Belfast Telegraph

Arsene Wenger rues Arsenal missing out on group's top spot

Galatasaray 1 - Arsenal 4

By Jim van Wijk

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted it was frustrating to finish group runners-up to Borussia Dortmund after last night’s crushing victory away to Galatasaray.

The Gunners and the German side both have 13 points, are level on the head to head - each side won 2-0 at home - but the latter have the better goal difference.

Aaron Ramsey and Lukas Podolski both scored two goals for Arsenal in last night's Group D triumph in Istanbul.

"There's a little bit of frustration that we have finished runners-up, but we knew at half time we needed to score six goals without conceding," said Wenger.

"We came out strong and that's what I wanted from these players.

"We won four games, lost one and had one draw. Looking back, we can maybe regret that point (in a 3-3 draw) at home to Anderlecht.

"There's some great teams in the draw for the last 16 (on Monday when Arsenal will face a group winner) and we need to wait and see who we get."

Ramsey's second goal was particularly spectacular and Wenger said: "When he took the shot I thought that was maybe not the best idea, but the way he took it, it flew in.

"The goals he is scoring is linked to his performances at the moment and that certainly helps his confidence to score goals like that."

Ramsey was pleased to see Arsenal take full advantage of an immediate opportunity to remedy last weekend's 3-2 defeat to Stoke ahead of Saturday's clash at home to Newcastle.

"Obviously we came here wanting to win the game so we're happy that we won," said Ramsey.

"We finished off on a high in the group stages and now we're looking forward to seeing who we're up against in the next round.

"We looked dangerous every time we went forward, which was pleasing, and we scored a few goals which is always nice.

"So we took full advantage of the opportunity. It was nice to get the four goals that we scored."

Podolski fired Arsenal ahead inside three minutes before Ramsey opened his account with a drive into the top corner.

Ramsey's second goal was special - the 23-year-old arrowed an unstoppable shot into the Galatasaray net from 30 yards out.

Describing his strike, the Welshman added: "The ball came to the edge of the box and I thought, 'why not have a go?' So I had a go and it went in."

Wesley Sneijder did force the Turkish side onto the scoresheet with a late free-kick but Podolski completed his brace with the last kick of the game.

Dortmund were held to a 1-1 draw by Anderlecht, meaning a 6-0 victory would have seen the Gunners secure first place.

 

Galatasaray: Bolat, Camdal (Altintop 45), Kaya, Balta, Telles, Na Bangna (Adin 77), Felipe Melo, Colak, Sneijder, Yilmaz (Oztekin 45), Bulut.

Goal: Sneijder 88

Arsenal: Szczesny, Debuchy (O'Connor 77), Chambers, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Ramsey (Maitland-Niles 45), Flamini (Zelalem 45), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Campbell, Sanogo, Podolski.

Goals: Podolski 3, Ramsey 11, 29

Man of the match: Ramsey

Rating: 8/10

Referee: David Borbalán (Spain)

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