The game billed as Arsenal’s first real test ended in defeat for our boys. So does that mean we failed the test? Well we certainly didn’t pass it with flying colours, but I don’t think we failed it either.
Sometimes football is about more than the result, last night was our first chance to see if we have actually improved, if the run since Munich home mauling last year is built on the quality of opposition we have faced or an actual improvement in our game.
For me it was a closely matched contest so in that regard I would say we have definitely improved, this wasn’t us holding on as we have seen when playing some of the top European sides in the last few seasons, we were trying to take the game to them. We were most definitely up for the fight, the work ethic we have cried out for when not in possession was there, even without Flamini’s influence.
If Cazorla’s effort had been 6 inches to the left we would be celebrating a glorious win, if we were not so inclined to chase the win as a team we would probably be sitting with a point and keeping the distance of 3 points between us an them. It was not to be, can we be critical of our lads for going for the win? Maybe but then that is why we play football matches to get the win.
The game started with Dortmund pressing high as expected and we struggled to find rhythmn through the midfield, men were being pressed everywhere, free men were hard to find, and that is how we conceded the opener.
Having dealt with the initial attack the ball made its way to Ramsey who should have just cleared up the pitch, instead he looked for options he didn’t want to waste possession, I understand that because it’s how we try and play, but I also think on occasion it is our downfall, especially when facing quality opposition, the ball was nicked from him and it was despatched into our net.
We equalised just before half time having enjoyed out best spell of the game, the ball was moving quicker as Dortmund sat deeper, and could not get to us as quickly as they had started to tire. The ball arrived at Sagna who delivered our best cross of the night, Giroud pressured and forced a mistake between centre back and keeper, he smashed the ball into the vacant net.
We didn’t really want the half to end, and on 45 minutes exactly the ref signalled half time. How rare in the modern game not one bit of injury time.
Dortmund started the second half refreshed and pressing us again, we coped better this time, moving the ball more quickly but neither team really created clear cut chances during the next twenty or so minutes.
The home crowd started to sense victory, you could hear it in the singing, we were most definitely on top, Özil’s first telling contribution saw him set up Cazorla who was a whisker away from finding the top corner.
Ten minutes later with Arsenal continuing to apply pressure Dortmund found the killer blow, swiftly counter attacking down the right wing a cross found Lewandoski who finished with aplomb.
The game played out with us unable to force an equaliser as Dortmund were happy to see out the small win.
Gooner in Exile