It was the the 23rd of November, on a cold night at the Emirates and we had just finished playing PSG. A game which was going to determine if we finished top of the group or not, after coming back from that early Cavani goal, the game ended 2-2. PSG were going to finish top of the group and as the referee blew the final whistle, our chances of finishing top of the group left the stadium with the fans, or so we thought.
For the final game of the group stages, we were facing Basel which we were almost certain to win, while PSG were going to be up against Ludogorets whom we had thumped 6-0 earlier and it was in Paris. So trust me, it was fair to say, all hope was lost.
Fast forward to Matchday 6, the stage was set, Basel v Arsenal, PSG v Ludogorets. We went to Switzerland to just do our part, win our game, keep the momentum going, while not expecting much from the other result. We started with a strong squad even though there were 6 changes to the team that thumped West Ham 5-1 over the weekend but then that’s what you get for having a strong squad??.
The job was simple, come here, play your game, win your game and keep everyone happy. It didn’t take long for that job to get underway though as we were already 1-0 up by the 17th minute thanks to that goal from Lucas Perez. It was Arsenal football at it’s best and even more for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th goals. 4-1 it finished on the night.
Lucas Perez had to be the champion of the night, grabbing his first Arsenal hattrick, what a man he was last night. Scoring goals and still putting in a decent shift to help Gabriel when he had to. Iwobi got the 4th goal which was his first champions league goal and boy did he need that. Lad was already getting low on confidence and it’s always a confidence booster for a player like that when he gets a goal.
On the night tho, we were amazing all through, every single player doing their bit. From Ospina to Sanchez, Gabriel was amazing at right back, Holding was fantastic, well save for that one second-lapse when he let Doumbia go but for a youngster on a big champions league night, he sure did well playing alongside Koscielny, Gibbs was one of the best on the night and even got himself a nomination for man of the match, Ozil and Sanchez as always were unreal, every single player, even Ramsey.??????
For all the goals, Sanchez, Ozil and Gibbs seemed to be the constants. Those guys were phenomenal on the night and I just wished it was possible to share that man of the match award between themselves. They all equally deserved it.
Ozil and Gibbs getting assists on the night and each assist was even better than the last but amazingly, the assist of the night came 354 miles away in France, where Bulgarian side Ludogorets grabbed a gutsy 2-2 draw against Paris Saint-Germain which allowed Arsenal to move above PSG into top spot. Ludo did the impossible and robbed 2 points off PSG, to think they almost took all 3, if not for that last Di Maria equaliser. It was too surreal, Ludogorets had taken two points off PSG and were going to finish the group on top?????.
It’s been so long I don’t even know how that feels anymore.
Whether finishing first is a major advantage in Monday’s draw for the knockout stages is a different matter, with Bayern Munich among the group runners-up and Real Madrid currently second in their group, too. ‘I don’t know the other results yet, but we can still have a difficult draw,’ admitted Wenger.
‘Anyway, it will be difficult but with less guilt when you finish first. You feel you’ve done the job and can play the second leg at home. So we have achieved that.
‘But the draw is not much different (in terms of the potential opponent), certainly at the moment. And I cannot complain tonight. I’ve had bad nights in football and tonight was a good night.
‘Overall, we came here wanting to do the job, wanting to play well. On top of that we were lucky with the result at Paris Saint-Germain, so it was a positive night.’
Whoever the opponent is come Monday, I would like to think we are ready for this.
So yes, walk through today with a smile fellow Gunners.
*Walks out singing ”we are top of the group, la la la la la*