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Arsenal 2-1 Atletico Madrid
02 August 2009 @ 13:56

Arsenal 2-1 Atletico Madrid: Andrey Arshavin Show Inspires Late Gunners Win
The diminutive Russian, together with Jack Wilshere, were in good form for Arsenal as they overcame Atleti.

Jose Antonio Reyes' return to north London was made to be wretched, as his initial touches on the ball were thwarted by eager teenager Aaron Ramsey, who broke his play while the home side made vocal their displeasure to see the Spaniard, a former Gunner, on N5 turf. The 25-year-old, though, marked his intent to silence his detractors as he fired a cross into the path of Sergio Aguero, who struck the post in the sixth minute. Moments later, Czech Republic international Tomas Rosicky, who has spent the last 18 months recovering from a complex hamstring twinge, could have gotten the Gunners off to a strong start with a long-range curling effort that rippled the net but was ruled offside.

The attacking-midfielder's initiative from outside the box would no doubt give home supporters much delight, and would counter the past criticisms of Arsenal 'walking the ball into the net'. Reyes was again focal to Atletico's attack, and if he was not aiming to set up former Liverpool fringe player Florent Sinama-Pongolle, then he was instead looking to zip a shot goal-ward. Both events occured within a minute of the other as Atleti looked to capitalise on their possession.

The two teams returned to the dressing-room without a goal for their efforts, however, the second half - and the introduction of burgeoning English teen Jack Wilshere - sparked a new lease of life into the game as the prodigy, likened to Liam Brady, linked well with creative Dutchman Robin van Persie, Bacary Sagna, and then, two minutes later, with Nicklas Bendtner, who fired disappointingly high of the target.

Just after the hour mark and Wilshere is once again central to Arsenal's build-up play as he picks up highly-rated Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey, but the fully-capped international failed to find a flaw in Sergio Asenjo's guarding of Los Colchoneros' goal.

The game's goals all arrived toward's the fixture's conclusion, as Andrey Arshavin broke the deadlock in the 86th minute when the Russian used a well weighted Cesc Fabregas cross to his advantage. Unfortunately for Arsenal and for the former Zenit St Petersburg ace, Atleti found an instant retort to the Gunners' converted effort, as Pacheco fooled the home team's rearguard and slotted the ball home in the bottom corner.

Not to be beaten or outdone, Arshavin made a mockery of the Spanish camp's defence and finished from a seemingly impossibly acute angle, like he has done for Arsenal, and for Zenit, in the past.  Despite the loss, Atletico were still awarded a point for their goal, while Arsenal collected five (three for the win and two for Arshavin's deuce) and stormed to the top of the table.


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