Denilson (left) was making his first Arsenal start since September
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at the Emirates Stadium
Arsenal sealed their passage into the last 16 of the Champions League in convincing fashion with a comfortable win against Standard Liege at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger's side needed only a point to seal qualification for the knockout phase for a seventh consecutive season - but they never looked in serious danger of clinching anything less than three as they dominated the Belgians for long periods.
Samir Nasri took advantage of Landry Mulemo's slip to put the Gunners ahead after 35 minutes and Denilson struck a spectacular, swerving second from 30 yards in first-half injury time.
Only ill-fortune and Arsenal's own carelessness prevented the scoreline from wearing a more realistic appearance, especially in the first half, with Andrey Arshavin even inadvertently clearing off the line from team-mate Thomas Vermaelen after Carlos Vela struck an upright in one goalmouth melee.
But Standard carried a threat of their own, backed by a vociferous following, with Dieudonne Mbokani and Gohi Bi Cyriac hitting the woodwork in each half.
Standard's disappointment was complete in the closing stages when Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez was sent off after a touchline clash with Cesc Fabregas.
Arsenal boss Wenger will now hope his side can take their impressive form in the group stage forward and go one step further than last season's Champions League campaign, when they exited against Manchester United in the semi-final.
Wenger demanded an instant response to Saturday's Premier League defeat at Sunderland - and he got it in the shape of silky first-half display full of the usual Arsenal trademarks of passing and fluidity.
Nasri and Fabregas pulled the strings in the centre of the action as Arsenal took complete control from the first whistle to put the visitors under ceaseless pressure.
Fabregas was picked out by Nasri after only five minutes but his effort was saved by Sinan Bolat, while Felipe was forced to block bravely as Carlos Vela closed in on goal.
Standard then somehow survived a series of goalmouth escapes in the same incident when Arshavin had a shot saved by Bolat and Vela hit the post before Vermaelen's goal-bound shot struck the Russian on head on the goal-line and rebounded to safety.
Arsenal almost paid for their lack of a killer touch in front of goal after 22 minutes when powerful striker Mbokani beat Manuel Almunia with a rising drive that struck the angle of post and bar.
It was a brief interruption to what was a story of complete Arsenal supremacy, and William Gallas headed over from eight yards as Standard were exposed by another Fabregas cross.
Gallas collided with the unfortunate Arshavin as he made the header, and both required lengthy treatment. The reduced numbers did not have an adverse effect on Arsenal as they took the lead 10 minutes from half-time with Arshavin still waiting to return to the action.
Mulemo was unfortunate to slip as he went to deal with Vermaelen's routine long ball, allowing Nasri to race clear and bury an emphatic finish beyond Bolat.
Nasri scored his second goal of an injury-disrupted season
Nasri then set Arshavin up for a finish that flashed just wide before Arsenal doubled their lead in spectacular fashion.
Bolat looked to be badly at fault as he was beaten by Denilson's effort from 30 yards, but the ball swerved viciously in the air and credit must go to the Brazilian.
Standard had been second best by some distance, but they wasted a chance to give themselves hope six minutes after the break when Axel Witsel could only turn a tame effort into the arms of Almunia from six yards after Arsenal failed to clear a free-kick.
The hosts were still in charge, without enjoying the same domination as in the first period, and Wenger made a change on the hour, sending on Theo Walcott for the excellent Nasri.
And he almost announced his arrival with a goal, but his shot across the face of goal flew narrowly wide with Bolat beaten.
Arsenal, who lost Gallas to a head injury at half-time, had eased off in the second half and Standard almost snatched a goal that could have given the home side anxious moments in the closing stages when Cyriac's low drive hit the post.
And the Belgians were reduced to 10 men with four minutes remaining when Carcela-Gonzalez motioned his head towards Fabregas as they clashed and was rightly sent off by referee Konrad Lautz.
There was a concern for Arsenal in the dying seconds when Kieran Gibbs was forced to limp off after making a clearance - but in all other ways it was a satisfactory night for the Gunners.
65:46 Substitution Tomas Rosicky is brought on as a substitute for Neves Denilson.
64:29 Theo Walcott has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.
63:27 Substitution Moussa Traore is brought on as a substitute for Wilfried Dalmat.
62:12 The assistant referee signals for offside against Wilfried Dalmat. Free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
62:01 Free kick awarded for a foul by Francesc Fabregas on Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez. Marcos Camozzato takes the indirect free kick.
61:11 Unfair challenge on Mikael Silvestre by Dieudonne Mbokani results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Mikael Silvestre.
59:25 Substitution Theo Walcott comes on in place of Samir Nasri.
58:58 Carlos Alberto Vela produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
57:51 The assistant referee flags for offside against Dieudonne Mbokani. Mikael Silvestre takes the indirect free kick.
53:27 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Dieudonne Mbokani by Thomas Vermaelen. Wilfried Dalmat takes the free kick.
50:44 Foul by Mikael Silvestre on Dieudonne Mbokani, free kick awarded. Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez restarts play with the free kick,
Axel Witsel takes a shot. Save by Manuel Almunia.
