Arsenal dropped their first point in this year’s Champions League on Wednesday, 3 November, when Arsene Wenger’s team lost 2–1 away to Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk.
Shakhtar, who have now gone 28 games without defeat at the Donbass Arena, saw Craig Eastmond’s own goal and former Arsenal striker Eduardo’s cool finish cancel out Theo Walcott’s early breakaway goal.
“Against a good team, you are punished,” Wenger told reporters after the game. “It’s a good lesson for us because we thought we would get through without focusing fully in defence. In the second half we tried hard to get back into the game but were unlucky with our finishing.”
Arsenal and Walcott convince early on
In-form midfielder Samir Nasri began brightly for Arsenal, drifting across the Shakhtar defence before hitting a strike that touched the outside of the right post with seven minutes played.
Arsenal executed a counter attack to perfection in the 11th minute after Shakhtar failed to pounce on a corner. Walcott’s quick exchange with Jack Wilshere sent the Englishman flying past the Shakhtar defence on the left wing, taking one touch before finishing low into the far corner for his seventh goal of the season.
The home team pushed Arsenal back into their half after the goal, when a penalty-box scramble led to Jadson hitting the post with a headed effort. Lukasz Fabianski then displayed his quick reactions to deny the lively Dmytro Chygrynskiy before Nasri cleared Arsenal’s lines.
With nearly half an hour gone, Jadson’s free-kick from the left channel found Chygrynskiy in the box, whose header diverted off Eastmond’s head to give Fabianski no chance of reaching it. Shakhtar were level, but they did not look content.
Eduardo punishes his former team
And sure enough, their lead would come. Left-back Gael Clichy lost out on his wing when he should have cleared the ball, letting Darijo Srna advance into the box and cut back for Eduardo, who applied a left-footed finish as good as any of those he produced at the Emirates to double Shakhtar’s lead.
Ten minutes into the second half, Wilshere combined with Nicklas Bendtner to find himself with a free shot on the edge of the box, but the 18-year-old bent his strike wide of the post when it should have hit the target.
Next to squander a good chance was Sebastien Squillaci, who rose high and completely unmarked to head Clichy’s cross goalwards, but Andriy Pyatov, who had a torrid time in the teams’ first meeting at the Emirates, came down quickly to deny the Frenchman.
Arsenal continue to top Group H on nine points from four games with Shakhtar trailing them on goal difference. SC Braga are third with six points, while FK Partizan have lost all their games so far.