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By Chris Bevan
2222: Bring on the draw for the last 16 then. Who do you fancy? And, no, you can't all play FC Copenhagen. The (Euro) road to Wembley will continue in February, with three London clubs still with a chance of reaching an Champions League final in their own city. Fortunately, I only have to wait until the weekend to see you all again. I'll bring the goals, you bring the banter... should be fun, no?
ARSENAL 3-1 PARTIZAN BELGRADE Phil McNulty
reports: "Arsenal can be satisfied with the result - if not the performance. They have a proud record in reaching the Champions League knockout stage and have done so again, but they will need to show more than this against better opposition."
MARSEILLE 1-0 CHELSEA Sam Lyon
reports: "Yes, Chelsea should have had two penalties, but this was a deserved win for Marseille against a side bereft of confidence and ideas. Much work for Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti to do with Tottenham, Man Utd and Arsenal coming up, then "
2215: Just time to tell you about Group F before I wrap up. Crowd trouble in Zilina led to their game with Spartak Moscow being delayed, with Spartak eventually coming from a goal down to win, but it made no difference to the outcome of the group. We already knew the Russian side would end up third, and in the Europa League, anyway. Chelsea finish top and Marseille are second... here's a quick reminder of what happened in their game, and at the Emirates.
2211: A lot of you are asking the same question: namely, when's the draw for the last 16? The answer is Friday 17 December in Nyon. The anticipation is killing me already.
From lee fett on 606:
"The most worrying thing for Chelsea is that they can't even grind out results at the moment. Teams that go on to win things still find a way to pick up a point or three even when they're not at their best."
2205: Chelsea play Tottenham on Sunday actually. At White Hart Lane. Just what they need - a nice easy game for them to find some form...
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti on his side's 1-0 defeat by Marseille: "This was not 100% the performance I wanted. The first half was good for us, defensively we were good but overall, we can do better. Defensively there was tactical discipline, but in attack we have to do better - we didn't have many chances and we needed to be better with our final pass and our shooting. We have to improve, obviously, especially with Tottenham, Man Utd and Arsenal coming up. Really, we have lost confidence."
2201: And that concludes the group stage of the 2010/11 Champions League. Dull AND predictable, wasn't it?
2200: FULL-TIME MSK Zilina 1-2 Spartak Moscow
2156: Real Madrid, who were already confirmed as the winners of Group G before kick-off, gave Jose Mourinho something to smile about in the stands with a crushing 4-0 win over Auxerre, inspired by hat-trick hero Karim Benzema. Ajax, who clinched an impressive win over second-placed AC Milan at the San Siro, finished third and go into the Europa League.
From Danny in Colchester, via text: "Re 2148. Robin van Persie is right, if Arsenal wanna win it, they gotta beat the best. Why not do it early doors?"
2153: So, all four English clubs are now safely into the last 16. Arsenal huffed and puffed but came good in the end, but Chelsea continue to look out of sorts - their 100% record in Europe this season bit the dust tonight. Let's not forget they should have had a penalty (or two) against Marseille but they still cannot rediscover their early season fluency.
hfaridany on Twitter:
"Re 2142. Have you forgotten about the double last year? Why do people speak crazy talk?!"
2148: Hmmm, I'm not sure too many Gunners fans will agree with this. Asked about who he'd like in the next round, Arsenal striker Robin van Persie said: "As a football fan, Barcelona or Real Madrid... but we will have to wait and see."
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"14 - Arsenal have now scored more goals (14) in three home group stage games than any other team in Champions League history. Emirates."
2147: RED CARD Spartak Moscow's Barreto Ibson (violent conduct)
From anon, via text: "I wonder if Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has his stuff packed already? This seems to be Scolari all over again."
Tiirshak on Twitter:
" Arsenal may have qualified, but to come second is not good enough for them and I expect bad things from the last 16 draw."
2142: Roma are the other team to clinch their place in the last 16 tonight, with their draw against Cluj enough to seal their progress behind Bayern Munich. Basel have to settle for third.
