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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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Dortmund 2 Arsenal 0: Bad Result, Worse Performance

Dortmund 2 (Immobile 45′, Aubameyang 48′) – Arsenal 0

Signal Iduna Park (Champions League)

Player RatingsMatch HighlightsWenger Press Conference

The Gunners donned their new cup kits for the first time in a ground they had gotten some good results in the past. As recently as last season, all it took was an Aaron Ramsey header to settle the contest between both sides. As expected, Dortmund pressured the Gunners early on and almost had the lead when Henrikh Mkhitaryan dribbled Mikel Arteta in the box but took a dive, much to the disgust of the referee that brandished him a yellow card. The pressure continued as Ciro Immobile had a shot that was blocked by Laurent Koscielny.

Dortmund had a corner that put Arsenal’s zonal marking to the test but Sokratis Papastathopoulos was free in the box. However, his poor shot went wide off the mark. Arsenal managed to instigate an attack but Alexis Sanchez was offside. Despite hearing the ref’s whistle, Alexis still put the ball in the net and thoughts of Robin van Persie’s red card against FC Barcelona in 2011 came to my memory. Kevin Grosskreutz skipped past Hector Bellerin with ease before drilling a cross that was fired in first time by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but Szczesny was on hand to make a superb save.

Dortmund continued to ask questions of Arsenal’s defense with another drilled effort that almost made Koscielny to suffer the ignominy of an own goal but Szczesny blocked the ball to Mkhitaryan’s path that launched his shot into orbit. Arsenal made a rare foray forward when Kieran Gibbs took on all comers before dinking a cross that Danny Welbeck couldn’t connect well with. On the other end of the pitch, Mkhitaryan fired another shot wide and Aubameyang stung Szczesny’s palms with a shot that was parried to the side netting.

Arsenal soaked a lot of pressure and in an instance Ramsey created a great chance for Welbeck but the forward fired his shot wide off the mark. In a game where the chances for Arsenal were few and far between, these were the kind of balls you’d expect your striker to bury. Shame.

With Welbeck failing to take the initiative, Immobile singlehandedly took on the entire defense and side-footed a shot that beat Szczesny in his far post to put the home side one up.

 

It was a very disappointing first half for the Gunners and one must have hoped that the players would be fired up for the second half but it was the exact opposite as the players switched off in typical fashion to allow Aubameyang skip past Szczesny before firing the ball to an unguarded net. Dortmund weren’t resting on their comfortable lead and they sought to inflict more damage on Arsenal as Immobile latched onto Mkhitaryan’s pass to fire a shot that was saved by Szczesny.

Sanchez teed up a chance for Welbeck that was blocked by the Dortmund rearguard. The home side launched a counter attack that tore the Arsenal defense to shreds but Aubameyang’s surface to goal missile slammed the cross bar before going over the bar. Wenger decided to remove the ineffectual Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey for Santi Cazorla and the Ox. Arsenal’s misery was almost compounded when Szczesny almost gifted Aubameyang the ball on a platter but the ball went out for a goal kick.

Things almost went from bad to worse when Arteta lost the ball in midfield but Mkhitaryan certainly didn’t come to the pitch with his shooting boots as he blasted a shot over when he had two players free on his far side. Wenger put Arteta out of his misery by bringing on Lukas Podolski in his stead. Jack Wilshere attempted one of his trademark lung-bursting runs but he was robbed off the ball. Mkhitaryan grabbed the loose ball and closed in on goal but the Ox showed good awareness to deflect the ball to a corner.

Arsenal would have scored what would have proved to be a consolation when Wilshere dinked a lovely ball for Podolski but his poor control as well as pressure from Roman Weidenfeller saw the ball go out for a goal kick, much to Podolski’s frustrations.

At the end, it was a very disappointing start to Arsenal’s Champions League campaign as they lost for the first time in Match Day 1 since the 3-0 reverse scoreline to Internazionale in 2003. I wonder how they’d pick themselves from this mess.

We would find out on Saturday.

Sayonara.

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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.

DEFENSE

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

MIDFIELD

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

ATTACK

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

SUBSTITUTES

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.

Sayonara.

You can download the Gooner Daily  BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.

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