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Match Report: FC Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 Arsenal

Arsenal faced a tough trip to Kiev, somewhere they have been before on many occassions yet never come out of with a win.

But with 11 goals in the Gunners last three matches the team were on a high as they kicked off their Champions League campaign.

Dinamo Kiev Starting XI

Bogush
Betao – Diakhate – Mykhalyk – Nesmachniy
Vukojevic – Yussuf – Yeremenko – Aliev
Ninkovic – Bangoura

Arsenal Starting XI

Almunia
Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy
Walcott- Fabregas – Song – Denilson
Adebayor – van Persie

First Half

Arsenal started off where they left off at the weekend with man-of-the-moment Theo Walcott playing a neat ball through to Robin Van Persie, but the striker failed to find the net as the shot was straight at the Kiev keeper Bogush and out for a corner.

Arsenal were keeping possession well in the midfield but the Ukrainians were slowing begin to assert themselves and the possession was becoming more and more even in the centre of the park.  But Arsenal still had the upper-hand. Dinamo gave the ball away cheaply at the back, but Adebayor failed to capitalise and all he could do was curl his shot wide of the post from 15 yards out.  It was a guilt edged chance that the Togolese striker should have buried.

Kiev were struggling to get any clear cut chances on goal, as a free kick from 30 yards was poorly taken and Arsenal were able to counter.  Adebayor was breaking, and carved up two players along the way, but a poor touch meant that the Kiev defence could clear the danger.

Bangoura’s shot flashed wide of Almunia’s goal as the home fans were beginning to find their voice and the Kiev players were responding well.  The striker proved to be a threat as he saw the Arsenal keeper off his line and attempted to fool him by trying an audacious long shot.  But the ball flew over the bar, much to Almunia’s relief.

Aliev managed to beat Clichy on the left but the resultant cross amounted to nothing as the game died down yet agin.  A slick passing play starting at the back with Sagna and found its way to Van Persie in the area, however the Dutchman’s thunderous shot fired into the side netting, he should have done better.

On the edge of Kiev’s box, Adebayor won back the ball to float in a pinpoint cross to Van Persie on the left who pulled the ball back in one touch to Fabregas.  But the talismanic Spaniard could not get a clean connection on the ball, and his shot bounced safely into the keepers hands.  Another chance had gone begging as the half finished a scrappy 0-0 draw.

Second Half

Arsenal starting off play well in Kiev’s area, but the first chance fell to the Ukrainians.  Walcott went down on the halfway line as Dinamo played on on the break.  The defence was all over the place as Ninkovic’s low drive was tipped onto the post by Almunia.

Robin Van Persie had yet another chance with the striker blazing over from the left side of the area.  Arsenal were closing down Kiev well but the Gunners failed to find the breakthrough and possession was being lost too cheaply.  Kiev were beginning to attack more often as the defence finally snuffed out an attack that starting by exposing the vulnerable left flank.  Another Arsenal movement saw the ball fall to Fabregas on the edge of the area, however attempt at a screamer was straight at the opposition keeper.

Gallas missed the ball and released Bangoura, the defence was incapable of stopping the cross.  Sagna was then deemed to have pulled down the awaiting striker but replays showed that the attacker had twisted round and through himself to ground.  Bangoura stepped up to the spot and cooly slid the ball into the bottom right hand corner as Almunia dived the wrong way.

Goal – Bangoura (61 mins)

Arsenal were slipping all over the place and and losing possession at nearly every turn.  As Kiev were sending wave after wave of attack which the Gunners back four looked to be struggling with.  Bendtner came on for Song as the team tried to increase their attacking threat. Bangoura had far too much space and time on the edge of the area but curled the ball over the bar and wide.

Eboue was brought on to replace Sagna as Arsenal desperately strived for an equaliser.  Walcott broke away and another cynical foul was unleashed on the English man.  Fabregas stepped up to whip in the free kick as the Ukrainians struggled to clear and the ball was deflected out for a corner.  Van Persie’s corner was met by Adebayor but his header was easily saved by the keeper.  Carlos Vela was then called on as the replacement for a lacklustre Van Persie.

A two-on-one break from Kiev should have punished Arsenal but an awful touch from Bangoura allowed Clichy to recover.

Arsenal kept the pressure on and a sublime cross from Walcott found its way through to Gallas who made no mistake in hammering it into the roof of the net.  Gallas find the breakthrough again.

Goal – Gallas (88 min)

The full time whistle was then blow on a poor performance from the Gunners that saw them lucky to salvage a point from a tricky encounter in Ukraine, despite the penalty decision being highly skeptical.

Player Ratings

Almunia – 6.5: Not much to do, but solid but called upon, especially when he tipped the ball onto the post

Clichy – 7.5: Probably the best player on the pitch, had to cover on the left due to Wenger’s tactical failure, and covered well in two-on-one situation

Gallas – 6.5: Failed to create solid back four and lead team, but the goal was vital, and he is beginning to establish a knack for them

Toure – 7: Made some superb saving tackles but he gave the ball away for too often

Sagna – 6.5: Lost the ball too easily, but the decision against him for the penalty was very harsh

Denilson – 5: Was mystifyingly played on the left and thus failed to make and impact and left the left side exposed

Fabregas – 4: Completely out of sorts, failed to impose himself of the game and made little impact

Song – 5: Lack of match practice showed as he gave possession away too often and couldn’t consistently set up passing moves

Walcott – 7: Worked tirelessly and was the victim of many a rough tackle, but provided a beautiful assist

Van Persie – 5: Should have done better with the chances he was providided

Adebayor – 7.5: Should have scored with guilt edged chance, but worked harder than anyone else and was highly involved in goal

Subs:

Bendtner – 3: Poor touches when on and made no impact

Eboue – 5: Sufficient cover at right back

Vela – N/A: On for too little time

Man of the Match: Emmanuel Adebayor – worked tirelessly and was always at the heart of every Arsenal chance, atoning for his missed sitter.

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