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
Ramsey looked tired yesterday. He seemed to be just that fraction too slow in his movements. A bad mistake from him for the opening goal, but I wouldn’t be too hard on him. As long as he learns from it. Which I think he will. Gibbs too for the second goal. It wasn’t a huge error, and certainly not the only one from the team there.
If we hadn’t gone for the win, some people would be moaning about how we settled for a draw. I like that we went for the victory, but we should have kept our awareness up. I was worried about that during the game when we were on top. I think fatigue, Flamini’s absence, and maybe a little bit of the referee spoiling our momentum, all played a part in it. But in no way is that an excuse. We should have done better on the second goal.
We weren’t outplayed and that is encouraging. If anything, we were more threatening than them overall. I’ve said it many times since yesterday but I can’t shake the feeling that Dortmund came with a bit of nastiness to them that we lack. It was nothing too much, and I can’t place any real visible evidence of it except Lewandowski’s elbow on Kos, but I think while we’re of the attitude that Dortmund are our kindred spirits in global football, they and their fans see us as rivals for their supremacy in the aesthetic and moral stakes, especially among the neutrals. That’s the best I can explain it.
Anyway, I should really stop thinking about football and force myself to get to studying.
And thanks for the write-up GIE.. I’ve been forgetting my manners the past few days.
Thanks for the report GiE,
These are my thoughts on the game as posted earlier ….
I’m not too disappointed, I do think the best team won on the night (just) but if we’d had Walcott and Flamini in the side we would have won. Gibbs is obviously under orders to defend first as he didn’t get behind their FB as often as I’d like to see. I agree we looked tired and Ramsey was a bit behind the pace of the game. We have to get a draw at least away at BD now or be faced with the prospect of having to beat Napoli away to qualify. We should have shut up shop with 15 to go and settled for the draw, that would have left us in a much better position.
Dortmund pressed higher up the pitch than us in the first half and won more of the 50/50 battles, we came out with more fight in the second half and definitely looked the better side for long spells. There were signs they were tiring, but there is always the chance you’ll fall for the sucker punch. That is why Lewandowski is so highly rated, he made the difference.
Bayern are a better side than BD and we beat them away last year. I think BD played around their best yesterday and sadly a few of our players underperformed, I’d still back our best side to beat theirs if we’re on our game.
BTW, I thought Arteta was superb and was my Arsenal MotM.
Well done, GIE.
If only we’d won. 🙂
Good morning to you all.
A fair enough write up GiE, thank you.
I’ve just two comments to make:-
1) We sorely missed Flamini.
2) Ramsey should never have tried dribbling on the edge of his own penalty area.
And one question:- Where was our right back for the Lewandowski goal?
Hi NG, I’m afraid Sagna was below par yesterday even though he supplied the cross for the goal. His other crosses were generally quite poor. If we are going to play without traditional wingers (not a problem in my book) we do need full backs who can get behind the opposing FB and deliver a decent cross. I doubt BS will be our first choice RB next season.
Take a look at the clock.
40 minutes before kick off.
It almost seems as though getting behind the full-back and putting in a cross has gone out of fashion. Walcott seldom tries it now, cutting inside is all the rage. Gibbs can do it, when not otherwise occupied, in my book it’s still the best option as it stretches the defense and creates space in the middle.
If Sagna is not to be first choice next season, who is? Surely not Jenkinson…yet.
Arteta definitely MOTM.
Sagna below par but look who he had playing in front of him on the right wing?
We came to life when he went off and Cazorla came on; in fact, during this period we were the better team by some distance.
Why this can’t be seen by others mystifies me, every time he plays on the wing it costs us, that’s two unnecessary points dropped at West Brom and three last night.
We played the best football we have ever done in the last ten years in the first 15 minutes against Napoli……………………..
I think we need to clarify what Rambo was up to…..for me he wasn’t dribbling he was trying to find a pass, Arteta had just played a 3 yard pass to him when Arteta could have found row Z….it’s how we play.
We were without Flamini, Podolski, Walcott while BD were also without Guendogan, Piszczek and Klopp (not in the dugout).
There is no shame in losing to last year’s CL finalist, as the match could go either way (by the smallest details/mistakes).
At least this is not in a knock-out round where more is at stake. We have 3 more group games to do better and qualify to the next stage.
I believe we can perform better by learning to keep more clean sheets against the lesser teams in the PL, serving as a good platform and mentality to work up from when we play the quality sides in the PL and other top European teams in the CL.
The players will also learn from this match to more clinical with their chances at the opponent’s goal and pace themselves intelligently in attack and defence during the match.
