Borussia Dortmund 1 – 1 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

Oh God! What does one say after a game like that. Great fighting spirit and a gritty display for a well-earned away point at a difficult venue? Terrible performance that shows the Gunners just aren’t good enough anymore? I guess it depends on one’s mentality and the spin that suits it. As mentioned in the preview, I wasn’t expecting a win but a more assured performance would have been encouraging for the future.

I was worried when I saw Benayoun in the midfield with Gervinho and Walcott on the flanks. That meant Arsenal had two wide players who are too direct and can’t really contribute to the possession game and two midfielders who haven’t had much time to understand what is required of them.

Thankfully, Dortmund showed a lot of respect and didn’t pin the Gunners as far back as they could have, and indeed did in the second half once they figured out the game was there for the taking.

The first half was fairly open and both sides created a number of half-chances. Arsenal’s defence was constantly under pressure but Dortmund were pedestrian in the attacking third in one-v-one situations, when they got to the by-line, and when they had acres of space around the box.

The thrills and chills started in the 5th minute when Gervinho got half a chance only to be denied by some good last gasp defending.

Minute or so later, at the other end, Großkreutz hit one over the bar when well placed. Just as the clock reached double figures, Kagawa got in behind clean with Koscielny attempting an ill-advised off-side trap. Hummels was able to find him with absolutely no pressure on the ball. Clear lack of tactical cohesion from Arsenal and a sign of things to come, for both sides, as Kagawa’s attempt was terrible.

A couple of minutes later Goetze was able to lift one over for Lewandowski who rounded Szczesny but his lame attempt was cleared off the line by Sagna. Credit must go to Sagna and Mertesacker (was it Koscielny?) who got back on the line but the ease with which the defence was opened up was disappointing.

Arsenal were really struggling to bring the ball out from defence as Arteta and Benayoun just weren’t able to deal with the pressure effectively enough. Their off the ball movement wasn’t very good either and with Walcott and Gervinho on the flanks the out-ball was proving hard to find.

For a few minutes the game descended into a midfield tussle and neither side was able to create anything. Arsenal won a corner in the 18th minute. The Keeper was able to punch it out and Goetze sparked a counter after a neat drop of the shoulder was enough to leave Gervinho stranded. Again the shot was disappointingly wayward from the hosts’ point of view.

Arsenal were getting some glimpses and openings but the home side got enough bodies behind to keep things tight once the ball reached their defensive third. Their Keeper wasn’t being tested and looked comfortable.

Benayoun’s first meaningful contribution came after the half-hour mark when he found Van Persie with a lovely ball. The Dutchman’s strike was saved resulting in a corner.

The goal came after a sloppy pass by a Dortmund midfielder (Bender?) that sold Hummels short. Van Persie was able to slide and nick the ball away. Walcott pounced on it as  RvP got up and made an intelligent run. The hosts were caught unawares and the gap in their defence was finally exploited. Walcott had all the time in the world while Van Persie had all the space. The assist was simple but effective. The captain’s finish with his chocolate leg was emphatic (Anyone else thinks RvP’s right can no longer be considered his weaker foot?).

It was a completely different game after half-time. Dortmund came out and pressed even higher up the pitch. They kept pushing the Gunners back and most of the half was one-way traffic. Arsenal couldn’t keep the ball. There was some excellent last gasp defending with Song putting in a monstrous shift. Arteta too was handy but Benayoun was chasing shadows.

I got a feeling the ball was coming into the Arsenal box every minute but Szczesny wasn’t being tested as much. Cramping the central area with a number of bodies was working for the Gunners even if it looked ungainly (from a neutral’s point of view) or scary (from a Gooner’s point of view).

The only threat to the hosts’ goal was coming from long distance shots and free-kicks that couldn’t beat the wall.

Arsenal did get a golden chance to double the lead just after the hour mark. I don’t recall who it was that played a wonderful ball over the top (probably Sagna or Mertesacker from deep on the right), but it fell kindly for Gervinho after Subotic’s outstretched boot couldn’t take it away.

