I had a disastrous start to the evening, the Underground was beyond ridiculous and the tickets I’d secured for my American friends fell through. I eventually headed in with a German pal who had to put up with the muppets behind me making Nazi references all game. Luckily, my pal took it for what it was… ‘I can’t imagine it would happen outside the ground, it’s part of the spirit’… hmmm, I’d like to think so. Honestly, Nazi comments in this day in age?
The first half was nothing to write home about. A cagey affair played out mostly in midfield. Theo nearly beat the keeper to a through ball and Robin shot just wide. The only other Arsenal highlight I can think of was a dangerous whipped cross from Walcott. Slim pickings eh?
Dortmund didn’t fair much better. Firstly their two star players went off. Bender to a Vermaelen induced jaw break and Gotze to a Song collision. This severely affected their shape and confidence. Attack wise they managed a speculative long range shot that blazed just past the post and Chesney easily dealt with the half volley fired at him.
The second half started with a bit more attacking authority. Dortmund had the first chance, Chesney did well to save a low shot.
We were the team to open the scoring. Songinho had the ball out wide with three players surrounding him, he cut inside on man then shimmied his way between two more, raced into the box, chipped a pass to the back post where Robin was on hand to head home.
A great bit of skill from Song.
Robin momentarily dropped with an ankle complaint after a poor challenge. You could hear the gasps. He jumped back up. He’d learnt the art of manning up this summer. That drew the biggest cheer of the night.
We searched for the second knowing full well one is never enough. Gervinho went close after taking the ball round the keeper only to miss out on the shot because two Dortmund defenders caught him.
Here’s an idea Gervinho, shoot early!
It came late on when an Arteta corner was nodded on by Vermaelen to a waiting Robin Van Persie. 2 goals from the man who just can’t stop scoring!
The Germans sang, ‘you only sing when you’re winning’, how right they were!
A game wouldn’t be complete without us conceding a sloppy goal. Song lost possession in a dangerous area, Dortmund took advantage, everyone conspired to balls up and Kagawa smashed past Chezzer. Embarrassing stuff. Vermaelen was furious.
Arsenal managed to see out the game and celebrated qualification into the last 16. No stumbling this year. 1st in the group was ours!
A solid performance from Arsenal, slightly overshadowed by some very sloppy play late on. We need to tighten up, because there will come a point when we’ll have to rely on winning games 1-0. At the moment, we look incapable of doing that. Sure the defence has greatly improved, but since September, in all competitions, we’ve only managed 5 clean sheets in 16. That’s not good enough and it needs to improve if we have aspirations of achieving a trophy this year.
There were some great performances out there last night… I’ll list them below!
P.S. The Dortmund fans were immense last night. They have a conductor who leads the way with their choreographed clapping and stamping. Amazing to watch, amazing to hear!
Chezzer – Didn’t really have much to do all night. 6
Santos – Leaves us exposed at times, but overall, he’s feeling his way into the Arsenal way quite nicely. 6.5
Kozzer – Another solid game at right back. JD had a part to play in the goal we conceded, I think it’s the right decision to keep the Frenchman where he is at the moment. 7
Vermaelen – Snuffed out everything that came his way, another imposing game. 8
Mertesacker – More calmness from the German today. Doesn’t get enough credit for the thing he does well. 7
Song – A superb game until he gave up posession at the end for the Dortmund goal. ‘We’ve only got one Song’ was the fan song of choice last night, and truly deserved in the main. He bossed the midfield last night and served a great assist to Robin 7.5
Arteta – Controlled the pace well, continuing his great partnership with Song. I think that’s the telling difference this year, Arteta really sacrifices some of his attacking game to give us solidity. 7.5
Ramsey – Showcased some excellent passing last night. Has the engine of an ox and the extra time spent in the gym last season is starting to tell in games. He doesn’t get bullied by anyone. 7.5
Robin – It does get boring churning out superlatives for a player who is clearly the best striker in the world at the moment. His movement, creativity and deadly finishing is an absolute joy to watch. One thing I will say is that while people rightly report most of the goals are coming through him, what they’re failing to mention is the quality of final ball he’s receiving. Both goals last night were teed up so well, Chamakh could have finished them. The supply line is gradually improving . 9
Gervinho – He’s turning into a bit of a marmite amongst fans. He was sloppy with his passing last night and he lost the ball a few too many times. He’s adapting though, you can see he’s a proper wide man and he has a natural ability. Once he channels that into finishing, he’ll be a force for us. 6
Theo – Had an off night yesterday. Whipped in some dangerous balls but his touch deserted him at times and he wasn’t particularly effective. 6.5
P.S. I’ll be at the AST meeting listening to Tom Fox talk marketing later. Hopefully we’ll get an explanation from him about his thoughts on our waiting list and why he thinks that means we’re not paying enough.