2141: FULL-TIME FC United of Manchester 0-4 Brighton
2139: In fact, it's full time everywhere but that delayed game in Zilina.
2139: It's all over in Donetsk too, where Shakhtar's 2-0 win over Braga means they finish top of Group H. Arsenal go through to the last 16 as runners-up and Braga are heading for the Europa League.
2138: GOALFLASH FC United of Manchester 0-4 Brighton (Matthew Sparrow)
2136: FULL-TIME Arsenal 3-1 Partizan Belgrade
2135: FULL-TIME Marseille 1-0 Chelsea
From Adam in Woking, via text: "If anyone has seen the real Chelsea, please can they return them to Stamford Bridge, Kings Road. London. Thanks."
2134: GOALFLASH Real Madrid 4-0 Auxerre (Karim Benzema hat-trick)
2134: GOALFLASH FC United of Manchester 0-3 Brighton (Elliott Bennett)
2133: Another dull night in the Champions League is almost at an end.
2132: GOALFLASH CFR Cluj 1-1 Roma (Lacina Traore)
Arsenal red card: Bacary Sagna catches Aleksandar Lazevski on the edge of the box and somehow his challenge is deemed worthy of a red card by referee Paolo Tagliavento. It didn't look like one to me, unless Sagna was adjudged to be the last man. From the resulting free-kick, Radosav Petrovic smashes in a powerful shot that Lukasz Fabianski does well to push away. I don't think Partizan have deserved two goals from tonight's performance, to be honest.
Marseille goal: Chelsea have just taken off John Terry and Jose Bosingwa, who appeared to have a knock. They are also a goal down, after allowing Taye Taiwo to cut in from the left and fire in a cross-shot that takes a deflection off Ramires and falls for Brandao, who cannot miss the gaping goal from six yards out.
Arsenal goal: Right, Gunners fans, you really can relax now. Alex Song combines with Nicklas Bendtner, who has just come on for Marouane Chamakh, before slipping Samir Nasri clear inside the box. Nasri turns to slot home Arsenal's third goal of the night and, finally, they are home and dry.
2120: GOALFLASH Arsenal 3-1 Partizan Belgrade (Nasri)
2119: GOALFLASH Real Madrid 3-0 Auxerre (Karim Benzema)
Arsenal goal: Super sub? You betcha. Marko Jovanovic heads Bacary Sagna's cross straight at Theo Walcott, who chests the ball down on the right of the area before prodding home into the opposite corner. A cool finish, and that should settle the nerves of all those anxious Gunners out there. For now, anyway...
2115: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-1 Partizan Belgrade (Walcott)
2113: More good pressure by Arsenal, but they just cannot make it count. Robin van Persie sees a whipped free-kick from about 25 yards out tipped over and, from the resulting corner, Alex Song curls a left-footed shot wide when Partizan fail to clear. Frustrating scenes for the Arsenal faithful.
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"4 - Arsenal have now conceded exactly 1 goal in each of their 4 matches played against teams from Belgrade in Europe. Destined."
From Bill from Enfield, via text: "Have to say as an avid Arsenal fan, that begrudgingly Tottenham look the more equipped of the English teams in the Champions League. We can't seem to get into any top gear. Chelsea look edgy and Man Utd are fairing ok at best. As much as it pains me, Spurs look like they want it bad, where as us, Chelsea and Utd almost look like they go through motions at times."
2110: Time for a change by Arsene Wenger. Theo Walcott is on for Andrey Arshavin, and he has got about 25 minutes left to try to conjure up a much-needed winner.
2109: GOALFLASH AC Milan 0-2 Ajax (Toby Alderweireld)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates Stadium: "Nervous times for Arsenal after Cleo's goal. Results still in their favour but that vulnerable defence needs to hold firm. The Emirates has been so quiet tonight, perhaps a mixture of cold and complacency, but both Arsenal's team and their supporters must step it up now."
2106: It's still not happening for Arsenal. Partizan keeper Vladimir Stojkovic makes a right old mess of Bacary Sagna's deep cross from the right but is able to quickly recover the ball after dropping it.
