Late goals from the Gunners’ pair rescued a draw, as Arsenal, like Barcelona were heading for an unexpected fall from grace against CSKA Moscow.
Arsenal were on the verge of another crisis as CSKA Moscow threatened a premature end to the Gunners’ Europa League campaign with a brilliant showing in the second-leg quarter-final clash. The Russians scored two goals in either half to put the tie in contention until Welbeck and Ramsey scored to send Arsenal through to the semis.
Arsenal’s rough start to the first half was punished by CSKA Moscow with a goal at the end of the first half, as well as scoring early in the second. It looked all familiar with recent Champions League games in mind, and there was a feeling Arsenal were heading for an inevitable defeat and fears of them crashing out of the competition were growing.
Arsenal failed to register even a single shot on target in the first and got their first significant chance only late in the second. CSKA had a few opportunities to score the third goal, but Arsenal held on to their nerves to prevent the Russians further chances. In turn, Welbeck and Ramsey scored late goals to secure their passage into the semis of the tournament.
Arsenal player ratings:
Petr Cech: 5/10
A decent display from the veteran keeper. The two CSKA goals were a result of him palming away stinging shots on to the paths of the onrushing players, but made some crucial saves to deny the Russians further goals.
Hector Bellerin: 6/10
Cut a solitary figure on the right-hand side while attacking, as he was deprived of any support from Welbeck. Did make some crucial runs forward but was at times beaten defensively. The cross that eventually was key to the first goal came from his side, and he should do better to prevent such chances.
Shkodran Mustafi: 6/10
Mustafi was found wanting in yet another game. While his strike partner Koscielny had a better game, the German at times loses control of proceedings and ends up making a costly error of judgement. The first goal was a result of him allowing space to the attacker to tap into the net. But he defended well to prevent the Russians from scoring more.
Laurent Koscielny: 6.5/10
A better performer than his central defensive partner. Made some crucial interventions, but was at times beaten for pace by Musa. Did well to marshall the defence from conceding further goals as Arsenal protected their advantage.
Nacho Monreal: 6/10
A rather quiet performance from the experienced Spaniard. Showed some defensive awareness down the left but should have done more to support the team in attack.
Mohamed Elneny: 8/10
Arsenal’s star performer on the night when most faded away. Elneny was an energetic presence in central midfield and often slotted in defence to prevent CSKA attacks. In the end, he turned provider with both assists for Arsenal’s goals, and both those passes were inch perfect to unlock the Russians’ defence.
Aaron Ramsey: 7/10
Ramsey continued his scoring form from the last tie. His goal brought a collective sigh of relief to everyone associated with Arsenal, and he took the goal very well. In midfield he showed his presence too, and made some crucial attacking moves from his position, often getting in spaces and into scoring positions.
Jack Wilshere: 5/10
There is a stark difference between the current Jack Wilshere and the one that was on form early in the year. His passing was awful, and so were his attempted dribbles which were sniffed out by CSKA defenders. A heavy knock might have further restricted his performances in the second half but was overall weak. Replaced by Chambers in the second half.
Mesut Ozil: 6/10
Ozil was not as influential as he was in the first leg. Often struggled to make things happen, while his deliveries from corners and free-kicks left a lot to be desired. Should be relieved with the way the result turned out.
Danny Welbeck: 8/10
Arsenal’s other top performer apart from Elneny. Welbeck started the game on the right but was often seen drifting to central positions. His quick runs caused CSKA all sorts of problems and in the end created a moment of brilliance to score Arsenal’s key away goal.
Alexandre Lacazette: 5/10
Alexandre Lacazette cut a lone figure against CSKA. Neither did he make an effort to take the game to the CSKA defenders, nor did he receive much support from his fellow team-mates. With Welbeck operating as another centre-forward as well as a wide forward in the game, Lacazette saw very less of the ball. Subbed off to be replaced by Iwobi.
Calum Chambers: 6/10
Brought in place of the ineffective Wilshere to make Arsenal defensively stronger as they were already two goals down at that stage. Chambers slotted in well and made decent contribution to help Arsenal protect their then slender, one goal advantage.
Alex Iwobi: 6/10
Came in place of Lacazette, and readily slotted into Arsenal’s attack, as the Gunners were looking for that one goal which will seal the tie for them. Could have scored himself after Ozil created a good chance, but shot wide.