The Gunners were lethal and unstoppable in Istanbul. It was a victory that should inject a lot of confidence to both the team and individuals like Aaron Ramsey and Lukas Podolski. Beating Galatasaray away is never easy but we did it with a combined team. Some of our young guns got their chance to taste Champions’ League football and did well. Superb.
Here are the ratings from the game:
Wojciech Szczesny | 6.75: Most of the hosts’ attempt went over the bar or our defence blocked them but Wesley Sneijder’s rocket was unstoppable for any goalkeeper in the world.
Mathieu Debuchy | 7.0: It’s really, really good to have him back. He added quality down the right flank but it was obvious he is still not ready for ninety minutes of football.
Per Mertesacker | 7.5: gave away a free-kick from which we conceded but aside from that, Mertesacker led our defence in the right manner.
Calum Chambers | 7.25: Did well in the center of our defence. A rest against Newcastle might suit him well though as he has been overplayed due to our injury problems.
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Hector Bellerin | 7.25: Gave an excellent performance down the left flank and, just like most of our team, was better in the first half.
Mathieu Flamini | 6.75: When you are the most aggressive player in the team and pick an early booking, it forces you to pull on a handbrake in order to avoid a dismissal. The Frenchman managed to avoid the second yellow card which would exclude him from the first leg of the Knockout Stage.
Aaron Ramsey | 10.0 (MOTM): Brilliant first half from the Welshman – a pass for Podolski’s opener, a calm finish to conclude the great run to double our lead and absolutely brilliant volley, the one Aaron himself has already named as his best goal in the career. He also managed to do some defensive work. Perhaps that goal against The Orcs did wonders for his self-confidence. Funny trivia: it was Ramsey’s second brace against Turkish clubs and the Welshman has scored three goals in Istanbul in the space of 16 months.
Joel Campbell | 7.25: Was dangerous down the right flank before he got tired and sloppy. It was clearly visible in a couple of situations that he is yet to find an understanding with Oxlade-Chamberlain. Had a great chance to score his first goal for Arsenal but his shot was saved by Bulat.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 8.25: The Ox was in charge of the game for the largest part. He was very effective down the middle, constantly creating space and looking for his team-mates with his passes. Declined in the second half though and held up the ball for too long instead of picking Campbell, Sanogo or Podolski.
Lukas Podolski | 8.5: It was a massive performance from Lukas. His opener was brilliant and everything that we like about him. Usually people say that someone’s attempt was denied by the post or the crossbar but Podolski’s shot that hit the bar was an attempt to deny the crossbar’s right to exist. After being rather quiet for the biggest part of the second half, the German made a great one-two with Yaya Sanogo before slotting the ball home with his right foot. If his left foot was attached to Danny Welbeck, the Englishman would…er…have three feet but would also be the best striker in the world.
Yaya Sanogo | 7.0: He did a lot of hard-work and opened space for the rest of our attacking department. Was denied with a fine block in the first half. Picked an assist for Podolski’s goal after a lovely one-two with the German.
Gedion Zelalem | 6.5: Had a fine experience. 45 minutes of winning a Champions’ League match should do great for his confidence.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles | 6.5: Pretty much like Zelalem, Maitland-Niles’ biggest gain from this match will be 45 minutes of participation in a victorious team performance. Had an interesting defensive reaction when he flew through the air in a karate manner to pick the ball that Mertesacker would have collected anyway.
Stefan O’Connor | 6.0: Got a chance for a cameo. Galatasaray were knocking on our door even before he went on so the fact we conceded after he replaced Debuchy shouldn’t endanger his confidence.