Arsenal 1 - 2 Dortmund
Following a convincing victory at home against Norwich, Arsenal welcomed last year’s Champions League Finalist, Borussia Dortmund to the Emirates. The Gunners were looking sharp, but The Prussians were certainly no pushovers.[quote_right]”As expected, Arsenal were meeting their match in midfield…”[/quote_right]
The game started slow. As expected, Arsenal were meeting their match in midfield, which was making it hard to hold on to the ball for extended periods.
Dortmund were enjoying time on the ball in the first half, testing the Arsenal back line continuously with through-balls and cute passes, so it was no surprise when they broke the deadlock in the sixteenth minute.
Aaron Ramsey made a poor decision on the edge of the box, as he tried to dribble his way out of trouble. The Dortmund players were having none of it, and quickly dispossessed him. The ball eventually fell to Mkhitaryan just outside the area, who smashed it past Szczesney, who might have done better.
The goal rattled Arsenal. For the next few minutes, they struggled to mount even half-chances, whilst Dortmund looked more than comfortable on the ball. Fortunately, they couldn’t capitalise on Arsenal’s vulnerability.
Thankfully, a good cross from Sagna in the fortieth minute handed Arsenal a life-line. A mix up in the Dortmund defence allowed the ball to end up in the air just yards from an open goal, which is where it was met by Giroud’s volley.
The half time whistle soon blew, and Arsenal were in the game, albeit by the skin of their teeth.
In the second half, Arsenal were a slightly different animal. Arteta & Rosicky were starting to come alive offensively as well as defensively, whilst Gibbs and Sagna were pushing further forward in hope of a second goal. [quote_left]”It was hard to take, but that’s what can happen when you dilly-dally against one of the world’s best teams.”[/quote_left]
For the entire second half, Arsenal pushed and probed, all whilst defending relatively well. But still, the spark was missing. Ozil looked tired, Wilshere was out of ideas and The Gunners looked to be sorely missing the pace and energy of Walcott.
Santi Cazorla soon replaced Wilshere, injecting some more ingenuity into the side, but that too, led to nothing.
Eventually, Arsenal’s second half efforts were cruelly snatched away. In the eighty-second minute, Dortmund mounted a strong counter attack. Grosskreutz crossed to the far post, where Arsenal had left Robert Lewandowski untracked and unmarked. The Pole had no trouble beating Szczesney from inside the box.
Arsenal tried to respond, but tired legs on top of the heavy, and slightly unfair blow from Lewandowski, had finished the team off in the final minutes. It was hard to take, but that’s what can happen when you dilly-dally against one of the world’s best teams.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Could have done better with the opening goal, but had no chance with Lewandowski’s late finish. Didn’t do much wrong otherwise.
Bacary started the game awfully, but grew into occasion as time passed. His discomfort on the ball was evident early on, and he made a habit of misplacing passed. Yet, his cross provided our goal, and he looked more confident in the second period. It should also be mentioned that, if anybody should have been tracking Lewandowski,it should have been him.
Per had a decent game. You might have expected him to be out of his depth, but he dealt with danger very well most of the time, thanks to hisgood positional play. However, apart of the defence, he has to shoulder some of the blame for the poor setup leading to the winning goal.
Much like Mertesacker, Koscielny dealt with threats well for most of the game, and didn’t really put a foot wrong. Yet, again, he was part of the poorly organized defence which eventually made it easy for Lewandowski to score.
Kieran did well going forward,always making himself available for the pass going forward. Defensively he was tested, especially in the first half, but did a good job overall. One thing worth mentioning is that Gibbs needs to close down faster. Crosses often creep into our box due to the space he gives wingers.
Started poorly, and didn’t really improve a great deal. Aaron was misplacing passes, and was directly to blame for Dortmund’s opener. Perhaps the yellow kit confused him, as Ramsey was playing as if Arsenal were still 4-1 up against Norwich.
Arteta: [8/10]- MOTM
Mikel was outstanding. He filled the Flamini-role very well, putting in tackles and breaking up play in midfield. His passing game was also on point, as he helped keep the ball moving to the feet of Rosicky and Ozil.
Mesut was quiet, and will no doubt get a well-earned rest this weekend against Crystal Palace. He was reliable as always on the ball, but he was missing his creative spark and energy off the ball.
Tomas kept Arsenal ticking in the final third all game. His passing was mostly very good, and he made intelligent runs both on and off the ball, helping his side hold on to the ball. Helped out defensively too.
Jack hd a steady performance, keeping the ball well, but-much like Ozil couldn’t provide the creativity needed to impose upon Dortmund’s defence.
Olivier was energetic off the ball as usual, and showed some brilliant touches in the first half to lose markers and get beyond defenders. Took his goal well, and probably deserved better service.
Santi injected some pace and energy into the side, and helped the final push on Dortmund’s defence in the final stages of the game. Unfortunately, he couldn’t engineer a goal. Great to see him back though.
Gnabry: [N/A], Bendtner: [N/A]
What can I say, Lewandowski’s goal was definitely and “Ouch” moment. The Gunners were playing well in the second half, but their lack of creativity where it mattered most eventually came back to bite them in the Arsenal.
I wanted to mention how Arsenal missed Flamini, but in all honesty, we didn’t miss him too dearly. Not because he doesn’t do a fantastic job, but because Mikel Arteta did such a fine job of filling in for him. Due to Arsenal’s lack of creativity, Arteta had a lot to do, and without him, the scoreline may have looked worryingly different.
Still, all is not lost. The group is still looking healthy enough, with qualification certainly still within sight. Next up, Crystal Palace away.
What do you think of the Arsenal vs Dortmund match? Share your views in the comments section below!