to 10 men.

Van Persie got clear of the defence again onto a through ball from Fredrik Ljungberg - only to be tripped by Cameroon defender Deumi just on the edge of the penalty box.

The referee showed no hesitation, and produced a red card.

Van Persie sent the resulting free-kick just over.

To their credit, Thun tried to raise the tempo, but were too often crowded out in midfield.

Not surprisingly, the hosts went with five at the back following the restart to try to nullify Arsenal's potent attacking treat.

After 52 minutes, Nelson Ferreira thought he had put the hosts in front from close range, but his celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.

Song then needed treatment after falling awkwardly when winning possession on the edge of his own penalty area.

He was replaced by Cesc Fabregas on 55 minutes.

This was Thun's best spell of the game, and Almunia had to make a smart save at the near post when Mauro Lustrinelli got in on the right, before defender Selver Hodzic headed over.

On 62 minutes, Henry drilled in a 30-yard free-kick goalwards, which Jakupovic did well to block low to his right.

Reyes was then booked for checking Vieira Leandro, and again Thun saw an effort ruled out when Ferreira's strike from the free-kick went all the way through the defence and into the net - but once more the assistant on the far side raised his flag for offside, which came before the ball had crossed the line.

Henry then darted into the left side of the Thun penalty area, but after drawing the `keeper steered his low shot just wide of the far post.

The Arsenal striker then had projectiles thrown at him by a section of the home support behind the Thun goal.

It proved to be Henry's last meaningful contribution, as with 20 minutes left, he was replaced by Robert Pires.

Then just as the match seemed to be heading for a goalless drawn, the visitors were awarded a penalty when Hodzic clearly pulled back Van Persie - although it needed the intervention of the assistant referee on the near side to signal the infringement.

Pires confidently dispatched the spot-kick to ensure Arsenal won the group and can look forward to the knockout stages with some confidence.

  • Campbell unconcerned by slender win

    Arsenal defender Sol Campbell was happy with their 1-0 victory over FC Thun in

    Switzerland despite needing a late penalty to break the resistance of their

    10-man opponents.

    Only 34 minutes into the game the Swiss had Cameroon defender Armand Deumi

    sent off when he brought down Robin van Persie on the edge of the penalty box.

    However, Thun then had what looked like a good goal disallowed before Selver

    Hodzic pulled back Van Persie to allow substitute Robert Pires to score the only

    goal from the spot in the 87th minute.

    'I think we did enough. We played good football, got in their half and they

    had a disallowed goal but I think we did enough to win the game,' Campbell told


    'We set our stall out and were strong. They were playing at home and were

    going to come out and get us but when we started playing football we created a

    lot of opportunities and it was just the final touch [missing].

    'We won the game and we're top of the group and that is nice because you need

    that kind of confidence in the Champions League.'

  • Scoring Summary

    • FC Thun
    • Arsenal
    (88') Robert Pires

    Match Stats

    • FC Thun
    • Arsenal
    11(3) Shots (on goal) 10(2)
    13 Fouls 17
    2 Corner kicks 5
    11 Offsides 10
    0% Time of Possession 0%
    3 Yellow Cards 3
    1 Red Cards 0
    0 Saves 0


    • FC Thun
    • Arsenal
    Yellow Cards
    Red Cards