The Ivorian stumbled, regained his balance, beat a defender, and then hit a powerless strike straight at the Keeper while struggling to find his composure. Walcott was free on his left and a simple sideways tap would have given the Englishman an open goal to shoot at. It was typical Gervinho – exciting and frustrating at the same time.

After that it was a familiar routine of a hoof from the defence coming back into the defensive third within moments. The team just didn’t have the right shape to transition from defence to attack. Even when the defenders tried to hold the ball and look up there just weren’t enough options. Arteta and Benayoun were quite poor in this regard whereas Walcott and Gervinho were getting sucked too deep to defend. Song was trying hard but he too lacked options to pass even after he won his individual battle.

Dortmund were excellent with their pressing but Arsenal were making them look like Barcelona, till they got to the final third that is.

With under than ten minutes left, Dortmund got an excellent chance from corner as a ball dropped at the feet of Subotic. His tap lacked venom and Szczesny was able to save as the ball got stuck under his feet.

By now some must have felt that it just wasn’t going to go in while others would have been thinking it was just a matter of time before the equalizer came. I thought the former every time a chance was wasted and the latter as soon as the ball came back into the danger areas. Not good for the heart I tell you.

With two minutes of normal time remaining, Dortmund finally scored from a wonder strike. Once again the Gunners cleared a free-kick only to be beaten by a delightful volley from outside the box. When a team pulls so many players back that there is no pressure on the man shooting, it is always a risk.

Szczesny then made a big save and the hosts looked like the only team that could find a winner. In the end, Arsenal’s grinding display was enough for a point.

Individual Performances

Szczesny: Excellent with his collection, rushed his distribution on occasion when the team needed a moment to regroup, made a couple of decent saves, can’t blame him for the performance or the goal.

Sagna: Worked hard, got in some valuable last gasp touches, wasn’t able to contribute going forward but that was not his fault.

Mertesacker: Won a few headers but not as dominant as one might expect, read the game well, showed a good understanding with other defenders, made the blocks/interceptions/tackles when the need arose.

Koscielny: Another brilliant display from the Frenchman. Apart from the initial mistake where he let Kagawa through, he was almost flawless. Read the game well, cut out a number of dangerous balls, blocked a couple of ferocious strikes, could also have created a goal but Van Persie was just off-side. Struggled to get the ball forward in the first half as Arteta wasn’t moving well enough.

Gibbs: Gave the ball away on a few occasions with misplaced passes or poor touches but did well to recover. His pace was immensely valuable. Needs to read the game better.

I thought the back five were under pressure for large parts of the game and must be commended for holding out. None of them was culpable for the goal and they’d be right in demanding more from the players in front. More importantly the manager has to find tactics that suit the players he has.

Song: MotM in my opinion. Was the only midfield player who dominated nearly all his individual battles. Made some vital tackles in and around the box, chased the ball all over the pitch, wasn’t as effective with his passing but lacked options far too often.

Arteta: Defensively his contribution was quite good. Tracked back, put his foot in when needed, and won some headers in the box. But he offered very little in terms of transition from attack to defence. Off-the-ball movement wasn’t that great, won some individual battles but should be offering a lot more. Looked more like a hard working Everton player rather than a dominant Arsenal midfielder but I don’t want to blame him this early in his Arsenal career as he deserves some time to adapt.

Benayoun: Sorry but awful is the only word that comes to mind. Ran a lot but rather aimlessly, gave the ball away in dangerous areas, lost a number of individual tussles, wasn’t able to shake off his man to become available for receiving passes. He too needs time to adapt but I am disappointed with the decision to pick him in such a role and then leaving him on till the end.

I thought Arsenal got steamrolled in the middle of the park. Dortmund were better at pressing, at retaining the ball, with their movement, and only lacked the final pass. Only redeeming aspects for Arsenal were the work-rate, defensive concentration, and tackling.

Not only did this put the defence under constant pressure, it left the attack isolated and toothless.

Walcott: Wasn’t able to get on the ball often enough and ended up spending too much time deep in the Arsenal half. Good alertness and composure for the assist.

RvP: Tremendous effort, superb finish, must be disappointed with the service.

