Dortmund 0-1 Arsenal: 4 Questions & Answers
Arsenal beat Borussia Dortmund 1-0 to move a huge step closer to securing qualification to the knockout stages. Here, Gunner333 gives his thoughts on the game
Arsenal beat Borussia Dortmund 1-0 on Wednesday night to move a huge step closer to securing qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League. Here, Gunner333 gives us his thoughts on the game.
Arsenal locked horns with Dortmund in their penultimate fixture of a tough trilogy of games. Both sides were seeking three-points which would potentially tilt the group in their favour. Wenger continued with five men in midfield, including ex-Dortmund man Tomas Rosicky. Jürgen Klopp’s side was strong, despite being without Gündogan, Hummels and Piszcek.
There was a sense of respect between either side as both failed to take the risk of breaking forwards in the early stages. In a bland first-half, the greatest opportunity fell to Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Advantage played by the official allowing Blaszczykowski to set up the Armenian, who could only fire wide from 18 yards.
Dortmund started strongly after the break which resulted in a Reus header forcing a great save from Szczesny. It continued to be a frustrating night for Klöpp’s side, having two goals disallowed for offside after countless attacks, but it was about to get a lot worse.
On a rare attack, Ozil’s cross was headed down by Giroud and man-of-the-moment Aaron Ramsey was on hand to head home a vital goal. The Welshman looking as though he finds it more difficult not to score at present. The goal sparked life back into Arsenal’s play and Ramsey again could have doubled our lead but Weidenfeller made a crucial save.
We saw surprisingly little response from a flabbergasted Borussia Dortmund as Arsenal gained an advantage in group F with a 1-0 win, avenging the earlier defeat to the German side in North London. Arguably, along with the victory over Liverpool on Saturday, the greatest result of the campaign so far.
Here are four questions and answers from an incredible result.
1) New-found defensive resilience?
All night long we were under pressure from one of the best attacking sides in Europe. We suffered a severe lack of chances in the first-half but remained calm and collected to resist any pressure the home side through our way.
Given the fact we were once a side surrendering a four-goal lead against Newcastle some years back, we have come on massively in our defensive resilience, particularly when you consider we were playing without an ‘out-and-out’ defensive minded midfielder. If we are the be successful this season, our solidity at the back will be key.
2) First Halves – Flat or Consolidating?
Although we are currently winning games consistently, we still seem to be starting games pretty slowly and fail to make an attacking impact in the opening stages. The main question is, are we just battling the inability to hit the ground running or is this all part of our game-plan?
Overall I believe we have a plan in place. Wenger looks to simply settle the nerves in big games and pounce in the second half when the opposition is tiring. This has been working well so far this season and it minimises the risk of us being hit on the counter. Hopefully we’ll see this pay off on Sunday against United.
3) What are our priorities?
This excellent form has left us with a bit of a dilemma. Both our league and European form is excellent, but we have a thin squad which seems to attract injuries. To compete across the board you need depth in every department and while we continue to have several key players on the treatment table, we simply lack the squad depth to sustain this form over the course of the season while trying to compete for the league and Champions League.
Our bench has been extremely weak for weeks now and this same 11 players can’t keep playing game after game. January is just around the corner and Wenger simply has to act if our squad is this thin.
4) How key is confidence?
In every game this season we have exhibited great determination in surging forwards to create chance-after-chance. We play far more direct than ever and by doing this have adopted a new style of play.
This has had a massive positive effect on results and not only are the goals flying in, but we are holding our own at the back. With just one new addition in the Summer, we have transformed through not only improved performances but also new confidence. A player such as Aaron Ramsey is a key example of just how important confidence is in top players.
A terrific result which sets us up nicely for Saturday . Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below.
Thanks to Gunner333 for submitting this post. If you’d like to contribute, please get in touch.