Podolski and Ramsey Both Pick Up a Brace in Win Over Galatasaray
With Arsenal already qualified for the final sixteen of the European Champions League, Arsène Wenger chose to field a side mainly made up of second string players and those returning from injury against Galatasaray, in their final Group D match.
The boys made the most of their opportunity with Lukas Podolski scoring with a spectacular strike inside three minutes of the start. Aaron Ramsey slotted in a second, just eight minutes later, but his outstanding strike in the 29th minute, from over 30 yards out, stunned everyone in the ground.
Ramsey believes that it is his best ever goal and former Middlesbrough striker Jan Aage Fjortoftseems to agree, commenting on Twitter “Ramsey! What a goal, the best thing from Wales since, since….Catherine Zeta-Jones”
Wesley Schneider pulled back a consolation for Galatasaray in the second half, from a free kick that should never have been, being awarded after the ball struck Mertesacker on the arm when he could not get out of the way.
Despite a much quieter second half for Arsenal, when more youngsters were introduced, Podolskirounded off the scoring with a roll in from the final kick of the game, to finish with a convincing 1-4 scoreline.
Arsenal welcomed back first choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny and right back Mathieu Debuchy, but the ailing left backs Monreal and Gibbs were rested and 19 year Héctor Bellerín was moved across the field.
First team regulars Ramsey, Flamini and Oxlade-Chamberlain retained their places, but up front Joel Campbell, Yaya Sanogoand Lukas Podolski were given opportunities to demonstrate their claims for more regular selection.
Podolski made the most of his opportunity with his early goal, hitting the woodwork and drawing a good save from Bolat, the Galatasaray keeper. Together with Bellerin he dominated the left side of the field in the first half.
Arsenal‘s bench had an average age of just 18 and Stefan O’Connor, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Gedion Zelalem were all given plenty of on field time, with Maitland-Niles and Zelalem starting the second half in place of Ramsey and Flamini.
Ramsey‘s absence in the second half did mean less dominance for Arsenal, but three nil up is a good time to blood young players.
The Wenger haters were out in force at the weekend, after a poor performance in the 3-2 defeat to Stoke, with some suggesting that Arsenal‘s late goals and previous wins against Southampton and West Brom were made pointless by the result.
Goals and wins are never pointless in football, they are the whole object of the game. Ramsey‘s goal against Stoke helps him play himself back into form (three goals in the last two games) and all points count in the table.
Some clowns even stated on Twitter that Arsène Wenger is a mediocre coach because he did not win the European Champions League with The Invincibles. Three Premier League wins, five FA Cups and fifteen consecutive years in the top 16 of Europe puts him way above the middle, by any measurement.
Despite Galatasaray providing scant resistance, there were many, many positives to be drawn from this game for Arsenal. The return of Mathieu Debuchy, Podolski and Ramsey‘s form and another excellent showing from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as well the experience gained by the youngsters, amongst them.
Arsenal finish their group second on goal difference to Borussia Dortmund and now wait to see which of the mighty European powerhouse sides they are drawn against in the next round.
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