Nasri (left) and Walcott produced the goals to ease Arsenal nerves
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at The Emirates
Arsenal survived a minor scare to reach the last 16 of the Champions League for the 11th successive season with victory against Partizan Belgrade at The Emirates.
Arsene Wenger knew that three points would assure them of qualification for the knockout phase and they ultimately ran out comfortable winners, although for a spell in the second half against the Serbians, there was the fear that Arsenal's proud record might end.
Arsenal's win was not enough to give them top spot in Group H, and they now face the prospect of running into the real elite of European football when the draw is made on 17 December.
Robin van Persie, Arsenal captain on his first Champions League appearance of the season, put them ahead on the half-hour from the spot after he was fouled by Marko Jovanovic.
Partizan's only moment of serious danger brought an equaliser just after half-time when Cleo's shot took a wicked deflection off Sebastien Squillaci and out of Lukasz Fabianski's reach - leaving Arsenal's fans, albeit briefly, anxiously following events in the game between Shakhtar Donetsk and Braga.
Wenger unsure how far Arsenal can go
But Theo Walcott's introduction as substitute injected some firepower into Arsenal and some life into subdued supporters inside The Emirates as he made a decisive contribution.
He restored Arsenal's lead with a fine volley after 73 minutes, and another moment of class from Samir Nasri wrapped things up as he scored with a fine low finish four minutes later.
Arsenal suffered a blow with an early injury to defender Kieran Gibbs, while Bacary Sagna was shown a red card in the closing stages for a foul on Aleksandar Lazevski.
Wenger will be delighted with Arsenal's win, but he will know they will need to produce better in the knockout stage - a task that will be made much easier by the return of injured captain Cesc Fabregas.
Before the game Arsenal knew that victory would ensure their passage to the knockout phase - but they made a lacklustre start despite dominating possession and territory.
Wenger was also forced into a change after only 24 minutes when the desperately unlucky Gibbs suffered misfortune again. He was stretchered off after slipping as he made a tackle, and despite trying to carry on he was eventually replaced by Emmanuel Eboue.
Van Persie won the penalty he converted to put Arsenal ahead
Partizan were surviving in relative comfort, but gifted Arsenal the lead on the half-hour when Jovanovic needlessly bundled Van Persie to the ground in the area - leaving the striker to score the resulting spot-kick with ease.
Arsenal keeper Fabianski had been a virtual spectator, but he was powerless to stop Partizan scoring a shock equaliser seven minutes after the break when Cleo broke through and scored via a big deflection off Squillaci.
Wenger needed to inject urgency into Arsenal as they flirted with an early Champions League exit, and his answer was to send on Walcott, a move that brought the required result.
He put Arsenal back in front and eased growing concern inside The Emirates with an instinctive right-foot volley that flashed across Partizan keeper Vladimir Stojkovic into the far corner.
90:00+3:07 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
90:00+1:35 Mohamed Medo fouled by Robin van Persie, the ref awards a free kick. Mladen Krstajic produces a strike on goal direct from
the free kick.
90:00+0:31 The official flags Theo Walcott offside. Free kick taken by Vladimir Stojkovic.
90:00+0:31 Substitution Darko Brasanac is brought on as a substitute for Almani Moreira.
89:20 Mohamed Medo challenges Laurent Koscielny unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Emmanuel Eboue.
88:25 The ball is delivered by Radosav Petrovic, clearance by Samir Nasri.
85:06 Alexander Lazevski fouled by Bacary Sagna, the ref awards a free kick. Radosav Petrovic shoots direct from the free kick,
save by Lukasz Fabianski. Cordova Cleo takes a shot. Save by Lukasz Fabianski.
85:06 Sent off Bacary Sagna receives a red card for professional foul.
84:21 Neves Denilson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Radosav Petrovic. Stefan Savic restarts play with the free
80:00 Substitution Aleksandar Davidov on for Stefan Babovic.
78:30 Samir Nasri takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Marko Jovanovic.
77:20 Free kick awarded for a foul by Emmanuel Eboue on Stefan Babovic. Mohamed Medo takes the direct free kick.
76:27 Assist on the goal came from Alex Song.
76:27 GOAL - Samir Nasri:Arsenal 3 - 1 Partizan Belgrade Samir Nasri finds the back of the net with a goal from the edge of the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal
3-1 Partizan Belgrade.
Correction - 75:04 Mohamed Medo challenges Emmanuel Eboue unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Sebastien Squillaci.
Correction - 75:04 Substitution Nicklas Bendtner on for Marouane Chamakh.
75:04 Foul by Mohamed Medo on Emmanuel Eboue, awarded.
72:31 GOAL - Theo Walcott:Arsenal 2 - 1 Partizan Belgrade Theo Walcott grabs a goal from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Arsenal 2-1 Partizan Belgrade.
71:03 Alex Song has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.
69:41 Theo Walcott fouled by Mladen Krstajic, the ref awards a free kick. Robin van Persie fires a strike on goal direct from the
free kick, brilliant save by Vladimir Stojkovic. Corner from the left by-line taken by Samir Nasri, Mladen Krstajic manages
to make a clearance.
