Olivier Giroud’s spectacular goal saved the night for Arsenal as the Gunners have maintained the perfect start of their Europa League campaign in Belgrade. It was more of a scrappy game against Crvena Zvezda, also known as Red Star Belgrade but Wenger’s boys managed to get the vital goal to come home with all three points.
Arsene Wenger named a very similar squad that took part in the trip at Borisov, but a significant change was Mathieu Debuchy’s return as the forgotten Frenchman started the game as a part of the three men center back. Also Giroud, Walcott and Wilshere all returned in the starting line up as Arsenal were up against a daunting side.
That golazo moment
Crvena Zvezda fielded a strong squad and came close in the first half when Chelsea target Richmond Boakye hit the bar from his header. Wilshere was instrumental in Arsenal attacks and the England midfielder slowly is coming back to his old touch. Cech made a superb save also to deny Rodic.
After the break, Arsenal started brightly but couldn’t find the goal. Nelson, Wilshere all were bursting through midfield but couldn’t provide the final pass. The scenario changed ten minutes from time when Milan Rodic fouled Coquelin and received his second yellow. The Gunners got the advantage and goal came five minutes later a mesmerizing bit of exchange play between Walcott and Wilshere led the ball to Olivier Giroud, who managed to hit the ball with his left foot being his back to the goal and leaning down. Arsenal held the final minutes and now have continued their merry way in the Europa League.
Giroud scored his 2nd goal in Europa League
Red Star: Borjan; Stojkovic, Savic (Babic), Le Tallec, Rodic; Srnic (Gobeljic), Kanga, Radonjic, Krsticic, Donald; Boakye (Pesic)
Arsenal: Cech; Debuchy, Elneny, Holding; Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Willock (Mcguane), Coquelin (Sheaf); Wilshere, Walcott; Giroud
The win takes Arsenal top of Group H with 9 points after three games. The Serbian side are on 4 points. BATE Borisov also won against Koln in the other group match hence they are also on 4 points while Koln are without a point after half way.
The key point of the match was the red card of Milan Rodic. Red Star looked pretty comfortable in the game throughout and with eleven players on the pitch, the result could have been different.
Arsenal were not at their best at all and their make shift defense was exposed more than once and Cech had to come in rescue. Debuchy made a comeback and he will be eyeing to stay fit and resurrect his career at North London.