Arsenal will be celebrating tonight -- their 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund has seen them clinch their spot in the Round of 16, with one game to spare. It was Robin Van Persie, of course, that scored both goals, although the terrific play of Alex Song deserves some credit as well. Dortmund, meanwhile, have been eliminated from the Champions League, while a 1-0 win for Olympiacos over Marseille throws second place in Group F up in the air.
Although the visitors started off brightly, Shinji Kagawa testing Wojciech Szczesny in the first minute, Dortmund's ship was sinking by the 30th minute. Sven Bender, an absolute rock in midfield, had his cheek torn apart by the boot of Thomas Vermaelen and was forced to leave the match on a stretcher. Minutes later, one of the brightest sparks in the BVB attack, Mario Götze, hobbled off, his leg hurting from an altercation with Song. For the final 15 minutes of the half, the visitors looked utterly deflated.
After the restart, Dortmund again started well, with Kagawa forcing Szczesny into a save once again. But instead it was Van Persie who scored the first goal at the Emirates, although it barely dampened the noise of the visiting support. Song shimmied and twisted his way through three defenders before sending a beautiful floating ball to the Dutch forward, who headed it just inside the near post and into the back of the net.
For the next 30 minutes or so, the match looked much like you might expect between Arsenal and BVB: a series of neat little passing triangles and nothing much in front of goal. With the way Jürgen Klopp was smiling and laughing on the sidelines, he seemed to have accepted his team's fate, and, considering he had but one substitute available to him, that was likely for the best.
Just to make absolutely sure that Arsenal would take the win and move on to the next round, Van Persie netted another, a little flick from a Vermaelen header. In the end the insurance was needed, as Kagawa scored in added time, a result of poor defending by substitute Johan Djourou. The whistle blew almost immediately after, leaving Dortmund to concentrate on winning the Bundesliga title.