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Arsenal 2 Dortmund 0: Good Performance, Better Result

The Arsenal players celebrates the French youngster's early goal in the Champions League Group D clash

Arsenal 2 (Sanogo 2′, Sanchez 57′) – Dortmund 0

Match Report Match HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference (via Arsenal.com)

‘Solidarity’. That’s what the manager called for in the wake of the saddening loss to Manchester United. With Jack Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny out injured, coupled with the whispers that Danny Welbeck was going to miss out due to a knee problem, many fans watched as Yaya Sanogo led the line and before we go ready the torches and pitchforks to wail about why Lukas Podolski wasn’t given a run out, it took Sanogo just 73 seconds to finally open his Arsenal goalscoring account. Now he’s 73 goals behind Lionel Messi in the all-time Champions League goalscoring records.

The passing play from Arsenal was simply amazing. Santi Cazorla may be on the spotlight for not scoring a goal since when Merlin was the Chief Wizard in Camelot, but he was outstanding on the night creating chances for his teammates. Despite soaking up a lot of pressure, Dortmund did have the odd sniff at the Arsenal goal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan firing a shot that was saved by the young Emiliano Martinez in goal.

The match clincher arrived when the inhumane Alexis Sanchez was at it again, latching onto a Cazorla pass and sweetly curling the ball past Weidenfeller. That was his ninth goal in eight games for club and country. What an addition he has been to this club!

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers were awesome in every sense of the word, wreaking havoc down the right flank to devastating effect. The Ox put up another all-action performance and performed his duties like the admirable winger he is. He almost had his moment of glory when he controlled the ball magnificently before slamming Roman Weidenfeller’s bar. On the downside, there was yet another injury to Mikel Arteta and you have to feel for the Arsenal captain that has struggled to stay fit this season. Sanogo also pulled up short as the game reached its climax which must have dampened his spirit that was lifted following his opening goal.

This ultimately meant that the bench-laden duo of Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell got chances to play some football. A third goal would have been the icing on the cake but beating Dortmund with such a good performance would go a long way in restoring some measure of confidence to the lads.

I’m so sure that they can’t wait to get to the Hawthorns to have them some West Bromy meat!

Sayonara

Dortmund Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

On this day in 2010, this blog was formed and it has been four years of a wonderful experience writing about the club I love and support. I’d like to use this medium to thank everyone that has played a role or two in making Gooner Daily a success story. Let’s keep the flame burning.

Moving to the business of the day, Arsental host a Dortmund side on the back on a poor run of results. Before the international break, the Gunners famously surrendered a comfortable 3-0 lead against Anderlecht at the Emirates and this was followed with another dismal result against Swansea in the league. The match against Manchester United last weekend was one of the best attacking displays I’ve seen from the team in a long while but as always, the Gunners shot themselves in the foot as a Gibbs own goal and a Shrek clincher was enough to give the visitors their first away victory since April.

Tonight the Gunners come up against a Dortmund side that has been hot in Europe but cold in theteam Bundesliga. For a team so formidable in recent years, picking up just 11 points from 12 games has seen the German outfit have their worst start in a very long while. The Gunners are also struggling in the Premier League notching up 17 points from 12 games as well.

To injuries, the Gunners are very likely to be without the duo of Wojciech Szczesny and Jack Wilshere that suffered injuries in the defeat to Manchester United. The regulars are still out and with Theo Walcott suffering a groin strain, he’s going to miss tonight’s clash. On the bright side, Arsenal’s French pair of Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud are back but the HFB is going to miss tonight’s game as well as the game against Galatasaray next month because he’s ineligible. Dortmund have injury concerns of their own with the influential Marco Reus suffering an injury in the game against Paderborn. The Germans will also ne without the likes of Sven Bender, Mats Hummels, Oliver Kirch, Nuri Sahin, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Jakub Błaszczykowski.

To team news, Emiliano Martinez is odds on to start in goal but the question remains whether Arsene Wenger would throw Koscielny straight into the mix instead of sticking with the Mertesacker – Monreal central defensive combination. Say what you want about the Spaniard but he has been better than Mertesacker in the recent games they’ve played together. The English pair of Kierab Gibbs and Calum Chambers would maraud the flanks.

Mikel Arteta would obviously start ahead of Mathieu Flamini and he’d be odds on to play alongside Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman hasn’t hit top gear this season but he recently stated that he’s getting fitter with each passing game. Santi Cazorla is a player going through some struggles as well but with Wilshere out injured and Tomas Rosicky clearly out of favor, the diminutive Spaniard would have another chance to get a run out. I expect the pacey attacking combination of Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and the Ox.

Enjoy the game wherever you are

Sayonara.

Open Letter to Arsenal After the Club’s Defeat Against Dortmund

Football is such a fascinating sport.

When things are going your way with your favorite team recording victories, all flaws are swept under the carpet and everyone is all peachy’ and creamy’. When your team draws a match, there are always mixed opinions but then again, it depends on the circumstances surrounding the draw. While you would regard Arsenal’s draw against Leicester to be disappointing, Arsenal’s draw against Manchester City was a relief, because things could have been a lot worse.

However, when your favorite team loses, all Hell breaks loose and you’d see a 1,001 Arsene Wengers surfacing on several social media networking platforms sharing their views on how the manager could have set things up and the whole nine yards.