Let us start winning again with the game against Crystal Palace this weekend.
GiE, Arteta didn’t row z it, all the more reason for Ramsey to do so. It should not be the way we play on the edge of our own area.
Thanks NG, by ‘putting in a cross’ I don’t mean punting it in the air in the general direction of one of our players, I favour the cut-back or the low powerful delivery across the face of the goal.
Hi LB, I agree the FB’s performance is directly linked to the quality of the player in front of them. I also agree that Jack (and Ramsey for this case) haven’t proved to be effective out wide. They may develop the necessary skills, but we may also have to accept that they are not natural wide players and will never flourish in that role.
Well done Gooner In Exile.
If ever there was a headline to perfectly sum up Arsenal’s last eight years, yours is it!
Can’t remember who said it but Crystal Palace on the weekend is just about as perfect as it could get.
Nice report GIE. I had in mind the thoughts I would relay of the game and find that your write up GIE plus Shard’s and Rasp’s comments have echoed my thoughts.
I completely concur with your overall view GIE that we were not outplayed. It was a very even contest by 2 very good sides. Narrow margins win or lose these games and last night the margins favoured Dortmund. There are always areas we can criticise on, such as Ramsey’s mistake and he did look a bit leggy to me. I think we deserved at least a draw. Both teams had their periods of being better, and realistically, you can’t expect to completely prevent a team like Dortmund from having their moments. .
I felt the width issue that Rasp mentions was important and if we are not playing with natural wide attacking midfielders it has to come more from the overlapping full-backs. We did not get enough of that yesterday, and when we did the balls in were, a couple of occasions aside, poor. You cannot afford to waste good attacking potential like that so often against this type of opposition when the opportunities are not so forthcoming. We reduce our amount of clear cut chances that we are able to create and obviously the more clear cut chances created the more likely you are to score more. Added to this, as part of an overall attacking analysis, I also thought the attacking midfielders were slow getting into the box at times and it left Ollie isolated as the only target in the box. If we are to play with 1 lone forward we need quicker support to arrive in the box so that the opposition defenders have more to deal with.
I also completely agree with Shard that we should have gone for the win even if it did leave us exposed to the so called sucker punch. Some will moan about not keeping it tighter but hindsight as they say…..I still think the current squad, (even without any additions), is still maturing and hasn’t reached its full potential yet and is still learning to a degree. Whether other additions are needed is another debate but, IMO, it is more important to be positive and go for wins and breed that as a good habit, and as the team fine tunes itself further we will see results against the bigger teams like last night swing the other way in our favour.
Shard I also have your back on your, shall we say debate, that carried over from the end of the last post. IMO this season is a new one and the start of a new era. There have been so many constraints on the club from 2005 to 2013 that you cannot keep looking back to what happened in November of a certain year and tally it with what is happening this year. These bloody history lessons that some like to spout out are a bit tiresome. Learning from history can be useful when it has relevance, but I fully believe in our case the relevance is minimal at best. What happened last night should provide a basis to learn from, but what happened in 2008? BLah blah blah.
The issue of width is perfectly right. But Walcott and Ox were out. I suppose we could have played Gnabry, but he’s still a kid. Sagna’s crosses were frustrating, but our only goal also came from one of those. Crossing is a low percentage effort anyway, so it’s not as if even his good crosses would necessarily have led to anything. Our game is not built around crossing, though it is a good weapon to have to switch things up. Gibbs normally crosses well, but he was wasteful yesterday too. Although he’s not a proper winger, I think Podolski might help us. His (low) crosses are usually fantastic.
I know we have a bigger squad than usually considered, but the two areas I would look to strengthen in, are basically the two areas where we fell a little short yesterday. One, a Midfielder to understudy Flamini and Arteta. Basically Diaby’s replacement. And two, a winger/striker to add pace, trickery and crossing from the flanks. We don’t really desperately need these players and it depends on how your young players develop and what some of the older players’ futures are, but these were the areas I had thought a few days ago were the areas we could strengthen in, and it seems to me that we could have done with exactly that yesterday.
Rasp, I agree with your 10.41. I think the term “crossing” doesn’t fully encompass it. I prefer the term “centering” which could mean the cut back, the low hard ball across the box or an aerial ball. Either way you need 2 things at the highest level. The first is more than 1 player in the box or arriving into the dangerous areas. The second is a quality “centred” ball, not one that balloons over everyone or sails over and out of play or fails to get past the 1st defender.
