Champions League Results: Analysis for Arsenal vs Marseille and Other Matches
Tuesday's Champions League action saw six teams hoping to book their qualification for the next stage of the competition, but in the end, only one side managed to do it.
Arsenal were in action at home against Marseille, although Gunners fans may have been forgiven for having one eye on matters in Germany—where Borussia Dortmund were hoping to keep their qualification hopes alive against Napoli.
Elsewhere, Chelsea were hoping to book their place in the last 16 (and gain revenge for an earlier loss in the process) against Basel, while AC Milan and Ajax were also facing pivotal encounters.
For all the details from Tuesday's eight matches, click on.
(GIFs B/R UK's own unless stated. Quotes via UEFA.com, statistics courtesy of WhoScored?)
Arsenal 2-0 Marseille: Jack Wilshere at the Double for Comfortable Gunners
Arsenal need just a point from the final group game away to Napoli—admittedly, no easy task—to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League after they cruised to an expected 2-0 win over Marseille on Tuesday.
Both goals came from Jack Wilshere. The England international produced a fine curling effort to give his side the lead after just 30 seconds before tapping home midway through the second half to effectively clinch the points.
Marseille were already out of the competition and, perhaps as a result, put out an unfamiliar lineup, but came close to making things interesting following the introduction of Florian Thauvin, who perhaps should have scored on at least one occasion.
However, the result could have been even more emphatic had Mesut Ozil converted a penalty awarded for a foul on Aaron Ramsey. Instead, Steve Mandanda made comfortable save.
Nevertheless, Arsenal went on to claim victory—although defeat to Napoli on Matchday 6 could see them end up finishing third in Group F.
On target: 5-2
Pass completion: 90%-81%
Basel 1-0 Chelsea: Blues Progress Despite Second Defeat to Swiss Side
Chelsea are through to the knockout stages of the competition despite losing to Basel for the second time, this time thanks to Mohamed Salah's clever late chip.
Basel, who famously beat the Blues at Stamford Bridge on Matchday 1, thoroughly outclassed their opponents throughout the match—eventually getting their rewards after Salah slipped in behind Branislav Ivanovic before beating Petr Cech.
Nevertheless, Chelsea walked off the pitch to discover that they had qualified for the competition's last 16—Schalke's 0-0 draw with Steaua Bucharest meaning it is impossible for both the German side and Basel to overhaul the Blues' total of 10 points on the final matchday.
On target: 7-0
Pass completion: 81%-76%
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Napoli: German Side Keep Qualification Hopes Alive
Borussia Dortmund kept their qualification hopes firmly alive with an exciting and eventful 3-1 victory over Napoli on Tuesday.
An early penalty from Marco Reus set Dortmund on their way before Jakub slipped a pinpoint shot between Pepe Reina's legs to double the advantage.
A late strike from substitute Lorenzo Insigne briefly created the horrible possibility—for the home fans, at least—of a dramatic equaliser that would send the Italians through to the next round and eliminate Dortmund. But another substitute, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, duly found the net to clinch a crucial win.
The win—overturning Napoli's 2-1 from the side's meeting at San Paolo—creates a number of possible scenarios for Matchday 6, with the two teams and Arsenal vying for two qualification berths. Dortmund and Napoli both sit on nine points, three behind Arsenal.
Afterwards, Jurgen Klopp said:
On target: 12-10
Pass completion: 72%-77%
Ajax 2-1 Barcelona: 10-Man Dutch Side Hold on for Memorable Win
Ajax ended Barcelona's unbeaten start to the season—and in the process kept their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive—as they overcame a second-half sending off to win 2-1.
First-half goals from Thulani Serero and Danny Hoesen gave Ajax a commanding advantage after an enthralling display, but it looked like the momentum was going to shift in the second half after Joel Veltman was sent down for bringing Neymar down inside the box.
Xavi duly converted from the penalty spot, setting up a well-poised final 40 minutes. But Ajax held on to claim the win—meaning they go into a winner-takes-all clash with AC Milan at the San Siro on Matchday 6 for second in the group.
Admittedly, Barcelona did not seem too intent in overturning their deficit, as head coach Gerardo Martino opted to send on three academy graduates, including 17-year-old forward Adama Traore, rather than more established names.
Nevertheless, their players were angry with the result.
On target: 5-2
Pass completion: 72%-88%
Celtic 0-3 AC Milan: Scots Go out of Europe
Celtic went out of Europe at the hands of AC Milan on Tuesday night after they suffered a 3-0 defeat at Parkhead.
Goals from Kaka, Christian Zapata and Mario Balotelli sealed the three points for the Rossoneri—although Ajax's surprise win against Barcelona means Massimiliano Allegri's side will go into Matchday 6 needing at least a draw against the Dutch side in order to progress.
Celtic, meanwhile, perhaps only have themselves to blame for a result that sends them out of Europe entirely. Kaka's first-half opener and Zapata's strike early in the second half were both a result of a breakdown in zonal marking from corners, while Virgil van Dijk missed a gilt-edged chance to equalise just seconds before Zapata's tap-in.
Celtic defender Mikael Lustig said:
On target: 4-3
Pass completion: 84%-75%
Zenit St Petersburg 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Zenit St Petersburg saw their hopes of qualifying for the next round dealt a blow after they failed to beat Atletico Madrid in the day's early kickoff, although it would have been even worse if not for Thibaut Courtois' late clanger.
Atletico, already through to the last 16, looked on course for a somewhat smash-and-grab 1-0 thanks to Adrian's clever second-half finish before Courtois lost his bearings and somehow contrived to let a looping cross that had deflected off defender Toby Alderweireld into his net.
In truth, a draw was probably the least Zenit deserved, as they made the running for much of the contest. But their glaring lack of creativity in the final third looked set to cost them until Courtois' uncharacteristic lapse in concentration.
On target: 4-4
Pass completion: 79%-67%
Porto 1-1 Austria Wien: Portuguese Side Fail to Get Win They Need
Porto failed to take advantage of Zenit's draw in the early kickoff, as they were held at home by Austria Wien to send matters to the final day.
Roman Kienast scored the game's opener—and Wien's first of the group stage—after just 11 minutes, immediately setting Porto on the backfoot. Striker Jackson Martinez then equalised with a close-range header shortly after halftime, but despite pressure, were unable to find a winner.
The result means Porto remain third in the group, one point behind Zenit, and will hope they can beat group winners Atletico Madrid on Matchday 6 as Wien do them a favour against Zenit if they are to progress to the next phase.
On target: 9-1
Pass completion: 83%-62%
Steaua Bucharest 0-0 Schalke: Draw Leaves Germans with Work to Do
In the night's final game, Steaua Bucharest held Schalke to a 0-0 draw.
The result means the Romanian side are out of Europe, while Schalke need to beat Basel at home in the final match of the group stage if they are to qualify for the knockout stages.
On target: 4-3
Pass completion: 83%-80%
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