That’s where a guy like Anayo Alexander Nwosu comes in. Simply known as @K_Sturna on Twitter, Anayo is a very passionate Arsenal fan that has been supporting the club since the days Merlin was the Chief Wizard at Camelot. In the wake of Arsenal’s disappointing performance against Dortmund, this fan has shared his thoughts and I would love my readers to get a feel of his open letter to the club.

Dear Arsenal,

You have a big problem right now and Arsene Wenger is 60% of that problem, whether you agree with me or not. Maybe it’s when we get knocked out from the top four come May our eyes would be opened clearly to see how things are panning out at the club. 

Arsene Wenger as they say, is a genius. When he drops a quote, they’d say he’s the most intelligent coach in world football. Yes, he can manage resources and I can say that no other coach in the world might have been able to go through what he did in the club’s move to a new stadium but on the pitch, Wenger has been found wanting.

I can’t blame young Hector Bellerin for getting his Champions League debut under such circumstances. It was his second senior match ever! That he should have been called upon for such a game is down to the manager. He was the one that chose not to improve the defense despite its glaring frailties. Even the poor ol’ Mikel Arteta didn’t pick himself. Wenger did. The French manager’s fundamental problem is his sentiment!

We needed a ‘hatchet’ holding midfielder that would have been vital to the team’s cause this season because of the way we attack. Wenger did not buy because of Arteta and Mathieu Flamini. You people say that Arteta has a great influence but he doesn’t lead by example on the pitch. Flamini is also finished and doesn’t deserve to be in the team. Mikel Arteta at his current age will not make the bench of the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea or even the new-look Manchester United. But in Arsenal, he plays on a consistent basis even to the point when fatigue takes his toll and he get’s injured.

Can you imagine having only three central defenders in the team and their replacement is also the second choice right back? Sometimes I question Wenger’s ambition but at the same time, I don’t blame him. If a man knows that he’s allowed to behave anyhow he likes in his workplace, he can just come to work, sleep and won’t be productive but at the end of the month, he gets his salary and even a pay rise! What would you expect from that kind of a person? He won’t do anything because there’s no pressure on him.

It’s glaring that Mesut Ozil is going through a phase and he’s in a run of dismal form yet Wenger chose to play him in front of a 19-year-old inexperienced right back. Tomas Rosicky would have been the perfect alternative because with his energy and work rate, he would have offered protection to Bellerin, something Ozil couldn’t do all game long. When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came late on, there was a moment where he tracked back (into Bellerin’s position) and made a sliding challenge on Henrikh Mkhitaryan to block a shot that would probably have gone in. Would Ozil have done this? Dortmund is renowned for closing their opponents down but at Arsenal, it’s just Alexis (he learned this from his time at FC Barcelona) and Ramsey that close down for us. See the first goal we conceded and observe Jack Wilshere’s body language.

How many passes did we misplace today? Since this season began, we have struggled with our intricate, crisp and accurate passing play. What happened to the way we do things? The Arsenal way we have come to love and cherish?

When you know what you need, as a manager with the financial backing Arsenal has, you should go for it. Jurgen Klopp lost Mario Gotze and replaced him with Henrikh Mkhitaryan. He lost a predator in the form of Robert Lewandowski and replaced him with Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos. This Dortmund team is the weakest we have ever played – there was no Marco Reus, Kuba, Matts Hummels, Shinji Kagawa, Lukasz Piszczek and Ilkay Gundogan but Arsenal failed to turn up.

I don’t know what the players do during their training sessions but I must confess that Arsenal’s ‘big-game’ mentality is horribly poor. Wenger just doesn’t know how to prepare his boys for the so-called big games. I’m praying to have an engagement that would make me the game against Chelsea in Stamford Bridge next month because I have a hunch of what the outcome might just be – Arsenal going there “4 – nothing”.

Arsene Wenger is too stubborn. He knows when some things aren’t working out for him but he keeps trying them for reasons best known to him. Heck, he doesn’t even watch our opponents before the match because he says it’s ‘not necessary’, that we should concentrate on our own game. He will only wait when its almost too late to remove a player that is below-par. Halftime subs aren’t in his lexicon except when the player is probably injured. This game needed an Ox or a Rosicky right from the start of the second half. One must wonder what Rosicky has to do to play for us this season.

Under normal circumstances, Ramsey and Ozil are meant to be on the bench in the game against Aston Villa with any two from Rosicky/Cazorla/Ox taking their places. But who am I? Just a fan right? Counter attacks have been our biggest problem since 1759, and shockingly, we still haven’t resolved it. We have pace in the form of Alexis, Welbeck and the Ox, yet we can’t even utilize it. See how Immobile and Aubameyang used their pace to devastating effect against us. We are waiting for Theo Walcott to return from a lengthy layoff before we begin to fly.

We sold Alex Song and converted a central midfielder to a holding midfielder. A classic case of a convincing an aging square peg that it can fill a round hole. 

The only constant thing in life is change and Arsenal needs it, whether it’s in personnel or methodology. Either ways I’m up for it.

Anayo Nwosu, a passionate fan.

You can follow Anayo Nwosu on Twitter with his handle @K_Sturna

Sayonara.

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