2104: Chelsea striker Didier Drogba comes off, to a standing ovation from the Marseille fans. Looks like Carlo Ancelotti is keen for him to have something in the tank for Sunday's visit to Tottenham. On comes Daniel Sturridge.
2102: A spot of bother for Chelsea too - it takes a lunging block by Branislav Ivanovic to keep out Fabrice Abriel's shot inside the area. It's still goalless at the Stade Velodrome though.
Champions League Macca: "Looks like that's the end of Basel's hopes of overtaking Roma as Franck Ribery gets his second goal of the night and Bayern's third. Ribery is then congratulated by a Bayern fan in a remarkably shiny leather jacket. Over in Madrid it looks like Auxerre's hopes of leaping Ajax to make the Europa League are fading as Cristiano Ronaldo produces a stunning finish into the roof of the net. He just can't stop scoring (except against Barcelona). Just to dampen Auxerre hopes still further, Ajax take the lead in the San Siro."
2101 GOALFLASH AC Milan 0-1 Ajax (Demy De Zeeuw)
2057: Things almost got even worse for Arsenal. Cleo ran free again, on the right-hand side of the area, but dragged his shot across the face of goal. As things stand, with Braga being held by Shakhtar, the Gunners will still go through but they probably didn't envisage things being quite as tight as this at the start of play.
Arsenal goal: Ouch. That second goal duly arrives, but for Partizan. They have hardly been in the Arsenal half tonight, but they are level because Cleo's pot-shot from the edge of the box takes a big deflection off Sebastien Squillaci, loops over Lukasz Fabianski and lands in the back of the net.
2054: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-1 Partizan Belgrade (Cleo)
2054: GOALFLASH Real Madrid 2-0 Auxerre (Cristiano Ronaldo)
2052: Arsenal are pressing again, and a second goal does not look far away. Andrey Arshavin finds Denilson with a raking pass, and his cross falls for Samir Nasri... who blasts over. He should have done a lot better from there.
2050: Better by Chelsea. They break through Florent Malouda, who surges forward from the half-way line but shoots straight at Steve Mandanda.
2048: And at the Emirates too. Arsenal almost start by extending their lead, but Denilson's through-ball is just too strong for Marouane Chamakh - who is clean through.
2047: We are back under way at the Stade Velodrome... no changes from Marseille or Chelsea.
2045: It has been a bit quiet on the goal-front so far, hasn't it? I guess this is what European nights are like when Tottenham aren't playing..? Still, plenty of time for that to change.
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"Van Persie has now scored 12 of 13 Champions League goals at home and has scored four of his last 5 Champions League goals through penalty kicks."
From Tim in Witney, via text: "If Arsenal want to choose tonight to end this season's tradition of being worse in the second half, I'd be most pleased."
Champions League Macca: "Half-time everywhere but Zilina - who are 20 minutes behind us after that suspension - and so far so little sign of any shocks. Arsenal winning and it's all going Roma's way in Group E. The Italians are winning at Cluj and Bayern well on the way to beating Basel."
From Ollie, a Brighton fan, via text: "Sitting in the away end at Gigg Lane. A bit of a trek to get up here but boy was it worth it!"
2035: HALF-TIME FC United of Manchester 0-2 Brighton
2035: GOALFLASH FC United of Manchester 0-2 Brighton (Inigo Calderon)
2035: HALF-TIME Marseille 0-0 Chelsea Sam Lyon's
HT snap-shot: "A goalless first half in France that has been edged by Marseille - and yet, for my money, Chelsea have been denied two clear penalties. Up for grabs."
Arsenal 1-0 Partizan Belgrade Phil McNulty's HT snap-shot:
"Arsenal deserve the lead Robin van Persie's penalty has given them - but it remains a slender one. Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, however, has had nothing to do. Arsene Wenger will want it to stay that way."
2032: Half-time in Marseille - well, until referee Vladislav Bezborodov changes his mind yet anyway - and at the Emirates too.