LB I will have to partially agree and partially agree to disagree with you, (hope that makes sense), on JW. I thought along with Arteta and Rosicky he was one of our better midfielders. He is not a natural wide player but he was one of the few that looked like he could make something happen. I thought, dare I say it, that the 2 “flavour’s of the moment”, Ramsey and Ozil, put in the weakest performances last night.
I still actually feel that the attacking weakness from the right flank last night was more to do with the FB than who was ahead of him. Agreed Santi played well when he came on, he is a quality player, but he was playing in a different period of the game. I think it is difficult to assess whether Santi was directly better than Jack or whether he was playing when Dortmund legs were tiring more, rather than when they were fresher and closing down the space far more when JW was out there.
Nice one GIE
I concur with your analysis of last night. A test of “improvement” and in that respect we passed it.
On the more general theme of improvement, many seem to have jumped on the bandwagon that stipulates that all of a sudden we go from been a club that has won nothing in recent years to one that all of a sudden will win league and champions league.
I do not like this view. It is usually expressed by those who have spent the last eight years moaning, and now all of a sudden everything is wonderful and we are the best team on the planet. We are not.
This is the year we have turned the corner. A new found ability to keep our players and add to it via the transfer market is the key.
What is important to me is the path and we are on the path. Some will never agree on the path, so those will not be happy until there is change. Personally, I have always believed in the clubs strategy.
The things I ask myself are what kind of players will the likes of Ramsey, Wilshere, Chesney, Gibbs, etc be like in a couple of years, and what kind of top quality we will purchase to add to this internal improvement.
The only answers and conclusions i keep coming back to are that we will have a super team, one capable of beating the top sides in England and Europe.
We are on to something special, an eventual side that I foresee eclipsing the great sides of the Clubs illustrious past
The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring
Thanks for the write up GIE. I was very disappointed with last nights performance. I’m not worried as I think we’ll beat them at their place.
Sometimes drawing is a win, especially CL. Last night would have been a prime example.
I’d love to know what sagna was thinking, if he was, and why.
Disappointed? Of course.
This is football. Some of these games we will win, but this was our night to lose. It happens.
Picking at the entrails it could be said that Sagna, who has lost some of his speed, had gone up in attack and did not get back to defend the breakaway from Dortmund that led to the goals. Freebie shot/goal for Lewandovski?
Rambo and some others were not at their best, perhaps, but like all of us, they have their great days and they have some days … not so much.
I was both pleased and yet frustrated that rather than settling for an honorable draw we set our caps at winning, which is good, but frustratingly we instead fell to a sucker punch late on.
These things happen. Oddly enough the world has not stopped spinning as some would have us believe.
On to the next adventure this weekend. 🙂
GIE, your Post was a very accurate assessment of last night’s game and I meant to preface my comment @ 1:56 with that statement.
Compliments to you Sir! 🙂
GE. A fair summation of the match.
One thing you miss out is the performance of the referee. The Lewandowski elbow on Kos was a clear a red card as you will see.
My stream was not good enough to determine whether there was serious foul play prior to Ramsey’s “goal” but it seemed as though the defender flopped to the ground without any pressure from BFG, who was very unhappy with the decision.
Both these incidents had a huge influence upon the result.
BTW. Really enjoyed the banter between WATA and Shard at the end of yesterday’s post 😀
Thank you both.
Great post GiE,
Shard, we DO have another DM-Coquelin or maybe Frimpong.
Yes I know, which is why I also included the following
“We don’t really desperately need these players and it depends on how your young players develop”
Seeing as Coquelin is on loan, and Frimpong never plays, I think it is more realistic that they won’t be in our long term plans. Coquelin still might and I like him. Perhaps as Arteta’s long term replacement, but that still leaves a Diaby replacement and I think we could do with one. Not desperately, but that is where I’d strengthen.
It looked to me that it was Koscielny, standing between Merts and the defender, who shoved him in the back. It’s the sort of thing that happens countless times in matches, some you get away with, some you don’t.
Coquelin is currently out on loan at Freiberg.
What I meant was that with Coquelin coming back in the summer (probably the onlu time we would be able to sign a reliable DM), there would be no need to sign another DM
Thanks for the nice review GIE. You wrote Sagna’s cross for the goal was the best of the night, which just points out to the lack of quality crossing last night. That cross fell short about two meters to the right side of Giroud, and was too much ahead. Fortunately the bounce fooled both the defender and the keeper, which lead to the goal. I imagine Sagna didn’t plan any of that 🙂
Now that cross by Giroud to Ozil was a beauty. He should play the wings more 😉
As GiE’s excellent write up didn’t include player ratings, I’ve cribbed some from a London paper.
