Arsenal managed to keep their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages alive after a 2-1 comeback victory over Belgian club Anderlecht. The Premier League outfit were trailing 1-0 going into the final 10 minutes of the match. Anderlecht were not given much hope of beating Arsenal prior to the match, but a goal from Najar in the 71st minute change the whole complexion of the match. Suddenly, the underdogs were given something to hold on and it looked like they would get a highly unlikely victory, which would also boost their chances of reaching the next stage.
Arsene Wenger’s team had suffered defeats in the away match against Borussia Dortmund. The 4-1 win over Galatasaray in the previous round gave them hope of maintaining their distance away from the third placed team. Arsenal were indeed coming into the match on a poor run of form that had seen them drop four points in the league from the last two matches. Despite this, they showed incredible resilience in the final 10 minutes to get all three points. Defender Kieran Gibbs provided the unlikely equaliser just a minute before injury time, while forgotten man Lukas Podolski came up with the winner a few minutes later.
After the match, Wenger admitted that using six attacking players in the closing stages was a gamble that one that paid off. “I know by experience that the nerves play a part in the last five minutes in the Champions League. And that we had to get into those five minutes without conceding the second goal. If they had scored the second goal, it was game over. I had hope. It didn’t look likely but it happened. We took all the risks and, in the end, it paid off. It’s a little bit of a gambling situation that happens in this kind of game and it worked tonight,” said Wenger.