2030: And an opportunity for Arsenal too. Robin van Persie makes the most of an error by Mladen Krstajic and drives the ball across goal. It's too powerful for Marouane Chamakh to control it, and a decent chance goes begging.
2029: Another penalty shout for Chelsea, with Souleymane Diawara catching Salomon Kalou as he cuts into the area. Nothing given (or taken away) this time... but it looked like a spot-kick to me.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates Stadium: "Big breakthrough for Arsenal and a bit of a gift with a soft foul by Marko Jovanovic on Robin van Persie, who put away the resulting penalty. Arsenal superior to Partizan and Arsene Wenger will expect them to capitalise on this advantage."
2021: Another debatable decision at the Stade Velodrome, but this time it goes in Chelsea's favour. Gabriel Heinze swivels to head home Benoit Cheyrou's free-kick but his celebrations are halted by the linesman's flag. TV replays show it was extremely close - I make Heinze just about level with the last defender. Chelsea can breathe again.
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"4 - Marseille have lost their last four Champions League matches against English opposition. Blues."
2019: A decent chance for Chelsea, with Salomon Kalou teeing up Didier Drogba after a neat build-up. Just a shame about the finish, really - Drogba skies his shot well over the bar.
Arsenal goal: Talk about tempting fate... no doubts about the penalty, awarded when Marko Jovanovic brings down Robin van Persie with a clumsy challenge inside the area. Van Persie picks himself up, and slams home the spot-kick. Arsenal are up and running at last.
2015: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 Partizan Belgrade (Van Persie pen)
2014: PENALTY to Arsenal
2013: Still very frustrating for Arsenal. No way through at the moment.
Champions League Macca: "Thankfully it has all calmed down in Slovakia, the players have returned to the field and we're back under way. There may well be repercussions but for now we have some football."
2012: GOALFLASH FC United of Manchester 0-1 Brighton (Francisco Sandaza)
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"Real Madrid have become the first club to have scored 300 times in the Champions League main competition (including own goals)."
2009: An enforced change for Arsenal. Kieran Gibbs cannot continue - he was hurt when he caught his foot in the turf rather than by a tackle. Emmanuel Eboue is on instead.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates Stadium: "Subdued atmosphere at The Emirates as Arsenal look to find a spark. Dominating possession but no way through to Partizan Belgrade keeper Vladimir Stojkovic yet. All a bit flat, but plenty of time."
Champions League Macca: "Just seeing pictures of MSK Zilina's stadium and a glimpse of what caused the suspension in play less than five minutes into the game. There's no sign of the players returning but the commentators are saying it was the away fans who were throwing flares on to the field. Some fireworks were also set off and apparently some of the players came out to try to calm the situation down."
2007: GOALFLASH CFR Cluj 0-1 Roma (Marco Borriello)
Champions League Macca: "Real Madrid - one of only four unbeaten sides in the group stages - are ahead early doors as Madrid misfit (fair?) Karim Benzema opens the scoring after 11 minutes against Auxerre. Real already assured of top spot in Group G. There's still no play between MSK Zilina and Spartak after referee Kevin Blom took both teams off after some crowd trouble. Flares have been thrown inside the stadium."
2003: Confusion reigns at the Stade Velodrome. Referee Vladislav Bezborodov points to the spot when Souleymane Diawara tangles with Florent Malouda. It looks like Diawara got man and not ball... but, under pressure from the Marseille players, Bezborodov consults his linesman who says it is a corner instead.
2002: CORRECTION Referee Vladislav Bezborodov has changed his mind. NO PENALTY - it's just a corner.
2001: PENALTY to Chelsea
2000: So, have Arsenal turned their early domination into chances? Well, no. Marouane Chamakh should do better from Samir Nasri's cross, but fails to get his header on target. And the Gunners have an injury concern too - Kieran Gibbs is down and receiving treatment.
1959: GOALFLASH Real Madrid 1-0 Auxerre (Karim Benzema)
1958: I told you Marseille were settling down. Mathieu Valbuena fires a rasping shot against the bar with Petr Cech beaten... then, seconds later, Benoit Cheyro crosses from the left and Valbuena sends a diving header wide. You could say the French side are 'knocking on the door'.
