For a match Arsenal were expected to win comfortably, they could have indeed been happy to hear the final whistle in a game of two halves. The game kicked off with a makeshift Arsenal side which saw the return of Robin Van Persie, Abou Diaby and Jens Lehmann all back to first team action.
The game kicked off with Arsenal being the better of the two sides, Theo Walcott coming close on more then one occasion and when the Steaua defence could not cope the goal finally came through from the returning Abou Diaby who showed class until he was taken off. The goal was well taken andit was as if he and Robin van Persie were never injured.
From then on the half was Arsenal”s and the “second string” of “young guns” were taking the game to a Steaua side who seemed like they were just there to make up the numbers and some great passing play as you would expect from the”first string” was paying off as Nickalas Bendtner showed his really natural forward ambition and ability as he made a great run and finished the through ball brilliantly.
But the Arsenal quality on display for the first half came to a end in the second, much to the dismay of the fans at Ashburton Grove. It was as if the young guns too their foot off the gas and were not as much as a threat in the second period. Then came the shock of the evening, the team who finished last in the group and could be described as woeful with their performances in the group stage up to now due to their problems behind the scenes at their club, pulled a goal back which you would have though provided a wake up call for the Gunners but it just wasen”t to happen and the performance still was not improved.
Then came the end of the comebacks. Robin Van Persie and Abou Diaby were withdrawn and their comebacks were so good it was as if they never left. The bad news for the night came from Prague. It confirmed that Sevilla had topped group H and it was going to be a harder draw for Arsenal in the first knock out round.
Jens Lehmann:7 Could have had a seat in front of the goal as picking the ball out of his net was the only thing he had to do.
Bacary Sagna:8 Reliable as usual
Phillipe Senderos:7 For once he did not make much mistakes
William Gallas:8 Reliable as usual
Armand Traore:8 People must have though he was Gael Clichy. Not because they lookalike but he was quality attacking and defending
Theo Walcott:7 Ran rings around Steaua at times.
Denilson:7 Can”t be faulted, was not bad.
Alex Song:7 He also proved a point.
Abou Diaby:8 Great comeback, ran the show in midfield.
Robin Van Persie:8 Like Diaby he was also great.
Nicklas Bendtner:8 Took his goal very well and gave a good performance.
Eduardo:6 Didn”t do much when he came on other then one chance.
Lassana Diarra:6 Also did not do much when he came on.
Emmanual Eboue:6 No impact when he came on also