Champions League: Arsenal 2 — Borussia Dortmund 1
Another Thanksgiving break day was greeted by more glorious Champions League action. I was able to watch two games at once — Arsenal/Dortmund and Barcelona/AC Milan.
First on to Arsenal.
Dortmund came to North London needing points against the Gunners, but were denied. It didn’t help two of Dortmund’s key players were injured in the first half.
Sven Bender tried to tackle Thomas Vermaelen AKA the Verminator and ended up breaking his jaw while fouling the Belgian.
Secondly 19-year old German wunderkind Mario Gotze, an Arsenal target in January, injured his knee and went off in the 29th minute.
I was looking forward to watch Gotze, who is considered one of the best young players in the world and was magnificent when Arsenal drew 1-1 in September in Dortmund.
The first half went by without many real chances on goal for either team, but that quickly changed in the second half. With former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry and Roger Federer watching in the stands, Arsenal took control in the second half.
It was Robin van Persie time. The best striker in the Premier League at the moment added not one, but two more goals to his impressive year so far.
Midfielder Alex Song made an unbelievable run and dribbled between three defenders before he crossed the ball for van Persie to head in for a goal in the 49th minute.
The Flying Dutchmen scored his second of a Mikel Arteta corner in the 86th minute.
This definitely begs the question… with the year Robin van Persie is having (31 goals in 29 games. More goals than Lionel Messi in 2011 so far. 13 goals/3 assists in 12 league apps this season.) how is he not up for the Ballon d’Or award (European Footballer of the Year)???
The key result was that Arsenal wrapped up a spot in the round of 16 for Champions League play with another game to spare.
They play Olympiakos in their last game and are expected to rest many players and give younger players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain among others.
Also today was a showdown between two powers — Barcelona and AC Milan. Barcelona the reigning Champions League victors traveled to the San Siro in Milan, Italy for the match.
It was a bit of a grudge match for former Barcelona striker and knucklehead, Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is now on AC Milan.
Anyone who isn’t a fan of soccer should watch the replay of this game. Barcelona is currently the best team in the world and one of the best teams ever and the beauty and ease which with they play with is something even a casual fan should watch.
At the end of the day, Barca proved their dominance by beating Milan 3-2. They scored on an own goal by Milan’s Mark van Bommel and then Lionel Messi converted a penalty kick. Xavi added a third goal.
Here are the match highlights.
Arsenal seems to be the only English club succeeding in Champions League. Chelsea took on Bayer Leverkusen and lost 2-1.
Chelsea must now beat or shut-out Valencia on Dec. 6 at home to guarantee they advance on to the next stage of play.
First year boss Andre Villas-Boas was under all sorts of scrutiny after the game. Chelsea’s defending has been awful and the team is full of old players such as John Terry, Didier Drogba, and Frank Lampard among others.
I believe Villas-Boas should be given more time on the job, Chelsea needs to be injected with younger players like they were when they stole Juan Mata from under Arsenal’s noses this summer.
Anywho, another great day of football, time for Black Wednesday.