Gervinho: Very energetic and lively on the ball. Also did a fair bit of tracking. Wasn’t able to use the ball very well and ran into traffic far too often. Should have been aware of Walcott’s position around the hour mark.

There are some weaknesses in the attack when players like Gervinho and Walcott are picked. They aren’t the best of defenders and can’t be expected to contribute towards the tiki-taka part of the game that is essential to control the tempo and soak up pressure. Gervinho is arguably a bit better than Walcott in that regard but they aren’t at the technical level that current tactics demand.

When combined with the midfield issues, this gave Dortmund complete control of the game in the second half.

Pat Rice/Wenger: I thought Benayoun in the starting line-up was a big mistake. Frimpong should have been introduced earlier for the Israeli and Santos for Theo. But the real issue is with the overall tactical set-up of the team which has caused problems against all the teams thus far. I am hoping Arsene will be able to adapt the tactics to suit the lack of technical quality in the team and to exploit the direct threat that has been added. So far it hasn’t happened.


38 Responses to Borussia Dortmund 1 – 1 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. Tim says:

    I’m definitely seeing the positive side of a gritty performance. Finally, an Arsenal side who dug in and defended as if their lives depended on it.

    Largely in agreement with your player assessments, although I think you’re a bit harsh on Benayoun. He didn’t offer very much in attack – although there was one terrific pass to set up a van Persie chance on the half-hour – but his defensive workrate was excellent and I thought it was telling that when Walcott went off he switched to the left to protect Gibbs.

    Song was definitely my MotM. In the second half in particular, he always seemed to be where he needed to be and he didn’t make any silly fouls. Very disciplined, very effective.

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2011/09/13/arsenal-show-substance-as-perisic-wonder-goal-leaves-honours-even/

    • santori says:

      Gibbs was guilty of some loose clearances. All fine and dandy clearing the ball but he put it back out to Dortmund (as did several of our players but Gibbs was most culpable)

      I think there was a fair amount of understanding yet to develop between our new additions and the older players and that made us a little tentative playing ourselevs out from the back.

      Largely agree that we are back to not utilising our assetes out wide better.

      Which is the reason why I feel AA would have been better service for us in the middle behind RVP with his distribution.

      We would have had to modify toa 4-4-1-1 (or 4-14-1) but that would IMO have offered us better purchase in midfield and the extra body going forward through the middle (thereby enabling Walcott and Gervinho more width)

      Good assist by Theo BTW.

  2. chengiskhan says:

    We have definitely missed Wilshere and even Rosicky in midfield. I couldn’t believe our inability to keep possession. Made me feel nostalgic for that quartet of Hleb/Flamini/Fabregas/Rosicky. Often times, when the pressure is tight, the receiver of the ball needs to turn the defender with a single touch. Rosicky is great at this. Arteta and Benayoun unfortunately would simply pass backward way too often. Frimpong actually showed how it is done when he came on late in the game.

  3. RockyLives says:

    Good report Desi but I feel our performance was better than you have described.

    If it had been a Mourinho team or even ManUre, the press would be banging on about a brilliant defensive display. With us, no doubt it will be about how we threw a lead away again.

    It’s important to recognize where our boys did well. For example you imply the Subotic miss with 10mins remaining was a case of him not connecting properly. Take a look at the replay. He had virtually no option but to hit it at Szczesney because if he had gone either side an Arsenal man was on hand to block. Basically, it was excellent last ditch defending.

    Agree Song was MoTM, with Kozzer a close second (how many heads did he win? Phenomenal effort). Think you’re being hard on Benny. He made some horrible passing blunders when he first came on, but settled down and, while clearly not yet in the groove, gave a fantastic display of work rate and effort.

    Finally, you would have preferred to start with Song and Pingpong. Well, we started with them in the away leg at Udine and it was so unsuccessful that AW had to change it at half time to save the game.

  4. cupsui says:

    Agree with Tim, Yossi worked really hard, he wasn’t getting the ball from arteta much who for me was the more dissappointing of the two but he did have a better 2nd half. Koscienly was immense in the 2nd half esp the last 20mins. With an authoritative CD alongside him (ala TV5 or Merte) he is a beast! credit to him cause he has been bagged by too many fans!

