GALATASARAY 1 ARSENAL 4
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger saluted midfielder Aaron Ramsey’s wonder goal after routing Galatasaray but narrowly missing out on topping their Champions League group last night.
A six-goal win would have lifted the Gunners above Borussia Dortmund, who could only draw with Anderlecht, but they fell short despite doubles from Ramsey and Lukas Podolski.
Yet it was a morale-boosting evening for a youthful Arsenal side desperate to respond to Saturday’s humbling at Stoke, capped by Ramsey’s thunderous 30-yard volley.
“When he took the shot I thought ‘that’s not the best of ideas’ but the way it went in was absolutely unbelievable,” said Wenger. “Unfortunately it wasn’t enough but we finished on 13 points and we did the job tonight. We came out strong, that's what I wanted.”
Qualifying in second place for the fifth time in six seasons means Arsenal face being drawn against European giants such as Bayern Munich or Real Madrid on Monday.
Podolski, making only his second start of the season, lashed in a rising drive after just 120 seconds and Ramsey slotted a second nine minutes later. The Wales star’s rocket made it three on 29 minutes and, though Wesley Sneijder whipped a late free-kick response, Podolski prodded the visitors’ fourth with the final kick.
HOW FRINGE PLAYERS FARED
■ Young Costa Rica forward wanted ball but, one saved shot aside, his over-eagerness to impress led to poor decision-making
■ Gifted midfielder, 17, kept it simple but was tidy in possession when brought on for Flamini at half-time
■ Debutant midfielder, 17, looked a little out of his depth as a second-half sub for Ramsey but made no major errors
■ Centre-back, 17, was shaky when drafted in at right-back for tiring Debuchy for final 13 minutes but settled to make one good interception