Point made. Boruissa Dortmund 1-1 Arsenal.

Last night saw the return of the Champions League ‘proper’ and a very tough game was first up for us, Ze German champions Borussia Dortmund. By some crazy method of UEFA calculations, we drew Dortmund in pot 4. So the German Champions were actually meant to represent the weakest team in the group, they were far from that.

Dev’s predicted line up was close… but not quite right. Arsenal lined up with the expected back four and strike force but with Benyaoun preferred instead of Frimpong. A bold move from Le boss who went for ball retention and experience over a more defensively minded player.

 

Szcznesy

Sagna – Mertersacker – Koscielny – Gibbs

Benyaoun – Song

Walcott – Arteta – Gervinho

Van Persie

The pre-match atmosphere was simply amazing, while only watching on the box, you could tell why they call it the ‘wall of sound’ at Dortmund. When the teams lined up RVP couldn’t help but take a look round in awe… jealous Robin? I was!!

As soon as the game started, Arsenal were under the cosh. Dortmund were buoyed by the deafening partisan crowd and they took the game to Arsenal, ready to exploit any sloppiness and hesitation. A number of chances came and went with our offside trap completely non existent and Sagna having to make a goal line clearance. For me, Song was isolated. Every time the ball came near him he had at least two players around him and was being forced into mistakes. Arsenal’s first chance of note came from our best offensive player in the opening exchanges, Gervinho. Gervinho seems to have the knack of just popping up in the box at the right time and his opportunist close range shot was saved by up the upright keeper.

Arsenal grew in confidence as the game went on and after a couple of decent chances from Theo and RVP, Arsenal took an unlikely lead through RVP. An under hit pass was fantastically read by RVP who slid in to knock it to Theo. Theo took a couple steps forward and took two defenders out with a delicious through ball to RVP, who curled it round the keeper from the edge of the box with his right foot. Yes, his chocolate leg. 1 nil to the Arsenal on the 42nd.

The aim of the second half  was simple, don’t let them repeat their first half chances again because they will score. To be fair, we didn’t. Arsenal struggled to get the ball from Dortmund for long periods but we had tightened up and were not conceding possession in vital area’s easily.

We did have to call upon Szcz a number of times to make a couple of world class point blanks saves but this keeper takes them in his stride. How many times have you watched Cech, Van der sar or Reina make a save look easy? Szcz will save up points by making his job look easy.

Our only real chance of the second half fell to Gervinho who admirably (or stupidly) stayed on his feet after being slightly tripped but couldn’t get his shot away when one on one with the keeper. We haven’t had a chance to watch much of Gervinho this season but the guy is a threat. He’s got pace to burn, great ball control but has the ability to lose possession cheaply if he tries to be too clever. He will improve.

Unfortunately our luck didn’t hold out and in the 88th minute, Arsenal fell victim to another ‘goal of the season’ contender. As Arsenal cleared a corner, the ball fell to Perisic who hit an amazing dipping left foot volley that flew straight into the top corner with Szcz a spectator.

The final score, 1-1. A good point at the noisy German champions.

For the first 30mins Arsenal rode their luck and then some. But this was to be expected from an exciting young team who have been starved of Champions league action for a number of years.

The players who stood out for me were Sagna, Koscielney and Song. Sagna is the best right back in the country, no arguments. Always reliable and a warrior in his approach to the game. Last ditch tackles and goals line clearances helped rescue us during tough periods.

Koscienly showed against Barcelona at home last season he is a ‘footballing defender’. He doesn’t love the rough and tumble of some premiership games but when he plays against a footballing team his ability to read the game and break up play is fantastic. I really thought he had a great game.

The man of the match for me was Alex Song. During the first half he was breaking up play but trying to be too clever and guilty of losing the ball cheaply. In the second half, Song was the ultimate defensive midfielder.  See it, intercept it and pass it, nice and simple. The crowd were getting agitated and frustrated every time he won a tackle; music to Arsenal’s ears. We need to Song to keep it simple yet effective more often. There are too many times where he has taken the ball too far up the field only to lose it thus leaving us exposed.

We picked up a good point today and our confidence will continue to grow. Next up Blackburn away, a completely different challenge to say the least!

 

 

 

(Feedback welcome on twitter – @Tottz82)

  • AmriGooner

    Nice summerizing of the game.
    But Tottz, I’m sure their goal came after
    a free kick not a corner.