    Song was incredible MOTM for me too!
    great game, god i hope we sign goetze we need his movement!

  5. mic says:

    Desi,I Disagree with you on benayoun. He was immense defensively. Walcott was poor and except for the assist,he just ran into brick walls. A lot of arsenal fans re stupid to slate kos,this guy is an intelligent tackler. Overall the team did okay away to a decent dortmund side.

  6. gooner4life says:

    Let’s be frank.Even with new signings in Jan,the gunners are unlikely to win the cl.Teams vying to win the cl must have a nucleus of key players. The most important key players have been sold. The most the the gunners can be happy with is finishing fourth .Even if the gunners can reach the qf and sf stages it is better to be eliminated than to be cannon fodder in the final.This is no disrespect to Wenger.
    In actual fact,the gunners were under the cosh most of the time and if the Germans had been clinical,it would have been worse.I know this is the early stage and remember the gunners were hot favourites after beating a Dutch team with Gilberto scoring the fastest goal then.That was at least seven to nine years ago.
    The defence can be easily turned and I am afraid a strong defence is a top,top ,top,priority for all teams aspiring to win games.
    I hope Wenger is his mantra that attack wins you games doesn’t lose sight of the fact that defence wins you games.

    • theGoon says:

      please i am rallying and begging everyone who has chance to attend these games to chant” Bring back keown!!” during the games. its probably the best effort to get it thru to the wenger and board that keown was the best defense coach and we want him back!!cos thats top priority right now is a defense coach, did you see what he did with those freshers – flamini,eboue, toure, cygan, sanderos. he drilled them big time they got us to the finals. please i beg this is a serious request

  7. Arsenalforever says:

    I think our defensive problems are due to this offside trap and high line crap we are addicted to,, as we have seen in the second half when we drop deep and decided to DEFEND, kuzzer was a diiferent player,, and so was every one around him,,that tells you we good defenders,, but poor defensive tactics,, something wenger needs to sort out.
    on a slightly positive note,, I think Now we can say we have a Spine
    world class keeper,, a good centre back, an exellent defensive midfielder,, and a world class striker

    • Waleed says:

      It is not poor defensive tactics. When you sit back you also lose something in attack.
      We do not really play that high of a line, but the idea is to stay COMPACT and not allow space between players for the opponents to pass through. That requires the defenders push up to squeeze space.
      It’s not Wenger’s tactics, the Dutch invented it long before you were born. But it is a brilliant tactic that WORKS!

      • santori says:

        Yeah but we were too deep and invariabkly, the pressure told.

        I believe to be fair to Pat, he was trying to get the team to attack the ball earlier and further up.

        BUT Chamakh was a passenger for this sort of operation.

        Much rather see someone with speed right up top harry the opponents and give them a thing ot two to think about.

  8. Scott says:

    Yossi hasn’t got too much game time under his belt,and his timing is not quite there,but I thought he did well.
    Koscielny,MOTM for mine.
    One blemish early on,but was brilliant overall.
    I am surprised nobody is really talking about his 40 yard,near pinpoint passing game that has come to the fore lately…….he will be one of the best in the business by the end of the season.
    Mertesacker is a brilliant positional defender.
    I actually though Gervinho was woeful in the first half,but much improved in the second.
    Big Alex was great…fantastic player.
    RVP…..superb tackle to force the error,and great finish.
    Szczesny,just his average performance,which is brilliant.
    Seriously,considering if was an away game,against quality opposition,if anyone is NOT happy with that performance,then nothing short of winning 4 trophies will satisfy them.
    Oh,one last point.
    Goetze was just ok to me. That is the first time I have seen him play,so I may be unfair,but if he’s worth 30 million,Jack is worth 60. Again,I am almost certainly being harsh.
    Great result,two fantastic goals,and a fair scoreline.

  9. SirMilton says:

    I have to disagree with everyone calling Song as their MotM. Whilst he was indeed superb in the second half and made some vital tackles throughout, I felt he gave away the ball way too much in the first half when his experience of the Arsenal system was needed to help bring Arteta and Yossi into the game more.
    Koscielny was my MoTM by a long way.

