Arsenal could not have asked for a better start in Turkey.
With a second string side out, including some players like Bellerin in unfamiliar positions and some like Podolski and Campbell with hardly any minutes on the pitch, fierce home crowd and a Galatasaray team playing for pride and a new manager, it could have been a tough night for us.
But once Podolski has put Arsenal into an early lead in the first couple of minutes, latching on to a great ball from the excellent Chamberlain and smashing it into the top corner, the Gunners took complete control. The second goal was not long in coming and was very similat to the first, with the Oz playing Ramsey in on the left, but the Welshman’s finish was placed inside the far post.
We really could have had more than three goals in the first half, with Campbell bringing a sharp save and Podolski hitting the bar and plenty of chances, Ramsey’s second was worth more than one. It was an unbelievable strike with his left foot from long range.We will be watching that for a long time and he may never hit a football more sweetly and the Gunners were in dreamland at the break.
Unlikely as it seemed at kick-off, the 6-0 win that would have made us top the group with a Dortmund draw was on. But Wenger decided to give young Maitland-Niles and Zelalem 45 minutes to replace Ramsey and Flamini in the centre. That was probably always the plan and with Ramsey apparently feeling a twinge and Flamini having been booked, it was the sensible thing to do.
Inevitably the second half did not live up to the first and Dortmund took the lead anyway, so Arsenal had played it perfectly. We had to a lot more defending after the break but after some recent disasters, it was good to see the Gunners much more solid and committed. Unfortunately we could not keep a clean sheet as Sneijder scored a top class free kick with a few minutes on the clock. Buy a last second goal from Podolski left us on a high with the same 4-1 we won by in London.
Debuchy could only last 75 minutes so young Stefan O’Connor got a memorable debut and the Frenchman;s return to fitness is a massive boost. Now we just need to do some damage in the Premier League and hope for a favourable draw in Europe for a change. Hey, you never know…