WOJCIECH SZCZESNY 5
Little to do in first half apart from being wrong-footed for Mkhitaryan’s goal that opened the scoring.
BACARY SAGNA 7
Got forward well and although crossing not always accurate, his delivery caused the error that led to Giroud’s equaliser.
PER MERTESACKER 7
Lewnadowski is quick and physical but the German dealt with him competently for most of the game until the Pole scored.
LAURENT KOSCIELNY 7
Put under plenty of pressure by Dortmund’s high-intensity game early on but used his experience and judgement very well throughout.
KIERAN GIBBS 5
Both Reus and Blazsczyskowski keep a full-back honest and as they constantly switched flanks, Gibbs had his work cut out and didn’t always cope well.
AARON RAMSEY 6
Was robbed by Reus on the edge of the box in the move that led to the first goal but his ball to Sagna enabled the full-back to cross for the equaliser. SUB 87 mins: NICKLAS BENDTNER 6
MIKEL ARTETA 6
Had little time and space and was often forced to turn back towards his own goal as Dortmund tried to cut the supply line to Ozil. Calm presence in the centre nonetheless who improved gradually.
JACK WILSHERE 6
Always lively but not always precise. Collision with the goalkeeper appeared to jar his troublesome right ankle. SUB 58 mins: SANTI CAZORLA 7: Made a big difference to Arsenal’s attacking play and also hit the bar.
MESUT OZIL 5
Quiet in the first half as Dortmund recognised his threat and rarely allowed him time, with Bender sticking close to him but grew as the visitors tired. Booked.
TOMAS ROSICKY 7
Arsenal’s most creative player in the first half, he was always bright and had a fierce shot cleared off the line by Hummels. Booked. SUB 89 mins: SERGE GNABRY 6
OLIVIER GIROUD 8
Impressive. Even though service was sporadic, his physical presence worried Hummels and Subotic and he deserved his equaliser.
They are probably a bit lower than we, as Arsenal fans, would like but were compiled by a neutral.
GIE, I agree, we didnt fail the test. I was even surprised to hear Burley on espn admit that we held our own, and hes usually tough on us.
we played as equals, it could have gone either way, and i expect we have a 50/50 chance in dortmund, but will be tough.
MOST IMPORTANT : Dortmund is clearly better than any team in in England! so we must get the job done in the league. We are playing better football than all of our domestic rivals. I dont feel bad about our chances in CL either. The result was unfortunate, but i didnt see any signs in our performance that should make us less confident.
Be smart, rest some players this weekend and continue what we are doing so far. We can
use nacho, vermaelen, jenkinson, gnabry, maybe
GiE – i am surprised at you son, it seems to me that you wrote that post to fend off the critics, the unhappy and anybody that is quick to write off the team. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THAT. We played well, we deserved at least a draw and we have nothing to answer for. Football is an unpredictable game, at least third of the games being lost by better teams.
We were not quite as good as BD, but certainly not miles off. And if they are one of the best teams in Europe then so are we.
I am gutted with the result, but remain proud of our lads.
Thanks for the post!
jnyc, I tend to agree about the resting of a few players on Saturday, the thing is though, we mustn’t take Crystal Palace lightly, there are no easy games in the Premiership and any team are capable of biting the bum of of sides that don’t take games seriously.
First of all, well done GiE, for stepping up, at short notice as well.
Second, I apologise for my comment that Arsenal were “bossed”, and that got you a bit peeved. I will qualify my statement when I return this evening.
Third, I am now back in Edinburgh safe and sound. Thanks, Chas, Ant and “Big Brother” (not taking the name here). I had a great time, even if we were “edged out”! And, I probably shocked you with my (lack of) planning, but just to assure you, I did not sleep under a bridge. But I was soaking wet, and did not have proper change of clothes, and this combined with visions of the Lewandowski goal conspired against a good night’s sleep.
Thanks, Rasp, Peaches, Irish, GoonerM and LB. Only a brief encounter this time, but more soon I hope. Evonne, you were saved this time. I contemplated contacting you late in the evening to ask whether your spare bedroom was free. You were lucky this time, but who knows what will happen the next time round! 😀 😀
Hi arnie, good to see you last night and put a face to the blog persona, hopefully we’ll meet again and have more time to chat.
I look forward to reading your analysis of the game later 😛
Talking of getting wet, I cycled home………not one of my better more recent decisions.
