Alexis Sanchez Arsenal
Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions LeagueReuters

Arsenal cannot play against the big teams; Arsenal are soft; Arsenal have no steel; Arsenal's defensive stability is non-existent. Having heard all of that, and plenty more, in the past couple of weeks after a poor run of form when they lost two and drew the other, Arsenal needed a response, and what better way to provide that response than against the team that absolutely battered them on Matchday One of the Champions League.

This was more like the Arsenal that everyone hopes to see every single game – playing strong, showing plenty of finesse and enough and more steel to overwhelm a Borussia Dortmund side that came into this Group D match with a 100 percent record.

Yaya Sanogo set the tone with his first Arsenal goal in just the second minute of the game, before the main man of this season for the North London side – Alexis Sanchez – put his own stamp in the game with a delicious curler on 57 minutes to give Arsenal a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund and seal a place in the Champions League knockout stages along with their opponents.

Arsenal would have hoped for an early goal, something they have not managed often enough this season, to ease those nerves and settle the team, Arsene Wenger and the crowd, and Sanogo provided that with aplomb.

Off a throw in, Sanogo played a one-two with Santi Cazorla, before slotting the ball past Roman Weidenfeller.

Arsenal looked comfortable enough after the opening goal, even if the inevitable Dortmund attacks did come about time and again, with Emiliano Martinez, Arsenal's third choice challenge, showing he is more than up to the challenge, when asked some probing questions.

Without that second goal, Arsenal were never going to be safe, and that second goal came after a period of sustained pressure early in the second half.

First, Sanchez forced a wonderful save from Weidenfeller off a low drive from outside the box, before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain planted a stunning volley bang onto the crossbar with Weidenfeller a mere spectator.

There was that worry growing that Arsenal would put too any bodies forward in search of the second goal, and thus get suckered on the counter, but Alexis eased those nerves with a typically brilliant strike – curling one from outside and in to plant that ball into the bottom of the net past Weidenfeller's left hand.

Arsenal finally figured out what needs to be done when they are in the lead, and shut shop, staying compact and not allowing Dortmund to break quickly, which basically killed off the game, much to the satisfaction of the majority at the Emirates Stadium.

The other Group D match saw Anderlecht show their quality yet again, pulling off an impressive 2-0 victory over Galatasaray thanks to a brace from Chancel Mbemba.

In Group B, There was similar pressure for the other English Premier League club in action on Wednesday – Liverpool – and they looked like answering with a win as well, with Rickie Lambert, via a goal in his second straight game, and Jordan Henderson giving their side a 2-1 lead over Ludogorets.

Ludogorets opened the scoring, with Dani Abalo slotting home in just the third minute after Simon Mignolet failed to handle Marcelinho's shot.

However, Liverpool replied within five minutes via Lambert, who showed his heading prowess to the fullest extent to score his second goal in as many matches and first ever in the Champions League.

Goals have been hard to come by for Liverpool this season, but Henderson provided a vital one on 37 minutes. The midfielder got on the end of a wonderful run and cross from Raheem Sterling to give Liverpool the lead, a lead they looked like they would hold on to only for Georgi Terziev to add another chapter of disappointment to Liverpool's season with an equaliser two minutes from time.

The other game in Group B saw Real Madrid maintain their 100 percent record in the Champions League this season, even if it was not with the typical oomph and goal-oozes-every-ten-minutes style.

Cristiano Ronaldo did not match Lionel Messi's exploits from Tuesday, but the Real Madrid superstar remains right behind the Argentine in their battle for the goalscoring record in the Champions League, scoring the only goal of the game for the holders against Basel.

It's all to play for second place in Group B, with Basel on six points, and Liverpool and Ludogorets tied on four points each. A win for Liverpool over Basel on Matchday 6 and they will join Real Madrid in the last 16.

In Group C, Zenit St. Petersburg kept their hopes of making the last 16 alive with a 1-0 win over Benfica courtesy a strike from Danny, with Monaco doing the same courtesy a win over Bayer Leverkusen by the same scoreline. Leverkusen lead Group C with nine points, with Monaco second and Zenit third on eight and seven points respectively.

Last year's runners-up Atletico Madrid asserted their dominance on Olympiakos with a 4-0 victory to qualify for the next round, courtesy a hat-trick from Mario Mandzukic and a goal from Raul Garcia, while Juventus look the likely team to join them after coming away with a 2-0 win at Malmo with Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez getting on the scoresheet.

Results: Group A: Atletico Madrid 4-0 Olympiakos; Malmo 0-2 Juventus. Group B: Basel 0-1 Real Madrid; Ludogorets 2-2 Liverpool. Group C: Zenit 1-0 Benfica; Leverkusen 0-1 Monaco. Group D: Arsenal 2-0 Borussia Dortmund; Anderlecht 2-0 Galatasaray.

Also read
Quick Links