Arsenal 3-0 Dinamo Zagreb
Alexis Sánchez scored twice to earn Arsenal the points and set up a dramatic showdown with Olympiacos while eliminating Dinamo.
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- Mesut Özil heads in the opening goal on 29 minutes
- Alexis Sánchez scores in each half
- Olympiacos loss to Bayern keeps Arsenal in with a chance of qualifying
- Dinamo out of Europe altogether
- Final Group F games: Olympiacos v Arsenal, Dinamo v Bayern München (9 December)
Arsenal made sure they will have everything to play for on 9 December in Greece after a convincing 3-0 victory against Dinamo Zagreb kept their hopes alive in UEFA Champions League Group F.
The Gunners are within three points of Olympiacos after the Greek champions' defeat by Bayern München, leaving the Gunners needing a win by 3-2 or better in Piraeus next month to reach the knockout phase for a 16th straight season.
Arsenal were far from fluent in the opening half-hour, however. Marko Rog looked a threat up front for Dinamo while Paulo Machado and Gonçalo Santos kept the hosts quiet in midfield. The sight of Aaron Ramsey warming up on the touchline was perhaps an early indication that Arsène Wenger was not happy with the way things were going.
Suddenly, though, a lethargic Gunners performance sparked to life with two quick goals. The first on 29 minutes was a sweeping move on the break which culminated in Alexis Sánchez crossing from the left to the far post where Özil stooped to head his side in front. Four minutes later Sánchez added the second, touching in Nacho Monreal's centre after the Spaniard had won the ball back on the edge of the area.
Dinamo heads dropped and Arsenal might have had more before the interval, Eduardo twice saving well from Özil as half-time approached. After the restart the pressure continued. Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud forced Eduardo into back-to-back stops before Sánchez put the icing on the cake on 69 minutes, rounding the keeper and shooting high into the net after a clever pass from Joel Campbell had sent him clear.
Key player: Alexis Sánchez
Much has been said about Sánchez's workload, but the Chilean never seems to tire. Once more he supplied the spark when Arsenal needed it most, dashing forward down the left and crossing for Özil to make the breakthrough, then adding two of his own.
Credit to Arsenal – they dug themselves a hole by losing their opening two games in Group F but have now given themselves the chance to climb right out of it. Few expected them to defeat Bayern on matchday three; that result is looking more impressive than ever.
All or nothing
As the game wound down Arsenal could have embellished their victory, and on the basis of this display they will travel to Greece expecting to get the win they require to advance. Consistency has been their biggest problem so far in the section – can they maintain this level of performance?