Troubled Arsenal clinched their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the sixth successive season with an unconvincing 1-0 win against Dynamo Kyiv.
A scrappy game seemed certain to end goalless until substitute Nicklas Bendtner snatched a controversial winner with three minutes left.
The Ukrainian side were furious that the goal was allowed to stand after Cesc Fabregas appeared to have taken a free-kick before they were ready, but it later transpired that the Spaniard had benefited from a dropped ball.
Successive defeats against Aston Villa and Manchester City as well as captain William Gallas’ outburst had led to a wave of depression enveloping the Emirates Stadium with Arsene Wenger’s critics having a field day.
Wenger responded by handing the captain’s armband to Fabregas, but Gallas returned to the starting line-up after missing the Eastlands defeat.
However, the injured Samir Nasri, Abou Diaby, Kolo Toure, Theo Walcott, Emmanuel Eboue, Tomas Rosicky, Bacary Sagna, Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo all missed out.
In Kyiv two months ago, Gallas had grabbed a late goal as the Gunners hit back to draw 1-1 against a Dynamo side that is currently three points clear at the top of the Ukrainian league table.
And the controversial Frenchman was again in the thick of the action as he single-handedly tried to add some spice to an otherwise mundane game.
After an incident-free opening 39 minutes Gallas’ awful week almost hit a new low when his casual back-pass was picked up by Ismael Bangoura, who fired a shot from a tight angle against the outside of a post.
On the stroke of half-time, Gallas had the ball in the net only to correctly be ruled offside and three minutes after the interval he contrived to block Robin van Persie’s goalbound shot on the Kyiv line.
The visitors looked the more likely winners in the second half and, with 13 minutes left, Artem Milevski found himself completely free inside the area but Manuel Almunia did superbly to block the Ukrainian striker’s shot.
Play quickly switched to the other end and a clever pass by Fabregas allowed van Persie to fire the ball along the six-yard box, but Bendtner was unable to get a touch to it with the goal gaping.
There was still time for the Denmark international to snatch the winner though and Kyiv ended the match with ten men when Alexander Aliev was sent off in the last minute after appearing to push the referee.
Gooner Talk would like to apologise for the shortness of this ‘report’, a detailed match build-up will be on the site in coming days towards the Chelsea game.
Arsenal SPOT and Nicklas Bendtner News both have excellent match reports coming up, so visit their sites for an in-depth view of tonights scrappy contest.
Share the post "Match Report: Arsenal 1-0 Dynamo Kyiv"