It was nice to meet you too Arnie. Nice to see Rasp, LB Peaches, Chas and Irish. I got soaked too.
I, however, took my giant king size umbrella. By the time i got to Finsbury Park i had 8 followers and dog as entourage.
The main thing that upset me last night was that Arsene did not get the birthday gift he deserved.
I know how he feels. I to have been left bereft and disapointed when the expectant scaleatrix transpired to be a hard object enveloped by an old sock.
On another day we would have beaten Dortmund, and that day is coming on 6th of November.
I really do not think that BD were any better than us last night. Perhaps we had to much respect for them but what ever the reason we were not ourselves. We did not close down the opposition as quickly as we have done in the past and it seems as though we kept backing off, we appeared to play a lot of long balls as opposed to working up the field with a combination of crisp passes it is as though we did not get into top gear but at the same time did not play badly. Also we cannot play JW out wide, he is lost. If he is not good enough to warrant a spot in the middle then sit him on the bench and bring him in when needed. We made two mistakes which cost us two goals so I am not concerned we lost, it is not a reason for doom and gloom, there is no crisis, we lost a game of football based on two mistakes that’s it. We will bounce back and thrash CP on the weekend and I am confident we will qualify from our CL group. All is well at AFC.
Palace don’t have a manager.
Gm. That is not always a good thing …
Oooooh I get to watch the yummy one that got away and not a Dutchman in sight 😆
How are we all? Nice to see Kelsey on earlier, hope you’re ok 😉
Good to meet you last night Arnie, shame you didn’t get to see a vintage performance.
Raddy – do you really think that Palace can rally themselves now better without a manager?
The coast is clear guys, GoonerB is writing the post for tomorrow so you can all relax and come and play 🙂
I can believe that of a team that have been disrupted by a new manager but aren’t Palace largely a new team?
Evonne, good point, – GIE, ur last line about Dortmunds small win is really a little unfair.
i see it this way: we are at their level( which is top level ) – Klopp had his team prepared as if it were Bayerne, because he sees our quality, we are not a surprise to good teams or managers anymore. After our display at Napoli especially.
they should feel proud that they were able to get that win, and we shouldnt be ashamed,
especially because we played well enough to win.
NG, except for Frimpong, — verm, nacho, jenks, maybe gnabry, need in my view at least a little more rotation than they have been getting. Why not start now. Gnabry starting gets rest for one of our midfielders. I think we can do two other changes from jenks, vermaelen, monreal. On top of that, if we are fortunate to get a lead of two ( no i dont take this for granted ) – maybe do some subs earlier than 70 minutes.
we are going into a tough run soon. Im taking a longer view because the Dortmund match convinces me more that we can win this league.
I’m with Raddy I was pretty peeved at the news of Holloway’s leaving as I hate playing a side with a new manager, even if its a caretaker one.
But this Palace side are not particularly good.
I think Holloway has been hard done by, just like with Blackpool he performed a minor miracle to get them into the PL, Palace fans were happy beating Brighton in the Semi Final of the play offs and recognised they were nowhere near ready to face the PL, and I wouldn’t mind betting it was not modelled in the new owners financial plans when they took over the running of the club. However with the PL comes the money and suddenly the owners start to think that maybe they should try and stay. They start to spend the money and give the manager the funds and then the rope with which to hang himself.
Jnyc, i hate the last line myself, it wasn’t the words i was looking for, but as i had already delayed leaving my house to go to work by writing the rep[ort anyway i didn’t have time to change it.
I guess what i meant to say was “prepared to settle for their slender advantage”.
Thankfully my clients like me and i didn’t have to give a reason why i was half hour late…but i blamed it on my son anyway 😉
Is this why BSR is unavailable tonight?
Great pics GiE :D:
Definitely looks like “go on then, get lost – you and your poorly toes’
Is that’s what’s wrong with him?
Those were in the Mail online….don’t normally see their pages but stumbled upon them earlier
Pulis is favourite to get the job
Evening all 🙂
Pleasure to meet Peaches and Rasp as always over my long weekend, and to meet LB and Chas again, and GM and Arnie.
I’m a bit tired cos I’ve been up since 4am so bare with me, but any chance Dortmund squeezed the midfield and sent us out wide because Sagna can’t cross for sh1t??? Honestly, I love Bacs but 1 in 50 of his crosses are good.
I thought Rosicky and Arteta were really good last night, and Cazorla looked good when he came on.
