Dortmund – Arsenal analysis and afterthoughts
After lacking a bit of luck a fortnight ago at the Home of Football, last night we definitely had it back on our side. As expected, both teams played chessball in the first half in which all players moved along like chess pieces to deny the other pieces space, and at the same time desperately trying to gain some themselves.
We defended really well as a team, give or take a moment or two. If you watched the simple demolition by Dortmund of Stuttgart on Friday, you will agree with me that our team did really well to deny die Gelb-Schwarzen space and time on the ball in the area where it could hurt us. To see our team play with such discipline and maturity, AND with such sacrifice to ‘our style’, was very satisfying. They still managed to create a few very good chances, but mainly from set-pieces, and it is fair to say we rode our luck at times.
I felt our weakest area was our left side of defence. BD are very dangerous from their right side of attack and they put a lot of pressure on Gibbs, Koz and our ‘DM’s from that area. Cazorla did his best to help out, but defending is not his strongest point and a fit Jack Wilshere would have been the better option last night.
The first part of the second half was more of the same. As in the first half, our attackers did not seem able to hold on to the ball for long in the areas where they could hurt Dortmund. We were not able to play close enough together to play our triangles and move forward with possession and sharp passing, and this tells us all about how good Dortmund are: they forced this on to us with their chasing and excellent positioning, which not many teams are able to do.
However, gradually the game opened up and the chess-positioning lessened, and we started to play some better midfield/attacking football. Arsenal’s first, and directly deadly, chance of the game came out of nothing. Ozil floated in a ball towards Giroud; the Frenchman won the aerial battle and laid the ball off to Rambo – who scores when he wants – and he wanted it badly: 1-0 to the good guys and game on!
And boy did it take the bounce out of Germans – Scheiße! hahaha 🙂
But Dortmund were not allowed back into the game by the collective ‘concordia’ of Arsenal. They did manage to produce a few half-decent chances but so did we, and it could as easily have been 2-0 as 1-1 at that stage of the game. Ramsey had a good opportunity to score a brace, after a perfect cross from our multi-functional CF; and the BFG launched himself in the air towards the ball like a B52 Bomber from an Ozil cross from the sidelines, but just could not reach far enough for what would have been a certain goal.
The team battled on and everyone gave what they had left in them to secure the win. Every single player deserves praise, but I would like to bring to light our CB-pairing and Rosicky’s performances.
No team will ever win something meaningful without a solid CB partnership, and the Koz-BFG partnership is developing into something special with now three clean sheets in a row. They are not fully there yet, and there will be a new test for them at Old Toilet, but boy are we lucky to have them playing together right now.
And then there was Rosicky, of whom I said he seldom performs well two games in a row. Yesterday, he proved me wrong with a MoTM performance against his former club after having played against the Chavs and Pool in an eight day period. TR7 was absolutely brilliant in all areas of the pitch and his defensive play and ‘professional meanness’ were outstanding. He put his body on the line for Arsenal and gave his all, and it is this hunger, passion for the club, talent and experience that make him such a valuable player for Arsenal. I hope he’ll stay fit and at Arsenal for a long time, and develop into our very own Ryan Giggs.
All in all a fantastic, and much needed, win in Europe and TOTT. These boys are making us SO PROUD. Same eleven against the Mancs…
Written by: TotalArsenal.