Thursday, November 7, 2013

Arsenal vs Dortmund Post Match Thought.

It was one of those famous away win for Arsenal as they won against last year finalist Borussia Dortmund 1-0. Last year we won against Bayern and everyone saying it was a fluke because they are complacent with two goals advantage with three goals. But this time, we beat Dortmund, who are still in need of 3 points, knowing that Napoli were likely to win against Marseille. Dortmund is no joke and they are arguably one of the top 4 teams in Champions League, but we became the first team stopping them from scoring in their home for the first time since 61 games, back then in January 2011. Lightning does not struck twice, does it?
Ramsey celebrated the goal with Ozil as Arsenal win against Dortmund

Credit to Dortmund who played well, except that they were not clinical in front of goal. They were having some amount of possession - and chances, before Arsenal took the lead on 62' minutes. After that, Arsenal became more dangerous and Dortmund slowly losing their teeth on the game. No clear cut chances was created by Dortmund after that goal.  It was exactly the reverse of the previous game where Arsenal dominated the game on 1-1 scoreline before conceding a late goal by Lewandowski. In big games like this, it's not the matter of who has more possession, but it's the matter of  who takes the chances well. It was true what Wenger said, "This game is determined by small details". A lapse of concentration cost a goal for Neven Subotic, who failed to mark Aaron Ramsey during the goal.

Well, Arsenal performed very well in every department, but especially defending. Yes, we were a bit exposed early of the second half, but we were otherwise very solid. The defending was getting better and more confident especially after scoring that goal. Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker were bossing at the backline, making numerous vital interceptions and winning most of the aerial battle. Robert Lewandowski was kept quiet most of the time by this pair, and he failed to score goal today. Another good game showing Koscielny and Mertesacker understand and complement each other. Koscielny played the stopper role, as he is a more aggresive defender, and quicker of the pair; while Mertesacker usally sits deeper and rely on his excellent, unflappable game reading and composure. Looking at their form, it would be hard for Vermaelen to reclaim the spot in near time, even though rotation is required, especially on December festive period. You can't win anything with just two fit, recognized centre back.

A credit must also given to Mikel Arteta who shielded the backfour well. Gooners was worried of lack of protection to back four when Flamini is injured, but Arteta stepped up well on this occasion. He was brilliant in keeping possession, as he did against Liverpool, as well as being the first man closing down Dortmund players when Arsenal was being counter-attacked. I was worried when he was booked early on, but he kept his temper and was able to finish 90 minutes without sent off. This victory highlighted the importance of the deep midfielder. This Arsenal team would need someone to sit back protecting the backfour and link defender to midfielder, to allow Ozil and co to have freedom in attacking. It's either Arteta or Flamini (or maybe both, remember the 2-0 victory against Napoli). If they both not playing,  Arsenal will suffer, like when they lost against Chelsea in the Carling Cup.

Another impressive player tonight is no other than our current hottest player, Aaron Ramsey. He scored the only goal tonight, with a cool header after receiving Olivier Giroud's flick. Today He was not as lively as usual standard recently, as Dortmund's players were closing down quickly, but nevertheless he made a decisive run into the box and ensure Arsenal grabbed three points from Signal Iduna Park. His workrate is unquestionable, as usual. Ozil was mostly anonymous earlier but he made that beautiful chip to Giroud that lead to the goal. That what a genius player can do, one moment of magic even when you're not at your best form.

Rosicky played well too. He tirelessly pressed the oppostion, as well as made few great tackles. It's amazing remembering he is 33 this year.  Szczesny also made two smart save from Reus and Kuba to keep the scoreless game before Ramsey scored.

Actually everyone in the team today deserved a worthy mention, but I just want to emphasize the excellent team defending tonight. Few years back, Arsenal defence was one of the worst among Champions League participant and top four in Premier League, but this year it look difference. We defend as a unit, and generally look solid under enormous amount of pressure from the opposition. There are no silly individual mistakes done again like in previous years. We are able to keep clean sheet in a game when a goal is hard to come by and we start to be able to win ugly, keeping 1 goal lead till death. It's one of the quality the Arsenal must have if they want to win something this year. 

This away win against Dortmund definitely brings confidence and momentum ahead of United game, away again, this weekend. Keep the feet on the ground, keep aware, but play our usual ame and we can win this one. COYG! VCC!

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