  10. FoolishgooNer says:

    I said in you preview Desi. Song is fresh will be ready to perform and will wear the armband! The guy is a beast. Offensively Yossi is a hard worker but not a good possession midfielder. The rest battled to the last minute, good to see that we can keep a lead. I don’t like Woj’s possitioning he gets beat to his left way too easly. He needs to watch Van dar Saar/ Casitas/ Ceasar. Even Lukas Fab can help in that regard. But the goal wasn’t his vault. Pat rice rested the Mad Russian! Good start great point. This team plus Wilshere Rosicky possession game will be better.

    • santori says:

      The way Diormund commited forward in numbers is something we should take note of for our own game.

      Dalglish enforced a similar rule which effectively changed the lethality of Liverpool’s attack overnight.

      We’re not commited forward in numbers quite quickly enough although we did show some good and promising spells.

      Something to be worked upon.

  11. ne says:

    jezzz i miss the match due to working……but tot arshavin would be i the hole instead of benny. But its ok, good result with a patching squad. 2nd game after less then a week assembling as a team no bad..funny to think it was pat as a manager…nice work.

  12. sam says:

    playing arshavin would have been a disaster. he had 3 games in 10 days and deserves a good rest. i am thinking the same about our captain too. we have a large squad now a slight rotation would protect our players from injuries especially harmstrings. it will be a good idea to keep him on the bench saturday and start with park or santos in front of gibbs. walcott in the middle and gervinho on the right.
    not being paranoid and blackburn won’t be easy but van persie needs a rest.

    • santori says:

      Not really.

      We don’t have to play him the entire duration of the match. He will naturally tire anyway.

      But had we put him in at very least first half, I think we would have gotten better use of our flanks and gave them something to think about if they decided to sally forward in numbers (Dortmund were good value for money)

  13. DFO says:

    Yes! We can defend! It’s time we admitted this to ourselves.

    I think Benny needs some fitness work, he was hunched over by 60 minutes – I was inwardly screaming for Rice to sub him for Arshavin. Otherwise I think he was playing to impress and hopefully he’ll get his nerves in further matches.

    It’s too early to judge but so far Arteta looks more defensive than offensive in terms of quality. I’d like to see him play with Wilshere to see how that pans out. Man can he dribble through tight spots though.

    Oh Walcott, how many times did the ball get stuck into your feet and you didn’t know what to do with it?

    Gervinho is going to be a monster once he settles.

    I don’t think Sczezny saw that volley coming, hence the lack of movement – the replay showed a crowd in front of him. So lucky for BD!

    Arsenal did amazing in front of 80000 hostile fans who sang the pants off any EPL team’s supporters I’ve ever heard.

  14. BarDel says:

    We showed our defensive ability and I think it’s fair to say that our defence has improved over last season. The entire back 5 were great, especially Kos and Song.

    One thing I noticed was that I felt less concerned about corners and free kicks now that we have Mert standing in the box. I feel like he creates a sense of security, which I think improves the overall confidence of the back line.

    I like the energy that Gervinho was bringing, but it felt like he was constantly running into a brick wall. Better awareness and some more creativity would help.

    Finally… SONG was awesome! MotM.

  15. NJGunner says:

    The strangest thing for me watching that game was having a goalie that you have confidence in – every time a ball was crossed into the box, you knew Szczesny would deal with it. Its been a long time…….and hopefully that confidence will spread to the rest of the defence. MOM = Kos.

  16. WafflingWenger says:

    I’m glad you brought up the point on the directness of Gervinho/Walcott Desi. Gervinho in particular seems to plays with his head down and runs straight at goal.

    More than anything at the moment, we’re missing Jack’s link up play between the defense and midfield and someone who can link the defense and strikers – that is, a creative, technical attacking minded player in the mold of Gotze and Kagawa. For such a posession-orientated side, our passing game looks pretty disjointed at the moment.

    • santori says:

      We only have two players who can carry the ball forward at the moment. That would be Jack and Diaby (both unavailable).

