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Lucky breaks usher Arsenal towards the Euro big time

<strong>CELTIC (0)</strong> vs <strong>ARSENAL (2)</strong><br /><br />ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger insisted his side merited two large slices of luck that helped them take a huge step towards the Champions League group stage last night in Glasgow.<br /><br />The Gunners dominated at Celtic Park but only breached a resolute home rearguard, and took a stranglehold on this two-legged play-off, with the aid of two generous deflections.<br /><br />Just before half-time a free-kick from captain Cesc Fabregas ricocheted off Arsenal defender William Gallas to horribly wrongfoot Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc, and then Bhoys skipper Gary Caldwell diverted Gael Clichy&rsquo;s cross into his own net in the 71st minute.<br /><br />But Wenger argued his team had deserved the breaks on the balance of an engaging and fluid tussle which leaves Celtic with an onerous task at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.<br /><br />&ldquo;It was a fierce battle. We dominated the game but Celtic were always fighting and counter-attacking and in the end, despite being in control, we scored two lucky goals. But yes, of course, we merited the good fortune,&rdquo; said Wenger. &ldquo;I concede that we were lucky with the goals but we had plenty of opportunity in the first 15 minutes of the second half.&rdquo;<br /><br />Wenger&rsquo;s opposite number Tony Mowbray admitted his side had been demoralised by the twin setbacks but offered hope for the return leg.<br /><br />&ldquo;The nature of the goals was very disappointing, it knocks the stuffing out of what you&rsquo;re trying to do,&rdquo; Mowbray said. &ldquo;But Arsenal were very good on the night; exceptional with the ball but brilliant without the ball. We&rsquo;ve got to go there next week and score the first goal and if we do that it might make it interesting.&rdquo;<br /><br />Arsenal thumped Everton on Saturday but Celtic were in no mood to be rolled over and harried the Gunners from the off, even testing Manuel Almunia when Scott Brown shot through the legs of team-mate Giorgios Samaras. But the visitors got the breakthrough in the 43rd minute when Robin van Persie laid off to Fabregas and the midfielder&rsquo;s 30-yard shot veered in off Gallas&rsquo; back.<br /><br />Arsenal survived a strong penalty appeal when the ball hit Nicklas Bendtner&rsquo;s arm, but wrapped up the first leg win when Clichy&rsquo;s teasing low cross was diverted goalwards by the sliding Caldwell.<br />