That picture I posted from twitter is fake it seems. There’s snow on the pitch
David Bond hasn’t been my favourite BBC web writer over past few years but I found this interesting but not really because of his article more because of Arsene’s comments:
“The pessimists would say Arsenal had failed their first major test of the season. The far more rational, and realistic view, is that Wenger’s team were unfortunate to lose 2-1 to one of Europe’s best teams thanks to a late goal by Robert Lewandowski, when he could just have easily been taking first use of the shower for an elbow on Laurent Koscielny.
Wenger is normally the great supporter of his players but here he was arguably the harshest judge as he accused Arsenal of being “naïve” and “not being mature enough” when most agreed many aspects of the display were worthy of more credit.
Arsenal and Wenger need not be hard on themselves. This was the performance of a developing team, one that will suffer setbacks along the way.”
Thinking on this I am not as surprised by Arsene’s comments as Bond is….why? Because Arsene really believes this team is capable of more. He has in the past few seasons avoided criticising the players but this is a public kick up the backside that he rarely delivers, and it is designed to remind the players.
very late perhaps to give my reflections on the game, but for whatever this is worth….
It was our first major test, yes, and it doesn’t come larger than this. Last year’s CL losing finalist. Well, later in teh year when we meet Bayern that will be bigger, but this was the second best.
Yes, we lost, narrowly. Could have won, but it is a game of margins, and the coin fell on the wrong side every time last night. Were we a disgrace? Certainly not. We were a good match for Dortmund, but dare I say, only second best. Second best in every part of the field, and the stadium, and that includes the crowd. Yes, we did play well, even if second best, and deserved a share of the points, but it was not to be this time.
But why did we lose? Our players were certainly not less skillful. Wenger has mentioned ‘naivety’, and it is perhaps a good way to put it. Not my words, but Arsene’s.
I also felt that we did not have the same intensity as Dortmund. Lack of desire, surely not. But tired legs, most certainly.
We got nothing much in the midfield. We lost teh ball most times, and this was because 3 Dortmund players converged on the good guys every time they were in possession. It takes a lot of effort and commitment to do that throughout a 90 minute game, but they did. It took immense skill to manufacture a pass, let alone a decent attack. That was the kind of intensity that Dortmund had in their half.
And in attack, they came in packs, and we allowed them too much space. I think both Sagna and Gibbs were guilty of this error. Ultimately we paid the price, for both goals. Yes, Ramsey tried to dribble close to our penalty box. But why? Because there was no way to send a pass. I think Flamini was sorely missed. It says something when the best two players on the side were the two CBs. Right? Even if there were only a few attempts at goal, there was plenty of intensity in attack. And BFG and Kos did really well.
It progressively became more and more desperate in defence as time went on. The winning goal was coming closer. Yes, there was a chance that it would not have come within the 90 minutes. But, it did.
I did not find any of our midfielders go for a header to try and win a 50:50 areal ball in the midfield. Why? I wonder, tiredness or lack of intensity? It was a bit better when Santi came on. But I think he is not yet 100%. Where was the 10 man defensive show from a few weeks earlier when we needed to manly defend our 1 point? It was not there.
We need to learn from our mistakes and come back strongly in Dortmund. And I am sure we will.
Finally, their supporters were amazing. When I walked with Chas and brothers to the ground, as they gave me a tour of Hghbury and the history of the place (thanks a lot, guys), we expected to find the yellow shirts lurking in every corner. They were not. They were in the ground an hour from the game, and continued their vocal support all the way through. A great example, indeed. Alas, we were second best there as well.
But this is not a moaner speaking. So, let the boys assimilate the hurt and the disappointment and come back fighting next time round. I am sure we will win in Dortmund. And Micky and Raddy will be fighting our corner. We live to fight on!!!!
Didn’t Wenger say,
“We put ourselves on the back foot with the first goal and were a bit naive with the second goal,” Wenger said. “If you look at the number of saves our goalkeeper had to make and we conceded two goals, then we can only look at ourselves. We were not mature enough. If you cannot win a game, then don’t lose it. In the second half we were on top but we made it difficult by giving them the second goal.”
Isn’t that what we’ve all said with Dortmund hitting us with a sucker punch when we were on top?
Oh, and forgot to mention, agree that Lewandowski should not have been on the ground. But, refereeing bad luck is part of the game. Hopefully, we will have a couple of good ones in the remaining games…… 😀 😀
Taking the “naive” out of the context of the sentence is particularly deplorable.
sorry, forgot Arteta in the excitement of posting. He had a super game, the only one in teh midfield who really fought and wond possession. Not to mention fantastic support in defence….