      I believe we are demonstrably more workmanlike but on face of it, we still seem short of one more flair player.

      Perhaps when Benayoun runs his cause, we will be back in for a midfield potential in Hazard, Hamsik or for the matter Goetze.

  17. MSL says:

    I think the grit came from experienced players. Yossi and Arteta though horrible as a midfield team gave us the experience to defend well. Yossi went ahead aimlessly I agree but he did more than his share of defensive work. His first touch needs some work because he has been out for a while.

    Wenger went for CL experience with Yossi over Frimpong. Coquelin is not fully fit to play and I think the gamble was right if one assumes that we went there in a mood to minimize potential damage.

    • santori says:

      Thought adding Frimpong was the right thing and he immediately provided us some bite.

      But we took two steps back with Chamakh in, effectively diminishing our potential outlet and putting us back under pressure.

      Pat Rice is simply not up to it. We need a better assistant, and someone not afraid to make big 9and sound) tactical decisions.

  18. santori says:

    I didn’t think Gervinho was on his game today.

    Got into some decent positions but ran into traffic too often. He would have been better dragging the ball wide in this instance and waiting for the team to move up a little.

    But on the whole, the team’s offball movement was lacking and I believe partly due to the tentativeness in which we approached the game, partly due to unfamiliarity issues.

    Koscielny was excellent today (mistake apart).

    Benayoun worked hard and I believe that would prob be the reason why he started ahead of AA. Good ball to RVP that eventually hit the side netting but I don’t think central position is Benny’s strong suit.

    Considering Dortmund were themselves guilty of the jitters, I would have started Andrei first and put them under pressure, give them something to think about before going forward. Then Frimpong in when we’ve secured a reasonable dominance.

    I thought the tactical set up (Benny part) was otherwise decent. Subs were logical with exception of CHamakh for RVP.

    Chamakh is useful when you have dominance of midfield and are chasing the game. He is utterly useless when we are defending a lead.

    Would have preffered someone quicker who could help us harry higher up the picth or at very leasy Park, whom you know will chase every lost cause.

    Decent result but we have some ways to go to re-establish our fluency. Still gritty win for me and much better defending overall. Attacking fluency should kick in in due course.

  19. rr05 says:

    what a match!!very proud of the team….there was a moment in the second half where we showed excellent defensive possession…
    something which we were crying out loud for…talking about desi’s fav topic on how space between def and mid should be lesser last season….yesterday that space was non existent…..so much so that there was RVP all the way back in our box ;)…

  20. santori says:

    “We’ll have our normal preparation, nothing changes on the day of the game,” he said. “We have preparation in the morning and in the afternoon we have team meetings. But when I arrive at the stadium, I cannot go to the dressing room.

    “I don’t know if I will have somebody [from UEFA with me],” he joked. “I don’t think I will be man-marked! If you want to respect the rule strictly you should be marked by two men – one on the right and one on the left. Because if one is sitting to my right, I can talk to the guy on my left!

    “No, I will send my vibes and hope they will not be detected by UEFA. I’ll give my teamtalk at the hotel before we go to the game.

    “After that, I have to leave it to Pat Rice because it’s not allowed. We will go through all the situations before the game and Pat will make the right decisions.

    “For once,” he added with a smile, “I will have somebody else to blame!”

    Absolutely love it! 😀

  21. Amey says:

    Hi Desi,

    I follow your blog, commenting for the first time.
    One thing I noticed was how easily Hummels was bombing forward and picking out his long range passes. He almost started all the attacks for Dortmund. i have to say there is really something wrong with the pressing game of arsenal. Is there stamina issue for most of the arsenal players? Because when you look at United, almost all their players cover entire pitch with pace and don’t seem get tired. We have many with no pace and stamina. That should be addressed

  22. Mark says:

    frimpong for benayoun makes no sense. we would have had song, frimpong and arteta, who are all slow and not the most creatively gifted players, nor can any of those three be dangerous with the dribble.
    i think in time benayoun can have a really good impact for arsenal this season.
    Playing Arteta i think is just depriving a more talented prospect from playing and making a better contribution. When wilshere and ramsey are back i cant see Arteta playing much. Perhaps he can be an impact player off the bench when we need a lift.
    a points a fair result but disappointed that dortmund were able to get in behind us so easily at times.