1956: I'm hearing there is a break in play in the other game in Chelsea's group, between MSK Zilina and Spartak Moscow. Not sure what is going on - more news on that when I get it.
1954: Marseille are settling down a bit now. Benoit Cheyrou, brother of Bruno, lets fly from the edge of the area but the ball flies a whisker wide.
1951: A first sniff for the Gunners, with Andrey Arshavin almost slipping Samir Nasri through. Partizan survive, but this could be a long old night for the Serbian side's defence. Marseille have had a sight of goal too - but Loic Remy made a right old hash of a shooting chance after Mathieu Valbuena's shot was deflected into his path.
1949: Over at the Stade Velodrome, it's pretty cagey so far. No chances to tell you about... yet.
1948: It's all Arsenal in terms of possession in the first couple of minutes. Partizan are defending deep and trying to soak up this early pressure.
1946: And we have started in Marseille too.
1945: Arsenal get us under way...
From anonymous Spurs fan, via text: "Re anonymous Gunner at 1918. You're right, you aren't Tottenham. We qualified with a game in hand - didn't know we were supposed to wait till the last minute like Arsenal!"
1942: The players emerge out of the tunnel at the Emirates, and it is almost time for your favourite tune. Surely Gunners fans will hear it again this season? Surely...
Marseille v Chelsea line-ups Marseille: Mandanda, Kabore, Diawara, Heinze, Taiwo, Valbuena, Abriel, N'Diaye, Cheyrou, Remy, Brandao. Subs: Andrade, Cisse, Gonzalez, Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew, Sabo. Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Ferreira, Kalou, Essien, McEachran, Ramires, Malouda, Drogba. Subs: Turnbull, Mikel, Sturridge, Van Aanholt, Bruma, Kakuta, Sala. Referee: Vladislav Bezborodov (Russia)
1932: Hmmm... you can kind of see where Mr Arshavin is coming from. Even if Arsenal get the victory they are looking for tonight, to finish top of Group H they need Braga to do what no team has done in 52 matches against Shakhtar since 22 October 2008, which is to beat them in Donetsk. Not exactly 'simples', then...
Arsenal midfielder Andrey Arshavin on the task his side face against Partizan Belgrade to secure their place in the last 16 of the Champions League for the 11th straight season: "We are not nervous at all. We know we have to win and we will do it. But we have no chance of topping the group. It's disappointing but we always knew Shakhtar and Braga were good teams, especially at home. Unfortunately, they showed that against us."
ayaj12 on Twitter:
"I think it could be a frustrating night for Arsenal but we will qualify... don't rule out Braga upsetting Shaktar."
Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti on using his side's trip to Marseille to restore their self-belief after their mid-season slump in form: "The result is not important but the performance is very important. I have put out the best line-up possible because we consider the game important for our confidence and to come back and play our football."
ARSENAL v PARTIZAN BELGRADE TEAM NEWS Chief football reporter Phil McNultyat the Emirates Stadium: Robin van Persie is handed the captain's armband as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger makes three changes from the team that started Saturday's win over Fulham at The Emirates. He comes in for Tomas Rosicky, while Denilson starts ahead of Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs is at left-back in place of Gael Clichy. Partizan defenders Marko Jovanovic and Aleksandar Lazevski, along with midfielder Medo, come in for Alexsandar Miljkovic, Joseph Kizito and Ivica Iliev following their 5-2 win over Sloboda Sevojno last Saturday."
From anonymous Gunner, via text: "Re 1850. Chris, this isn't Tottenham!!! Arsenal are seasoned campaigners, we don't get nervous before games like this. I'll be shocked if we score less than five."
