With half the job already done Arsene Wenger’s mighty youngsters took the pristine pitch of the Grove to complete the job and finish off their mock-Irish counterparts.
With a two goal lead from the first leg Arsenal rested some key players as well as being without injured skipper Fabregas.
Despite the relative second string side it was the fourth placed English finishers from last season who once again took total control over the best Scotland had to offer. A make shift Arsenal midfield, absent Fabregas, Nasri, Rosicky and Arshavin was still able to command the early stages with Arsenal dominating possession and chances.
With only 15 minutes gone a sublime counter attacking Arsenal move saw quick, neat passes cut apart the Celtic defence, the lively Eboue pulled the ball back after getting around the back of the the defence to a waiting Bendtner whose great first time shot was superbly saved by the Polish goalkeeper only for Eduardo to miss the rebound, in front of an open goal he made a mess of it equivalent to a Tottenham players pants after a plate of Lasagne.
The next real chance of the game was once again created by the Latino Croatian who from 30 yards let fly a beautiful curling shot which was once again brilliantly saved by Boruc, the goalkeeper was keeping Celtic in the tie and would certainly have some stories to tell on the building site tomorrow morning.
Eventually though the goal came, but in controversial circumstances. In the 28th minute yet more super football from Arsenal saw a neat one-two between Eduardo and Eboue as the Samba-Croat did well to knock the ball around Boruc before appearing to be taken down. The referee awarded the penalty despite replay’s showing Boruc clearly did not touch the striker. Eduardo picked himself up from the brutal foul to calmly slot the spot kick home to the disgust of the livid goalkeeper.
The next real chance came from Celtic, a ball across the face of goal found the waiting striker who tucked it home, however his joy was short lived as the linesman flagged for offside.
The half time whistle went with the home side comfortably in charge.
Arsenal continued their dominance in the second half with Eduardo carving the defence apart like Gordon Ramsay to a……..angry customer. A quick counter attack from the Gunners found Eduardo in front of goal, his neat cut back left the two centre backs for dead and straight in front of goal deadly finisher should have put the tie beyond doubt however his wild swing with his weak right foot was more akin to a first time golfers swing than a deadly finish and the ball sailed disappointingly wide.
Eboue continued to be lively throughout and it was he, the much loved superstar who sealed the match. Despite often being wasteful of chances in the final third he managed to receive possession inside the Celtic box, neatly pulled the ball across the last defender before slotting the ball calmly into the bottom corner.
From there it was plain sailing for Arsenal, although you’d be forgiven to thinking otherwise as the admirable Celtic fans continued partying throughout, at times even kindly offering to sing a song for Arsenal. The one sided nature off the pitch was the complete contrast on it however, Arsene made 3 substitutions which worked immediately.
Ramsey came on first and immediately looked comfortable running the midfield, the young Welshman playing for an English club, against a Scottish based, want to be Irish side in a European tournament looked right at home. Arshavin and Wilshere then came on for Eboue and Eduardo and immediately things looked even brighter for the home side.
The complete domination went a step further and Arshavin and young Jack “the lukester” Wilshere added a completely new attacking dimension to the Gunners. Both players had fun running at the hapless Celtic defence and Arsenal looked like scoring a hatful more.
The final Arsenal goal came just minutes after the double switch, Arshavin with his first touch neatly won the ball back for Arsenal after yet another Denilson imitation of Bamby on Ice. The Russian Assassin continued his run and received the return pass only to swivel and finish beautifully into the bottom corner.
Wilshere continued to impress in the final twenty minutes with some mazey runs through the defence, a great eye for a killer through ball and the desire to get ‘stuck in’ several times. Despite Arsenal always looking like nabbing a fourth it was in fact Celtic who got the last goal. Literally with the last kick of the game, Donatti with a great sliding volley from the tightest of angles somehow managed to divert the ball across the face of goal and in off the far post.
It was a goal maybe not deserving of the travelling players but certainly a worthy reward for a magnificent group of travelling fans who continued to party despite being eliminated from Europe’s Premiere competition.
An entertaining night in North London saw a weakened Arsenal side comfortably and thoroughly progress into the next round leaving Celtic to focus on the mighty SPL.
Written by Gooneritis for GoonersWorld