Arsenal Take Top Spot

by Mark Applin – Arsenal booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League as Group H winners as they beat Standard Liege 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners progress to the knockout stage while Liege will have to win their final game to stand any chance of qualifying.
It was a commanding performance from Arsene Wenger’s men, who were never in any trouble and did not have to get out of third gear.
With Arsenal needing a draw to progress, it would have been easy for the Premier League side to sit back and play for the point they required.
Instead, Wenger’s men bossed the game from start to finish, completely overshadowing their Belgian opponents who hardly threatened.
The first goal arrived on 35 minutes: Thomas Vermaelen played a long ball towards Samir Nasri on the right-hand edge of the penalty area and a back-tracking Reginal Goreux slipped as it dropped over his shoulder. That allowed Nasri to stroke it past Sinan Bolat into the far corner.
Denilson made it 2-0 with an absolute screamer from 30 yards on the stroke of half-time. The midfielder, returning from injury, struck a swerving effort that moved in the air and embarrassed the goalkeeper.
They could have made it three on numerous occasions, with Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Eboue and Theo Walcott all going close in the second period.
Standard Liege had chances to score: Dieudonne Mbokani hit a post after turning on the edge of the box with the game at 0-0 while William Gallas was lucky to not concede a penalty after he bundled Goreux to the ground inside the area. Alex Witsel also struck an upright in the second half as Liege searched for what would have been a mere consolation.
Late on Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez was sent off for violent conduct as Wenger saw his side progress; he can now rest players for their final group game.

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