47:58 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas played to the near post, clearance by Axel Witsel.
47:27 A cross is delivered by Emmanuel Eboue, Martins Felipe makes a clearance.
46:07 Mikael Silvestre concedes a free kick for a foul on Dieudonne Mbokani. Axel Witsel restarts play with the free kick.
45:48 Effort from deep inside the area by Francesc Fabregas clears the bar.
45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
45:01 Substitution William Gallas goes off and Mikael Silvestre comes on.
45:00+2:18 The referee calls an end to the first half.
45:00+1:21 Assist on the goal came from Samir Nasri.
45:00+1:21 GOAL - Neves Denilson:Arsenal 2 - 0 Standard Liege Neves Denilson scores a goal from outside the penalty area high into the middle of the goal. Arsenal 2-0 Standard Liege.
45:00+0:38 Axel Witsel challenges Francesc Fabregas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
41:06 Close range effort by Francesc Fabregas goes wide of the left-hand post.
39:44 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Reginal Goreux.
39:28 Axel Witsel takes a shot. Blocked by Kieran Gibbs.
38:11 Andrey Arshavin has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
37:34 Samir Nasri takes a shot. Sinan Bolat makes a save.
36:13 Reginal Goreux is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
35:31 Unfair challenge on Kieran Gibbs by Wilfried Dalmat results in a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
34:29 Assist on the goal came from Thomas Vermaelen.
34:29 GOAL - Samir Nasri:Arsenal 1 - 0 Standard Liege Samir Nasri finds the net with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 1-0 Standard
33:36 Foul by Eliaquim Mangala on Francesc Fabregas, free kick awarded. Indirect free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
33:26 Reginal Goreux takes a shot.
Correction - 29:57 Francesc Fabregas delivers the ball, Andrey Arshavin produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.
29:57 Francesc Fabregas sends in a cross, Header from deep inside the area by William Gallas goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
29:36 Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the left by-line to the near post, Eliaquim Mangala makes a clearance.
27:41 Andrey Arshavin challenges Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez unfairly and gives away a free kick. Landry Mulemo takes the indirect free
kick. Free kick awarded for a foul by Thomas Vermaelen on Dieudonne Mbokani. Wilfried Dalmat shoots direct from the free kick.
27:11 Thomas Vermaelen takes a shot. Blocked by Mohamed Sarr. Outswinging corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the right by-line.
26:00 Foul by Alexandre Song Billong on Axel Witsel, free kick awarded. Reginal Goreux takes the indirect free kick.
25:19 Samir Nasri produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
25:02 Unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas by Eliaquim Mangala results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
23:55 Unfair challenge on Dieudonne Mbokani by William Gallas results in a free kick. Landry Mulemo takes the free kick.
21:41 Effort from deep inside the area by Axel Witsel misses to the right of the goal.
15:43 Francesc Fabregas takes a outswinging corner.
Correction - 14:04 Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the right by-line played to the near post, Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Sinan Bolat
makes a save. Carlos Alberto Vela takes a shot. Save by Sinan Bolat. Shot from deep inside the area by Thomas Vermaelen clears
the crossbar. Effort from inside the six-yard area by William Gallas bounces off the post. Effort from deep inside the area
by William Gallas hits the post. Save made by Sinan Bolat.
14:04 Francesc Fabregas takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Thomas Vermaelen takes a shot. Sinan Bolat makes a save. Samir
Nasri takes a shot. Save made by Sinan Bolat. Thomas Vermaelen produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears
12:59 Unfair challenge on William Gallas by Dieudonne Mbokani results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Alexandre Song Billong.
11:50 Foul by Reginal Goreux on Alexandre Song Billong, free kick awarded. Francesc Fabregas restarts play with the free kick.
10:32 Unfair challenge on Axel Witsel by Emmanuel Eboue results in a free kick. Axel Witsel takes the indirect free kick.
9:01 Foul by Samir Nasri on Eliaquim Mangala, free kick awarded. Landry Mulemo takes the indirect free kick.
Correction - 8:39 Carlos Alberto Vela takes a shot. Landry Mulemo gets a block in.
8:39 Carlos Alberto Vela takes a shot. Mohamed Sarr gets a block in.
8:20 Marcos Camozzato concedes a free kick for a foul on Samir Nasri. Indirect free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
7:44 The ball is sent over by Samir Nasri.
4:49 Wilfried Dalmat fouled by Alexandre Song Billong, the ref awards a free kick. Landry Mulemo takes the indirect free kick.
4:14 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Save by Sinan Bolat.
3:46 Centre by Kieran Gibbs, Martins Felipe manages to make a clearance.
2:32 Samir Nasri has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the target.
1:44 Alexandre Song Billong takes a shot. Blocked by Axel Witsel. Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas, clearance made by Martins
0:50 Reginal Goreux gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Neves Denilson. Francesc Fabregas restarts play with the
0:00 The referee gets the match started.
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