MARSEILLE v CHELSEA TEAM NEWS Sam Lyon
reports: "Looking to finish their Group F campaign on a high, Chelsea opt for a strong line-up in their dead rubber against Marseille. Carlo Ancelotti makes three changes to the side that
drew with Everton at the weekend,
Paulo Ferreira, Josh McEachran and Ramires coming in, with Jon Mikel Obi benched and Ashley Cole and Nicolas Anelka rested. Three changes, too, for Marseille after their surprise 1-0 defeat to Nice on Sunday, Gabriel Heinze, Taye Taiwo and Fabrice Abriel returning to their starting XI."
Didier Drogba, a cult hero at Marseille after scoring 29 goals in his solitary season at the club before joining Chelsea for £24m in 2004, on his return to the Stade Velodrome: "I'm coming home, this is a meeting I've been waiting for ever since I left Olympique Marseille. I was disgusted at having to sign for Chelsea. That may seem strange but that's how I felt. No offence but Chelsea didn't mean a whole lot in France. It didn't mean much to me."
1918: Great scenes at the Stade Velodrome, where the Marseille fans are giving a rapturous welcome to one of their former heroes, Chelsea striker Didier Drogba. He's quite fond of them too, incidentally...
1915: Robin van Persie's presence is a big boost to Arsenal tonight - but could the Dutchman's ankle injury have been preventable in the first place? One of his compatriots,
fitness guru Raymond Verheijen thinks so.
Periodisation is the answer, apparently.
ArsenalScottie on Twitter:
"Re 1850. I'm very confident Arsenal will go through, we beat Partizan away with relative ease. So at home is a piece of cake!"
MARSEILLE v CHELSEA Sam Lyon
reports: "Guaranteed top spot in the group, boasting a lengthy list of players in the treatment room, and facing the prospect of Tottenham, Man Utd and Arsenal as their next three Premier League fixtures - one could be forgiven for expecting Chelsea to take tonight's match rather lightly. No chance. A run of one league win in six means boss Carlo Ancelotti is looking for a win to reignite his side's season - a win that'd see his side become only the fifth in history to enjoy six wins out of six in the group stages. Marseille beware."
1907: Now you know what's happening tonight (Luton v Charlton is tomorrow) - and I need you to play your part too:
Tweet me at chrisbevan_bbc on Twitter,
join the chat on
or text me via 81111 (UK). Nice work.
1900:CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PERMUTATIONS Group E:Bayern Munich are through as winners. Roma will join them if they avoid defeat at Cluj or Basle fail to beat Bayern. Group F:Chelsea, who have already secured top spot, and Marseille are already into the last 16. Spartak Moscow are guaranteed third place and a Europa League place. Group G:Real Madrid and AC Milan are already through, with Ajax and Auxerre still hoping to clinch third spot. Group H:Braga travel to Shakhtar Donetsk, who will top the group if they avoid defeat, with the Portuguese side needing to better Arsenal's result against Partizan to progress.
From Goal Machine on 606:
"Arsenal looked so comfortable but now they have it all to play for. I can't imagine them not qualifyng for the knock-out stage - it would be a catastrophe."
ARSENAL v PARTIZAN BELGRADE Chief football reporter Phil McNultyat the Emirates Stadium: "Arsenal face Partizan Belgrade needing victory to ensure they take their place in the knockout phase of the Champions League once more. Defeats against Braga and Shakhtar Donetsk have put the pressure on Arsene Wenger's side for this final group game - but they will feel confident about progress after winning 3-1 when the sides met in Belgrade."
1856: BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Robin van Persie captains the Gunners in his first Champions League appearance of the season.
1852: Yep, the Gunners need a win to be sure of getting out of Group H along with either Shakhtar Donetsk and Braga, while - in Group E - Roma and Basel are chasing second place behind Bayern Munich. Elsewhere, Chelsea are looking to rediscover their sparkle against Marseille and the other games include AC Milan against managerless Ajax, who have Frank de Boer in temporary charge. There's also an FA Cup second round replay going on, with FC United of Manchester up against Brighton. Not a bad little line-up then?
1850 GMT: So, it's the final night of the group stage and there are just three places up for grabs in the last 16 of the Champions League. Five teams are in the mix to join the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Tottenham in the knockout draw... so something's got to give. Any Arsenal fans out there feeling nervous?
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