Back

All-out-attack Arsenal let three-goal lead slip against Anderlecht

While Arsenal have a five-point cushion either side them in second place in Champions League Group D, they could have already secured qualification to the last 16 and kept the pressure on runaway leaders Borussia Dortmund.

However, they let slip a 3-0 lead at the Emirates against less-fancied Belgian side Anderlecht until the 61st minute, when right back Anthony Vanden Borre inspired a sensational comeback.

The Belgium international had only ever scored one Champions League goal in his previous 22 games, but he netted the first two here (the second being a penalty) for his side as they secured a late 3-3 draw. Substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic got the crucial injury time equaliser.

It was sweet revenge for Anderlecht after their defeat at the death last time out against the Gunners, when they led 1-0 until the 89th minute when Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski netted to take all three points back to London.

But although Arsenal are still in a terrific position to progress from their group with two games to spare, Arsene Wenger will be bitterly disappointed that his side could be so careless.

Anderlecht were promising in the early stages of the game, with Frank Acheampong, Dennis Praet and Sacha Kljestan all having decent chances to go ahead, but Gunners skipper Mikel Arteta opened the scoring from the spot after Danny Welbeck was fouled.

Alexis Sanchez then hit in his 11th goal of the season, to give his side a 2-0 lead at half time. A third by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 58th minute all-but assured Arsenal victory, had they not attempted to go for more.

But discipline went completely out of the window, and Wenger’s side began to show complacency, as they continued to push a number of men forward even when the score was 3-1 and then 3-2.

“The result is very disappointing,” Wenger said after the game. “I think overall defensively we were poor from the first to the last minute today.

“We had a bit of bad luck because the first goal was offside but then there was a lack of concentration because we thought the job was done.

“When they came back to 3-2 you want to be secure and we were maybe not cautious enough because we wanted to score a fourth. But if you look at the second and third goals it’s very poor defending.

“I was never completely sure that we were not in danger because you could see that for the whole game we did not defend well.”

But Arsenal will surely learn form this, and need just two points from their final two games against Dortmund at home and then away to Galatasaray. The Gunners are 8/1 chances to top their pool, and heavily odds-on at 1/33 to qualify.