Daily Archives: September 16, 2014

Dortmund 2 Arsenal 0: Player Ratings

After waiting for the Champions League to get underway, the Gunners decided to put up a collective shambolic performance that was nothing to actually write home about. In the wake of Arsenal’s lackadaisical outing at the Signal Iduna Park, Gooner Daily reviews the performances of the players on the night.


Wojciech Szczesny began the game well, making countless saves as his defense left him helpless but despite the fact that I was disappointed with his reaction to Ciro Immobile’s shot, I can’t fathom what was going through his mind when he charged at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to allow the second goal. As if that wasn’t enough, he almost gifted the Gabonese speed demon another goal. 5/10

Hector Bellerin was overwhelmed by the occasion and struggled as the game progressed. Didn’t offer much offensively and was missing defensively as well. Tough ask for a 19-year-old chap. He’d learn from this. 4/10

Kieran Gibbs was a very good attacking outlet and he fired a couple of good balls into the box. Shame his attackers weren’t in the same wavelength. 7/10

Per Mertesacker was uncharacteristically shocking in defense. The way he allowed Kevin Grosskreutz ball to get to Aubameyang’s path was perplexing. 3/10

Laurent Koscielny also struggled with his defensive partner and he endured a torrid evening. 4/10


Mikel Arteta maybe forgiven for just returning from injury but my word, this was one of the worst performances I’ve seen from him in a long while. To think Mathieu Flamini was bad enough. 2/10

Aaron Ramsey was non-existent in the game bar his pass to Welbeck that was wasted by the English forward. Enough said. 2/10

Jack Wilshere tried to make things happen in midfield but he ran into Yellow and Black brick walls a lot of times. 6/10

Mesut Ozil huffed and puffed on the right flank but it never really worked out for him. He needs some time off to reflect on his bad form. 4/10

Alexis Sanchez endured a bad day in the office as nothing really worked out for him. Times without number, he was smothered by the opposition. 5/10


Danny Welbeck was at his profligate best, wasting the little chances that came his way. Oh well, I didn’t expect him to light fireworks though. 4/10


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain showed some energy, commitment and pace when he arrived. He needs to start ahead of Ozil. 6/10

Santi Cazorla was ineffectual. 4/10

Lukas Podolski spent a considerable chunk of his time looking for something on the bench, only to come into the pitch and squander the chance Wilshere created for him. N/A

Do you agree with these ratings? Feel free to share yours with your comments.


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Dortmund Preview: Back to Germany, a Happy Hunting Ground

13/14: Dortmund v Arsenal - Aaron Ramsey

Arsenal’s last visit to Dortmund was fruitful

After a long wait, the UEFA Champions League is back on our screens and every Arsenal fan would focus on tonight’s match against Borussia Dortmund, a team the Gunners know so well after playing against them in two of the last three seasons. In the 2011/12 campaign, Dortmund were shockingly knocked out of a group that contained Arsenal, Olympique Marseille and Olympiakos but last season, the German outfit topped the group with Arsenal dropping to second place while SSC Napoli had to make do with a Europa League berth.

Arsenal crashed out yet again in the First Knockout Phase to Bayern Munich (again) while Dortmund eased past Zenit before losing to the eventual winners, Real Madrid, in the quarterfinals. Arsenal’s away record in the Champions League is enviable with five wins in their last outings on the road but this season, the Gunners are yet to hit the ground running in the Premier League. After winning a nervy curtain raiser against Crystal Palace, the Gunners have drawn their last three games while Dortmund has won four of their last five fixtures.

This will be Arsenal’s fourth visit to Dortmund, having lost, drawn and won on their three previous visits. The Gunners would have to be weary of the threat Henrikh Mkhitaryan would pose and they would be mindful of the Armenian that scored the opening goal in the 2-1 loss to Dortmund at the Emirates. The game clincher was scored by the dangerous Robert Lewandowski but the Pole has moved to FC Bayern. However, he has been replaced by Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos and both forwards have done quite well this season.

The Gunners travel to Germany with a lot of issues to contend with ranging from the meager defensive numbers as well as the niggling problems – such as the defending from set pieces-that continues to be a thorn in Arsenal’s flesh. Wojciech Szczesny was present with Arsene Wenger in his press conference and the goalie has stated that the club is working on set pieces,

“We do realize that set pieces have been a weakness for us recently. We’ve conceded [a couple] of goals already and it’s very early in the season.

“We did very well last season on set pieces and we’re a bit disappointed. We’ve been working on it in training so hopefully we’ll put that right on Tuesday.”

There is also the issue of the zonal marking that has been deliberated on as many fans believe that the club needs to change its approach, especially when defending corners. Per Mertesacker has shared his thoughts on the issue and I’m hoping that he and his teammates would let their actions on the pitch do the talking rather than off it.

To injuries, the home side will be without the services of Jakub Blaszczykowski, Ilkay Gundogan, Oliver Kirch, Nuri Sahinand Marco Reus, who are all still nursing injuries. There are also doubts over Mats Hummels fitness as he recently picked up a muscle strain but he’s odds on to face a late fitness test to ascertain his fate. The Gunners on the other hand, will be without Matt Debuchy and there are more problems at the back as Calum Chambers is suffering from tonsillitis while Nacho Monreal didn’t even travel with the squad due to a back problem.

With Chambers probably unlikely to start, the game could see Hector Bellerin make an introduction to the big stage and one can hope that he’d be able to cope with the rigors of the big time. However, the Gunners can take confidence in their outstanding record in Germany that has seen them win five and draw fire in their last 15 outings.

To team news, David Ospina would have to wait a little bit longer to make his Arsenal debut as I see Szczesny guarding the sticks. The Pole is yet to keep a clean sheet this season but he can take solace in the fact that his last visit to the Signal Iduna Park saw him go back home with a clean sheet in the bag. The defensive line literally picks itself with Kieran Gibbs on the left, the Mertesielny Axis of Awesome in the middle and Bellerin on the right – provided that Chambers isn’t deemed fit enough to start.

In midfield, it would be a relief seeing the captain, Mikel Arteta, return to the fray in place of Mathieu Flamini but many fans would be waiting to see if Mesut Ozil gets the nod ahead of Santi Cazorla despite his shambolic outing last weekend because it’s clearly obvious that Aaron Ramsey and the in-form Jack Wilshere will play through the middle. Alexis Sanchez would maraud the right flank while Danny Welbeck spearheads the attack.


Dortmund: W W L W W (4th in Bundesliga)

Arsenal: W W D D D (7th in Premier League)


Dortmund: Oliver Kirch (thigh), İlkay Gündoğan (back), Nuri Şahin (knee), Marco Reus (ankle), Jakub Błaszczykowski (muscle tear), Mats Hummels (muscle)

Arsenal:  Mathieu Debuchy (ankle), Nacho Monreal (back), Yaya Sanogo (hamstring), Serge Gnabry (thigh), Olivier Giroud (ankle)

Predicted Lineups

Borussia Dortmund 4-2-3-1 football formationArsenal 4-1-4-1 football formation

This would be a nervy encounter and both teams would show a lot of respect to each other. I expect a tight game and it would probably end as a 1-1 draw.

Here’s to Germany, a happy hunting ground.


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