Dynamo Kiev 1 Arsenal 1 - Arsenal pay the penalty with a point

Last updated : 17 September 2008 By Brian Dawes

My apologies to any Irish readers but in an earlier qualifying round for example Drogheda United, apparently from Dublin, seeming came quite close to preventing Dynamo Kyiv (pick your own spelling - I can't decide) going through to the third qualifying stage. Drogheda eventually succumbed to Kyiv 3-4 and although the result was in all probability never in doubt it shows that everyone is beatable in Champions League Football.

The draw could have been much worse for Arsenal in my opinion, we could have got an away tie in Kyiv in the middle of winter for example. We could have had even more players injured than we have now. More importantly we could have suffered a much tougher match at Blackburn as a prelude. But with Nasri and Silvestre still ruled out our line-up was pretty well unchanged with Song in for Eboue:

Which meant as usual we fielded a rather young bench that comprised Wilshere 16, Ramsey 17, Vela 19, Bendtner 20, Bendtner 20, Djourou 22, Fabianski 23 and Ol' man river Eboue 27.

The stadium was small, tight and close to the pitch with insufficient travelling Gooners to make themselves heard, about 300 were there I believe. Kiev fans were quite noisy but a tad chant happy. Arsenal wore their new away kit with long sleeves and new lower case lettering for the names - if you saw Real the other night the new style lettering was like that. The new lettering didn't inspire them before the break which was probably fairly even possession wise with both clubs having little spells but Arsenal definitely created the better clear-cut chances.

We played a 4-5-1 with Van Persie on the left but it was flexible enough for both our wide men to come inside once our full backs finally pushed forward. Song was largely left to work the holding role but this formation hasn't seen sufficient light of day this season for us to look totally at ease with it. Although we appeared to have superior players we couldn't make it tell before half time despite creating some really good chances. What chances Kiev had were from range and mostly these were of a hit and hope nature. Both teams had spells of pressure but in the main we did just a tad more than the home team whose front man was seriously isolated.

Our first chance was a decent right-footed shot from Robin that was saved from a fairly tight angle. Next up a bad miss by Adebayor who created the chance himself when latching onto a defensive error but once he'd worked his way through he tried to bend it top corner but hit it off target. From one of the replay angles from behind the goal it looked a very clear cut scoring opportunity and one we might regret missing albeit only quarter of an hour in.

There was not a great deal going on. Robin did his best to get booked due to a tussle. While one of their players took a very obvious dive in the box which the Spanish ref studiously ignored. Essentially for most of the half we couldn't quite figure out how to find the space down their flanks and going down the middle wasn't really on because central midfield was a very crowded area.

Our next came when a fine one-two involving Theo and Bacary set up Robin, but his right footed shot, although hit crisply, could only find the side netting. Our fourth decent chance of the half came when Adebayor on the right crossed for Van Persie on the left who set up the more centrally placed Cesc who couldn't get his left foot strike away effectively enough.

It has to be said that Sky's Alan Parry really got on my tits as he usually does but what annoyed me even more about the coverage was the piss-poor camera work and picture editing. All too often we got a bloody close-up of nothing in particular while there was live action to be missed at the same time. Arty-farty it might have been but when I'm watching a live game I want to know what the feck is going on. I don't want close ups when I need the broader view of who is where and why. God help us if Ukraine get a major tournament and we rely on their picture feed. Also very irritating where the team line-ups being give out for about four minutes into each half over the tannoy. Sort it out Ukraine!

An early warning was given to Arsenal in the second half when we really rode our luck with an angled shot that came off the near post. Fortunately it ended up in Almunia's arms, Theo was down at the time as he often was thanks to a ton of treatment dished out to him without the Spanish ref Cantelejo (if I have the spelling right) doing insufficient about it.

We had a decent cross in for Ade headed wide at the near post. Theo set up Robin who had a thrash from a rather narrow angle with Ade possibly on square in the box square, a broader TV camera angle and I'd have known. A good Van Persie cross was punched clear off Ade's head. While Bangoura continued his lone striker, shoot on site policy at the other end. Finally someone got carded for yet another axing of Walcott, it was their captain Nesmchny. Fab had a shot well blocked as yet another pointless close up on Wenger showed him wearing a padded jacket over his suit this half, so it must have got colder. We were on top at this stage but not by a lot, but we had started to work up some slicker passing and faster moves.

A major turning point in the game came as Gallas, our weakest defender on the night, badly misjudged a bouncing ball which let Dynamo get at us. Leading on from this error a cross came over which saw their main man heave Sagna down on top of him as if shot. Essentially Sagna was behind him, the players arm was hooked round Sagna's back on the blind side of the lino, he threw himself to the ground whilst twisting in the dramatic dive pose and the ref bought it hook, line and sinker. The dumb ref, who should surely be used to conmen in Spain, gave a penalty. No fecking way was it a pen however good the acting might have been. A later dive by Bangoura earned a yellow but this one was even more deserving of a card.

Their penalty taken by Bangoura was cool, calm and collected with Almunia guessing the wrong way. 1-0 and their confidence grew. We looked, unsure and lacking composure in a spell where we were second best. Bendtner replaced Song. We went to 4-3-3, or 4-3-2-1 or 4-3-1-2. I couldn't tell and I'm not sure the team could either. Eboue came on to replace the still disgruntled Sagna who was seriously pissed off with the penalty awarded against him. Theo was hacked again and showed what he thought by getting up close and personal, the ref took the hint and found his card again. A Denilson shot was deflected. Vela on for Van Persie. Free kicks and corners galore as we huffed and puffed to no avail. Another miss-kick by Gallas at the back. Almunia saves.

Then on 88 minutes Adebayor played it out to Theo who hit a low, slightly angled cross to the far post where someone had a touch before Gallas steered it in from all of a yard. 1-1 and now we were looking for the winner that didn't come because despite two goals, loads of substitutions, some injuries and a few cards we played hardly any added time.

Steam was still coming out of Wenger's ears when he had more than a word or two with the ref at the end of the game. This despite Pat Rice's best attempts to hold Arsene back. The subject matter discussed obviously included the lack of added time but you suspect the subject of the non-penalty just might have come up in conversation. Gallas had used our get out of jail free card but I blame him putting us there in the first place.