Arsenal 3-0 Dinamo Zagreb: Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez keep Gunners' Champions League destiny in their own hands
- Ozil gave Arsene Wenger's side the lead on 29 minutes, capping off a fine move with a close-range header
- Sanchez doubled the lead four minutes later, pouncing on Nacho Monreal's pass to coolly slot past Eduardo
- Chilean added a third in the second half, latching on to Joel Campbell's pinpoint pass before finishing with aplomb
- The result puts Arsenal into the Europa League knockout stages at least before the tie at Olympiacos in a fortnight
- Arsenal look to become first team since Galatasaray in 2012 to progress to last 16 after losing their first two games
- Arsene Wenger has a proud record of reaching the Champions League knockout stages for the last 15 straight years
At some point the prospect of Arsenal playing in the Europa League hit home. That cruel terrace taunt - ‘Thursday nights, Channel Five’ - just wouldn't sound right for any team managed by Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal are a Champions League club and they have the record to prove it after qualifying for the knockout rounds in each of the last 15 seasons. They are a team with pedigree. Wenger and his team are hanging on in there, they really are.
Arsenal have won only two of their five fixtures in Group F and yet they will maintain their proud record in this competition if they can win their final game against Olympiacos. Wenger has already accepted that Arsenal are a million miles away from competing with Bayern Munich or Barcelona over two legs when it comes to crunch time, but getting out of this group would still feel like an achievement.
They won easily at the Emirates, finally breaking down Dinamo’s defence when Mesut Ozil scored with a diving header in the 29th minute and adding two more via Alexis Sanchez.
Alexis Sanchez was in captivating form, scoring two and setting up the opener on another typically energetic display for the Chilean
Ozil stoops to nod Sanchez's cross beyond Dinamo keeper Eduardo to give Arsenal the lead in a must-win Champions League tie
Ozil celebrates his goal which helped Arsenal seal their second win of an uneven European campaign
Ozil finished a lightning-fast counter-attack, meeting Sanchez's cross with a diving header inside the six-yard box
Sanchez celebrates his goal which seemed to put the game beyond the visitors as the Premier League side took charge of the game
Sanchez (centre) was in the right place at the right time as he clinically finished Nacho Monreal's pass to double Arsenal's advantage
Arsenal look forward to their trip to Greece in a fortnight, knowing victory by two clear goals will seal progression to the knockout stage
Sanchez took the ball round Eduardo and slotted home from a tight angle after fine work from Joel Campbell to add a deserved third
TEAMS, SAMI MOKBEL'S RATINGS, FIXTURES, PERMUTATIONS, CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
ARSENAL (4-2-3-1): Cech 6, Bellerin 7.5 (Debuchy 82), Mertesacker 6, Koscielny 6, Monreal 7.5, Flamini 7, Cazorla 7 (Chambers 82), Campbell 6.5, Ozil 8, Sanchez 8.5, Giroud 6 (Ramsey 69, 6.5). Subs not used: Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Reine-Adelaide
Booked: Monreal. Goals: Ozil 29, Sanchez 33, 69. Manager: Arsene Wenger 7
DINAMO ZAGREB (4-2-3-1): Eduardo 6.5, Ivo Pinto 6, Sigali 5, Taravel 6, Matel 6.5, Paulo Machado 6.5 (Coric), Santos 6.5, Antolic 6 (Henriquez 71), Pjaca 6, Rog 5.5, Fernandes 6 (Soudani 57, 6). Subs not used: Mikulic, Musa, Sovsic, Pavicic
Manager: Mamic 5
Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary) 6.5
TO PLAY — Dec 9: Dinamo Zagreb v Bayern Munich, Olympiacos v Arsenal.
TO QUALIFY: Arsenal must beat Olympiacos in Greece on the final match day by more than two goals — or by one goal if they score at
EURO WOE COULD SEE GUNNERS MISS OUT ON MILLIONS
Arsenal still have much to do and if they are knocked out of the Champions League, they could miss out on a maximum of nearly £30million in prize money, not to mention millions from TV broadcasting deals.
Round of 16...................£3.9m
With that Dinamo were done and Wenger will be glad to see the back of them after serially accusing them of beating UEFA’s rules after one of their players was banned for using a performance enhancing drug when they beat Arsenal 2-1.
Dinamo’s resistance was token and amateurish at times, with their defence sliding all over the pitch when Ozil, Sanchez and Santi Cazorla stepped up a gear. All three showed their class in Arsenal colours.
They sidestep challenges for fun, with the feet of Dinamo’s central defensive pairing of Leonardo Sigali and Jeremy Taravel swinging through the air during a punishing first half.
What are we getting with Arsenal in the Champions League these days? No-one is really sure, not even their fans after they failed to fill the Emirates for a match they simply had to win.
The place was barely two-thirds full, a protest at Arsenal’s failure to get the job done and qualify for the knock-out rounds in their opening four group games. They are usually home and hosed by now.
They are dicing with danger this year, struggling to find their rhythm in the competition after defeats against Dinamo Zagreb and Bayern Munich away, along with the catastrophic loss at home to Olympiacos. They are hanging on, and they know it.