69:41 Booking Mladen Krstajic receives a caution.
68:29 Samir Nasri produces a cross, Alexander Lazevski makes a clearance.
67:51 The ball is sent over by Theo Walcott, clearance made by Mladen Krstajic.
Correction - 66:06 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Marouane Chamakh by Mohamed Medo. Free kick crossed right-footed by Samir Nasri
from right channel, Cordova Cleo makes a clearance.
Correction - 66:06 Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Theo Walcott coming on for Andrey Arshavin.
66:06 Mohamed Medo concedes a for a foul on Marouane Chamakh.
66:06 Substitution Theo Walcott comes on in place of Andrey Arshavin.
65:16 Unfair challenge on Neves Denilson by Mohamed Medo results in a free kick. Neves Denilson takes the free kick.
63:27 Almani Moreira is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Laurent Koscielny takes the direct free kick.
62:51 The ball is crossed by Bacary Sagna, Vladimir Stojkovic makes a save.
62:05 Corner taken by Andrey Arshavin played to the near post, clearance made by Mladen Krstajic.
62:00 The ball is swung over by Samir Nasri, Stefan Savic gets a block in.
59:27 Bacary Sagna produces a cross.
57:55 Marouane Chamakh gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Cordova Cleo. The free kick is swung in left-footed by
Stefan Babovic, Marouane Chamakh manages to make a clearance. Sasa Ilic has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area
missing to the wide left of the goal.
57:24 Unfair challenge on Almani Moreira by Laurent Koscielny results in a free kick. Mladen Krstajic takes the free kick.
56:07 Bacary Sagna delivers the ball.
52:57 Cordova Cleo produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
51:32 The assist for the goal came from Almani Moreira.
51:32 GOAL - Cordova Cleo:Arsenal 1 - 1 Partizan Belgrade A goal is scored by Cordova Cleo from just outside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Arsenal 1-1 Partizan Belgrade.
49:51 Unfair challenge on Neves Denilson by Stefan Babovic results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Emmanuel Eboue.
47:37 Effort on goal by Samir Nasri from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
45:01 The second half begins.
45:00+1:06 It is the end of the first-half.
45:00+0:47 Corner taken right-footed by Samir Nasri from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Marko Jovanovic.
45:00+0:41 Centre by Samir Nasri, clearance by Marko Jovanovic.
44:03 Unfair challenge on Almani Moreira by Laurent Koscielny results in a free kick. Mohamed Medo takes the free kick.
37:58 Radosav Petrovic challenges Sebastien Squillaci unfairly and gives away a free kick. Sebastien Squillaci takes the indirect
37:09 Almani Moreira fouled by Neves Denilson, the ref awards a free kick. Almani Moreira restarts play with the free kick. Shot
from 35 yards by Mohamed Medo missed to the right of the target.
36:30 Samir Nasri sends in a cross, Robin van Persie has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of
36:20 A cross is delivered by Bacary Sagna, Marko Jovanovic makes a clearance.
35:28 Centre by Stefan Savic, Alex Song makes a clearance.
33:08 Corner taken left-footed by Robin van Persie to the near post, Alex Song challenges Vladimir Stojkovic unfairly and gives
away a free kick. Free kick taken by Vladimir Stojkovic.
33:00 Emmanuel Eboue crosses the ball, clearance made by Mladen Krstajic.
31:59 The assistant referee flags for offside against Samir Nasri. Free kick taken by Vladimir Stojkovic.
31:28 A cross is delivered by Bacary Sagna, clearance by Mladen Krstajic.
29:38 Robin van Persie fouled by Marko Jovanovic, the ref awards a Penalty.
29:38 GOAL - Robin van Persie:Arsenal 1 - 0 Partizan Belgrade Penalty scored by Robin van Persie. Arsenal 1-0 Partizan Belgrade.
25:25 Emmanuel Eboue fouled by Stefan Babovic, the ref awards a free kick. Andrey Arshavin delivers the ball from the free kick
right-footed from left channel, clearance made by Mladen Krstajic.
22:57 Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Emmanuel Eboue coming on for Kieran Gibbs.
20:49 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mladen Krstajic by Marouane Chamakh. Free kick taken by Vladimir Stojkovic.
18:12 Effort from inside the six-yard box by Robin van Persie goes wide right of the target.
12:36 The ball is delivered by Bacary Sagna, Header from deep inside the penalty area by Marouane Chamakh goes harmlessly over the
9:36 Robin van Persie is ruled offside. Vladimir Stojkovic takes the free kick.
7:51 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Mladen Krstajic gets a block in.
7:45 The ball is swung over by Samir Nasri, clearance by Mladen Krstajic.
5:03 The ball is swung over by Samir Nasri, Mladen Krstajic manages to make a clearance.
3:31 Unfair challenge on Robin van Persie by Mladen Krstajic results in a free kick. Neves Denilson takes the direct free kick.
0:00 The match has kicked off.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.