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Arsenal take second despite win

Arsenal hammered an abject Galatasaray side but could not claim top spot in Group D as Borussia Dortmund avoided defeat in their final group game.

The Gunners – criticised for defeat at Stoke on Saturday – responded with three goals inside 30 minutes, Lukas Podolski powering an opener.

Aaron Ramsey slotted a second and added a stunning left-footed 35-yard volley.

Wesley Sneijder hit a free-kick consolation before Podolski rolled a second with the final kick of the game.

It was fitting that Podolski, impressive throughout, ended the night by netting his third goal of the season with a powerful run but light finish.

He has only started six times in Arsenal's faltering league campaign but led from the front as Wenger's side delivered the response he asked for after defeat against the Potters.

Criticism of the Frenchman and his side has at times been stinging this season and though their hosts registered 32 attempts on goal at the Turk Telekom Arena, Arsenal's dominance was visible.

Who can Arsenal draw in the last-16 on Monday?

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Arsenal – sixth in the Premier League – eased off after the interval and counted on captain Per Mertesacker to produce a superb goal-line block to deny Umut Bulut from four yards.

The German defender, captain on the night, completed 96% of his passes, a figure only bettered by Mathieu Flamini who completed all of his passes before being withdrawn at half-time as Wenger kept half an eye on the visit of Newcastle on Saturday.

Indeed, Wenger had introduced three debutants in Stefan O'Connor, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Gedion Zelalem by the time Wesley Sneijder whipped in a powerful free-kick from 18 yards with a minute remaining.

The effort flew past Wojciech Szczesny – who handled efforts well on his return from a four-game absence – but Podolski ended proceedings with a flourish, passing the ball into the net from 10 yards.

Arsenal's bench, with an average age of 18, perhaps underlined that Wenger believed Dortmund would not falter in their final group game against Anderlecht and the Germans duly played out a 1-1 draw which sees them sit top.

They will perhaps look at Monday's draw with an air of trepidation having been handed ties with Bayern Munich at the last-16 stage for finishing second in their group in each of the last two seasons.

Wenger may also now further rue what proved to be a decisive loss of a three-goal lead to Anderlecht earlier in the group stage but he can at least be pleased with an emphatic response to harsh criticism.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "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.

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

"There's some great teams in the draw for the last 16 and we need to wait and see who we get."

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.