  • Steve

    Two points come to mind from the above

    1) Can Arsenal improve the accoustic’s at the Emirate Stadium. The money spent could be better than a new player

    2) from Tottz quote above

    “Koscienly showed against Barcelona at home last season he is a ‘footballing defender’.”

    I cannot understand why he is not used as a sweeper/ DM. Would love to see him in front of TV & PM

    May also help us out of the Nations Cup issues early next year. Song & Frimpong gone.

  • AmriGooner

    @ Steve:
    That’s right.
    I think Kos would be a good replacement
    for Song and Frimpong. But I think wenger is intending
    to use Coquiline instead and that’s why he is giving
    him the chance every time possible.
    I remeber the last time Song went to African Cup when
    we promoted Eastmond to the first team to cover his position.

  • afc4life

    Great blog Tottz!

    “‘wall of sound’ at Dortmund. When the teams lined up RVP couldn’t help but take a look round in awe… jealous Robin? I was!!”

    - It was amazing to hear that atmosphere – and it makes me think why do we not have the same in England – especially the Emirates?

    - I heard that tickets to yesterday’s game were 15 euros and that included a days travel around the city too – is that why the calibre of crowd becomes better (in terms of noise)?

    I want that atmosphere in the Emirates week in and week out!!

  • arsefan101

    @ Steve:
    Totally forgot that Frimpong was going too now he has chosen Ghana! This will be a problem.

    If we have Jack & Diaby back then we will have a midfield of:

    - Jack
    - Rambo
    - Arteta
    - Coquelin
    - Diaby
    - Rosicky
    - Benayoun

    And therefore I think we should be able to survive Song & Frimpong off for a few weeks!

    PS, What happened to Eastmond?

  • bergChamp

    First time I am writing a comment on WOA, but have been reading it daily for years!!

    I thought Frimpong was excellent when he came on – he seems to have a hunger about him that is missing from others.

    Arteta and Benayoun looked laboured and looked like they didn’t enjoy their football.

  • devday

    @ piresistible

    Comment by piresistible marked as spam.
    Please stop copying & pasting from other sites!

  • devday

    Great article Tottz! Think our team needs time to gain confidence and start playing together… a point away in CL group stages against German champions – I’ll take that, thank you very much!

  • rankie10

    bit harsh there pires. Not a terrible result (away draw to German champions) BUT a terrible sucker punch to concede a sloppy goal (not the finish, but our part in it) so late on.

    They never looked like scoring from open play (despite coming close on a few occasions) so it was always going to be from a set piece. And then Song hands them the opportunity, giving away another silly unesseccary free kick within range of the goal, allowing them to get numbers in the box and putting us under pressure.

    The strike for the goal was incredible and no one can be blamed for that shot going in, but my point is we should not have been back there under that pressure at that time. Song is still a liability IMHO. He seems to get the dificult stuff right at times, and then fucks up the simple stuff – he’ll scrap and battle and win posession and then just fuck the ball away to the oppo. Or he’ll lunge in and give away a stupid free kick when all he needed to do was track the guy. Drives me fucking nuts.

    Gibbs was woeful. As was Theo Theo tbh.

    RVP’s finish was top notch and on his “wrong” foot too! Arteta and Benny did ok, they worked hard but looked a tad off the pace so hopefully this will come with more games. Chez was good as was Sagna – especially as he had no help or cover whatsoever from either Gervinho or Walcott.

    And Gervinho? My god I hope last night was a blip because he looked like a retarded Tony Daly for most of it. He’d get the ball, put his head down and run straight into the oppo players time after time. Absolute shit performance. Even Queenie Lawrenson was giving out shite about him in the commentary.

    Mert looked good, his positioning is good but with Kos beside him we are still weak at the back. Please hurry back TV5.

  • Tottz

    Thank you all for the comments and I’m really happy I got long time read bergChamp to make a comment!

    Interesting view point on Song by Rankie, i completely understand your thoughts and did feel he was guily of some sloppy play in the frist half but this was mainly due to being so isolated. The way he plays, he will always give away the odd freekick but he win’s more 50 50′s than loses. My real issue with him is when he goes forward thinking he’s the new Dennie Bergkamp. He could learn a lot from watching a dvd on Gilberto.

    Arsenal are no way near top form but there is actually light at the end of the tunnel… I think!

  • arseneknows

    my my, Man City look terrible!!

  • arseneknows

    Man City look confused – Nasri gives the ball away – knob

  • ZimGooner

    Played Gunners! The only way is up and in future Gibbs should play the ball forward a lot more..