  23. terry says:

    i think arteta was pretty good he and song played pretty well

    i think benayoun should play on the right…. walcott should definately play on the left even thoug he does not have skill and the ability create something out of npthin he has a gift that is pace and if he plays on the left and he cuts in is very dangerous…..

    i would prefer our front three to be this : theo RVP Benayoun

    he is not a CAM boz of his style of playing he RUNS A LOT as you say…. do u see the reason NASRI, ROSICKY, BENAYOUN, DIABY, RAMSAY are not good CAM’s or will never be is coz they love dribble the ball… if you watch cecs he used to pass more look for players to make runs and run less with the ball…

    Look at gotze he passes more and dribbles less….

    let the wingers do the dribbling….

    overall we played very well i dont have complains from any players.

    all we missed out there was GOTZE who was playing for our opposition … imagine him in our team we could be sooooo dangerous.

  24. johnny says:

    I think you are too harsh on the team. Obvoiusly, Yossi was a starter because of his experience and he remained on the field because of his workrate. In the 2nd half we had a great defensive display and I think I really like Big Mert.
    I also believe that you didn’t see too much of Borussia’s games. They are an excellent squad, a squad that simply trashed Bayern Munich last season. And we shouldn’t forget that Bayern had Schweinsteiger, Ribery, M.Gomez, Robben, Th.Muller, Lucio, etc. I think most of the Arsenal fans would take any of thiose in our team.
    At the same time, we played in front of 70,000 German fans against a young team that didn’t play a ChLeague game in the last 7 or 8 years. It’s obvious that they wanted to win and put in an incredible effort (their pressing was similar with Barcelona’s for real). In spite of all these (plus the infamous 8-2), the boys played well enough for a win (Borussia’s goal was sthing that you don’t see very often).
    It’s a bit unclear to me what tactics Arsenal want to use. It seems that Wenger is using September like the pre-season period, trying to see what can he do with our new squad additions. The last two games should make it clear for him that the tactics from Cesc-era don’t work in the post Cesc-era.

  25. Yang says:

    Dortmund get too many good chances. Arsenal team suffer from lacking of understanding between players it seems which is understandable.

    Dortmund forward line players are not great. Even though they have few 1-on-1 chances. I didn’t feel any threatening from opposition forward players.

    Both teams have similar number of good chances but I expected far more from Arsenal players. Attacking wise it is very poor performance. No central attacking movement at all.

    It is very decent result anyway still team need time to gel up.

  26. critic says:

    How can you make comments on “off the ball movement” of arsenal players when you can’t even make up your mind who was who?

    Was it sagna or mertesacker?
    Was it Kozzer or mertesacker?

    REALLY?

  27. Devonte says:

    Desi, you sound depressed. I saw a different game from you. I’m proud of the work rate from our lads at defendin. Also the experience our new lads brought us in keeping cool for most of that.

    Dortmund are a very difficult team on their patch. Their home record says it all.

    Well done Gunners for the defendin. Credit to Rice for gettin us through large parts of that.

    I think the Arsenal of last season would hav crumbled in that match yday.

    Wat too harsh on Benayoun!

  28. Greencard usa says:

    A most welcome performance from Arsenal to eek out a draw through some dogged and solid defending by the team. Days before the match few truly gave the gunners a hope of staving off a defeat! So well done, gunners. A concern I have is the almost perennial losing of the ball to the opposition especially in the middle of the park. This I believe has much to do in weakening our offence, especially when moving from defence to attack. A lot of times I see players passing the ball to other players who are also under pressure and have lesser probability of success than the one passing the ball. In other words poorly chosen passes. I wonder why this is the case. Is it a consequence of that dumb line of stats that considers successful passes without the quality or consequences of those passes? Or, is it simply panic of not being able to hold on to the ball or go past an opposition player? In many instances, it seems that it would have been better if the player simply lost the ball while in possession rather than passing to a player more likely to lose it in a more dangerous position.

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