Chas I agree it is what we have all said, but the change I see is that Arsene has said the same so publicly to his team. Do you not agree it is rare for him to do this?
And bearing in mind he has done this I was just wondering whether there was an underlying reason (the kick up the backside to the players).
Arnie back in a moment with some 442 stats, I agree with a lot of what you say but sometimes I think we as fans tend to look at the negatives, and we see us giving the ball away and as it is a rarity compared to most PL games we think the other team has been better than us or that their press is better than our more passive defensive style (attempting to read and intercept than over commit men to a press).
I said yesterday afternoon that I had been thinking about Flamini and the difference he has made, and I think he does his tackling higher up the pitch than Arteta, and that helps us win back possession further up the pitch, which means the players do not have as far to go back and then forward again.
Arsenal first in the following stats:
On Target 2-3
Attempted 597 – 442
Completed 499 – 352
Success Rate 84% – 80%
Possession 57.4% – 42.6%
Territory 46.5% – 53.5% Looking at the diagrams Dortmunds passing seems more spread across the pitch, we do have a more heavily shaded own half which would go with the fact that some of our possession was just for possessions sake rather than moving forward with the ball
Attacking Third Attempts 142 – 128
Attacking Third Success 96 – 75
Crosses 2/16 – 3/14
Take ons 7/19 – 5/15
Corners 0/2 – 2/2 This could be misleading both Dortmund corners were in last few minutes and they played short to see out time
Ball recoveries 49 – 41
Tackles 22/27 – 24/31
Interceptions 22 – 27
Clearances 23/23 – 34/34
Headed Clearances 10/10 – 17/17
Aerial Duels 20/29 – 9/29
Blocked Crosses 3 – 2
The Player influence maps are also interesting, Arteta being the biggest name on our team sheet, Sagna, Gibbs Mertesacker and Koscielny being next biggest, what is interesting is that Dortmund’s is a very similar picture with Sahin and Hummels being equal and Grosskreutz and Schmelzer being in very similar positions to Sagna and Gibbs, with Subotic being the next biggest influence.
Sagna and Grosskeurtz spending more time in the opposition half and Gibbs and Schmelzer spending more time in their own half….which attacking fullback against attacking fullback i guess makes sense.
Schmelzer and Gibbs also led the game in interceptions with 7 a piece.
If you haven’t got the app it is very interesting reading, i know it is not a replacement for our own eyes at the game but i think it can tell a story, especially the heat maps, for example Dortmunds higher interceptions may point to them being better in the press, when in fact the majority came at left back where Sagna and Wilshere were failing to link up effectively.
Great to hear you had an enjoyable night arnie, meeting some of the ‘AA’ heavyweights.
My honest account from watching on ITV, was there was plenty of effort and endeavour shown by Arsenal, but Dortmund always looked like they had a measure of control, and were capable of finding another gear if they needed to. We had a lot of the ball without creating a great deal, mainly because they shackled Ozil.
Rosicky showed a lot of energy and purpose and was unlucky that Hummels was so well placed, and Cazorla added some much needed impetus when he came on, and his goal apart, Giroud worked hard for little reward.
I really wish someone at the club would do some work on the defence, we’ve only kept two clean-sheets in 12 games, and against the better sides you get punished, as was the case last night. For all Arsenal’s possession last night, Dortmund had one shot in the second half and it was enough to win the game. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but I remember Rooney playing the ball over the Arsenal defence, who were caught too high up the field, and Nani raced onto it and was left with an easy finish. That’s what Lewandowski’s goal reminded me of last night. Do we not bother with defensive drills? Because a few years have passed since Nani’s goal to Lewandowski’s last night, so how, or why are we still making the same elementary mistakes?
I can’t really see how that quote can be interpreted as a kick up the backside or understand why you believe he would think it was a good idea either.
I’m obviously missing something. Never mind.
Interesting interview with Subotic, who speaks perfect American, after the match, where he stated that he was told that “BvB ran x more kilometers than Arsenal” in the match, and that their plan was to run at and put as much pressure as possible up the field.
He’s an interesting case. He lived in the US for a number of years, and played his way up through various national U-17 and U-19 sides. When it was time to select the U-21s, he was informed that he didn’t make it. About that time, Serbia came along and asked him to join their men’s national team; virtually simultaneously, he got an invite to the US men’s full national side! He basically told the US to piss off, how could they not select him for U-21 and then request him for the national side. So, he plays for Serbia.
Whoever in the US made that decision should be flogged.
