We did it the Arsenal way but we’re through to the Champions League final 16 once again.
Just like at the Emirates, Ludogorets were well-structured and confident in the opening exchanges. They had a couple of decent surges forward with Carl Jenkinson being forced to concede the first corner of the game to prevent a dangerous cross and Kieran Gibbs also having to intercept a ball across the park to a player in acres of space.
Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey were both involved in the opening minutes, obviously both keen to stretch their legs after being injured for weeks. Rambo even tried a cheeky overhead kick.
Ludogorets were the first team to go ahead after a freekick found Cafu in the 12th minute. No one came to defend the ball, which was easily finished by the forward who continued to give us hell all evening.
Kieran Gibbs was then caught out a minute later for Ludogorets to go 2-0 up via Giroud’s former teammate, Keseru.
With the momentum firmly with the hosts, Arsenal found it almost impossible to cope.
In the 20th minute, thank goodness, the ball fell to Granit Xhaka’s feet in the box thanks to a tidy Mesut Ozil assist and the midfielder, who’s just returned from a three-match ban, struck it home.
Although Arsenal continued to dominate possession, Ludogorets still looked more dangerous when they got forward, with David Ospina failing to come and collect numerous corners and crosses that came his way.
Despite our vulnerability at the back, you couldn’t fault Alexis who, as ever, didn’t stop putting through passes and having a go while Giroud found it hard to get in the game.
No sooner had I typed the last sentence than the big striker himself headed home Arsenal’s equalising goal thanks to a peach of a cross from Ramsey.
The second half was a lot less frenetic than the first with both teams getting forward but scuppering their chances.
Arsenal still looked vulnerable at the back and despite having Alexis constantly trying to push us forward, the hosts looked as if they could score on the break any minute.
Our Chilean also continued to get more and more frustrated the less protection he got from the referee. He was getting kicked all over the pitch.
Ludogorets almost caught us on the break once again and Ospina actually made a save. Not before allowing the ball to roll out of his hands though. Second later, he made a one-on-one save against Wanderson, which was nice.
In the 75th minute, a tired looking Ramsey was taken off for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain followed by Elneny for Xhaka who was on a yellow.
It was finally our man Ozil with a stunning individual goal to see Arsenal through to the final 16.
— Arsenal (@AFCvideosHD) November 1, 2016
Need I say more?
It wasn’t pretty but it did the job and we’re through to the final 16 with two games to spare.