Arsenal 3-0 Dinamo Zagreb: Gunners keep hopes alive

Per Mertesacker congratulates Arsenal team-mate Mesut Ozil for opening the scoring last night. Picture: Getty
Per Mertesacker congratulates Arsenal team-mate Mesut Ozil for opening the scoring last night. Picture: Getty
  • Arsenal: Özil 29, Sanchez 33, 69
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Arsenal kept their Champions League hopes alive with a routine victory over Dinamo Zagreb.

Arsene Wenger’s men had lost three of their opening four Group F fixtures, including defeat in Zagreb, and looked to be on the verge of failing to make the knockout stages of the competition for the first time in 16 seasons. But, knowing they needed Bayern Munich to beat Olympiacos in Germany as well as take care of their own match, the Gunners held up their end of the bargain as Mesut Özil opened the scoring before an Alexis Sanchez double sealed a comfortable 3-0 win.

Bayern obliged by running riot against their Greek opposition, meaning Arsenal will go to Athens on 9 December needing to avenge the 3-2 defeat they suffered at the hands of Olympiacos at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger’s marquee players turned up as Özil showed just why he became the club’s record signing two summers ago, and Sanchez grabbed his first goals since mid-October.

The victory also ensures Arsenal’s continued participation in Europe after Christmas as defeat by Olympiacos, or a draw, would see Wenger’s side drop into the Europa League.

The Gunners went ahead in the 29th minute when Sanchez crossed into the danger area and Özil was on hand to head home past Eduardo for his second Champions League goal of the season. The lead was doubled four minutes afterwards as Nacho Monreal stole possession after a weak pass out of defence by Leonardo Sigali and squared for Sanchez to sweep in the second.

The fit-again Aaron Ramsey replaced Giroud with a little under 25 minutes remaining and Sanchez, who moved forward to take over from Giroud as the frontman, needed little time to tuck home his second after being found by Campbell in the 69th minute.

Dinamo rarely threatened but Petr Cech made a superb reaction save after Laurent Koscielny’s clearance cannoned off Marko Rog. That was the best the visitors could muster.

ARSENAL: Cech, Bellerin (Debuchy 82), Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Cazorla (Chambers 82), Campbell, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud (Ramsey 67). Subs not used: Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Reine-Adelaide.

DINAMO ZAGREB: Eduardo, Ivo Pinto, Sigali, Taravel, Matel, Paulo Machado (Coric 84), Goncalo, Antolic (Henriquez 71), Pjaca, Rog, Fernandes (Soudani 57). Subs not used: Mikulic, Musa, Sovsic, Pavicic.