Well, as long as our relatively young team is learning from its mistakes, and the best proof will come in Dortmund, I will be happy. I am sure this result will have been as painful to the players and the manager as it is to us!!!! About this much I am sure!!! And therefore they would try and deliver a victory away at Dortmund, just as they did in Munich last year!!! That will be job well done, and I am optimistic it will be delivered!!!!
Chas it’s just I can’t think of a time in recent seasons where Wenger has been that critical, even though it’s not like saying they didn’t work hard or didn’t give their all I think he is asking in public that the players take some collective responsibility. I think he is asking them to think about it going forward to some important games over the coming weeks.
Maybe I’m putting motives on him that were not his intention, but I think he was disappointed in the result last night and the fact the team did not hold the point. And has instead of making excuses for them told them what they need to address themselves.
Did anyone notice the following?
1) Szcezsny allowed both goals in the same manner: stretching out his left leg like a hockey goalkeeper rather than diving to his left like a Football keeper…..this is a technical and mechanical error that he needs to correct. Had he dived to his left for both shots, he might have stopped at least one of them.
2) Arteta was knackered when he ran at Lewandowski trying to cut him off…he never made it and stuttered to a stop after the goal looking totally knackered. Our defenders were also too tired to get back fast enough to harass Lewandowski or cut off the cross from the right wing.
3) We were, as a team, neck and neck with them all game but we didn’t get the performances from Ozil, Wilshere and Ramsey that we expected. Flamini would have definitely helped our defense but Arteta was truly magnificent. Had the two of them been on the pitch, we would have been more cohesive and defended higher up the pitch.
4) The referee was too conservative and tolerated some pretty rough stuff from Dortmund, including the elbow to Kos and a few harsh challenges by Hummel and Lewandowski. This was a typical FIFA European referee and that may have hurt us. Strangely, an English referee would have probably been more severe in a few of these situations.
I did read this yesterday, but had no time to engage in comments. So thanks for the great write up. You are the man for games like Tuesday’s, as you keep a calm head, steer a steady course through what the more excitable may turn into choppy waters.
(where the hell did the nautical theme come from?)
As I have said, I believe we can beat this Dortmund side. Not sure why Santi didn’t start, but he’ll make a difference, and then of course Flamini.
I know I have banged on over the years about buying a DM, well, while Flamini appears to have answered that call, he actually hasn’t.
It was all well and good when Arsene went for Arteta and more of a box to box type of partner as he did last term, but now he is opting for this defensive duo, we need the two defensive sorts (which we have) and therefore still one short.
One short meaning the quality back up/rotational
I need your email address as can’t find it. Have a new Gunner Chum in Toronto. Like you, he has season ticks at The Ems. Met him tues. Might be someone for you to hold hands with in a bar in Toronto 🙂
A Global International Lawyer type. Very nice, and exceedingly well connected business wise.
Bottom line, Gunner and v nice.
Well, well, dull start to the day.
Off on manoeuvres for two days. See ya
Morning Micky, if we decide two is needed in there then yes we need a second…..someone around 24/25 would be ideal.
Weedonald I’ll play my part in the Goalkeepers Union, I think Szczesny was anticipating a hot across his body so weight had already shifted, both times the player shot straight which is a bit of a surprise to him and it therefore looks bad. Further in his defence I think the way the goals came left him up shit creek without a paddle anyway.
This is harder to explain but due to the space Dortmund players received the ball and where our defensive line was when they received it he could not properly work the angles so he had to try and predict the direction of the shot. Both times the Dortmund player was unmarked with no one between them and Szczesny.
If we think about his positioning for shots from those positions in other situations it may help understand why he had difficulty because of the way they were created.
The two likely scenarios for players from those distances are ball over the top to a runner unmarked, in these situations Szczesny would have time to come four or five yards further off his line to narrow the angle and make the forwards job more difficult.
The second is receiving the ball with defenders between them and the goal, in this scenario the forward would not be able to pick where he wants to shoot he would potentially have one side or the other to go for.
So for me our young Pole did nothing wrong on either goal.
My brother is a Borussia fan and said that it has been a long time since he was so nervous during the game.
I had a quick look on Google for AW using the word ‘naive’. 🙂
are you for real Chas??? Get over it!
Get over what?
who is being naive now
not fecking me!!!
I was only trying to illustrate that AW often says similar things when we concede a late winner or equaliser. No more than that.
like I said, GET OVER IT
go and do some sun salutations
come on dogs, walkies
Get over what?
I may be stubborn, bull-headed and obnoxious, but don’t you dare call me naive. 🙂
chas: obnoxious?? now, thats a thought!! 😀 😀
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