Arsenal made up for their 2-1 loss at home against Borussia Dortmund two weeks ago by returning the favour in Germany with a 1-0 win in their Champions League Group F match on November 6. Aaron Ramsey, with his 11th goal in all competitions, scored the game’s only goal in the second half and Dortmund had difficulty mounting any serious attacks after that.
The result was an excellent one for the Gunners even though they were slightly outplayed and Dortmund should have been awarded a penalty in the last minute of injury time. The German side also had the ball in the net twice in the first half, but both times the play was rightly called offside.
Dortmund were looking for their eighth straight win at home in the Champions League and they had never lost against an English club before. Arsenal on the other hand were looking for their 15th consecutive undefeated match on the road and were successful. They’ve now won 13 and drawn two of those past 15 encounters.
Dortmund were the better team in the first half, but couldn’t convert on their chances, and if they did manage to, they were offside. Arsenal didn’t put up much of an attacking threat in the first 45 minutes and were also fortunate that Dortmund missed the net on several other chances. When they did manage to shoot on target, Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny was in the right position to make the save.
For all of their possession and chances created Dortmund went to the dressing room level at 0-0 at the half time break. They started the second half the way they ended the first stanza with Dortmund owning the ball and creating all of the chances. However, they just couldn’t come up with the clear cut opportunity they needed and Szczesny was just as sharp as he was in the first half.
With Dortmund pressing the action and looking the most likely to score, Arsenal turned the tables on their hosts and jumped out into the lead in the 62nd minute. Midfielder Mesut Ozil had the ball on the right edge of the Dortmund 18-yard box and chipped the ball into the middle of the pitch where Olivier Giroud nodded it on to Ramsey. The Welsh midfielder then met hit with his head and powered it past keeper Roman Weidenfeller.
This was the turning point of the game as Arsenal came close to doubling the lead on a few occasions and Dortmund struggled to create chances after this point. However, the German club should have been given a penalty in injury time when Robert Lewandowski was pulled down in the penalty box by the arms of Per Mertesacker. The referee ignored it though and the Gunners took home all three points on a hard-earned victory.
One sore point sticks out though and that’s the ridiculous pair of substitutions made by manager Arsene Wenger in second half injury time. They’re made just to waste time, but good managers realize that these moves create the opposite effect. With four minutes of injury time added onto the game, Wenger’s subs extended this to five minutes When you have the lead the goal should be to get the game over with as quickly as possible. Making these substitutions simply adds on more injury time and gives your opponents added seconds to make you pay for it. A Dortmund goal in the 95th minute would have clearly been Wenger’s fault.
Arsenal now sits on top of Group F with nine points as do Italian club Napoli. Dortmund is in third place with six points while French side Marseille is buried in the basement with no points after losing to Napoli. The Gunners next game will be another stern test as they travel up north to take on Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, November 10 at 4pm.
Arsenal Player Ratings-Wed. Nov. 6
Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Arsenal- Champions League Group F Match 4
Wojciech Szczesny – 7.5
The Polish international was there when needed and that was several times in the first half. A clean sheet on the road in Dortmund is nothing to sneeze at.
Bacary Sagna – 7
A good solid game by Sagna. He did his job well in all areas of the pitch.
Per Mertesacker – 7.5
Mertesacker was pumped playing in his homeland and handled everything that came his way. However, he should have been called for a penalty in second half injury time when he grabbed and pulled down Lewandowski.
Laurent Koscielny – 7
A good game by the French defender as he handled the Dortmund attackers as well as could be expected. He was excellent in his own end.
Kieran Gibbs – 7
A steady game by Gibbs and he should be considered for England when he plays like this.
Mikel Arteta – 7
Arteta played well defensively and offensively, but needs to be more careful with his tackles, especially when he’s on a yellow card.
Aaron Ramsey – 7.5
Ramsey, perhaps as expected these days, scored another goal and had a fine game. Karma or something similar is definitely on Ramsey’s side and he’s taking full advantage of it. He’s earned it too.
Santi Cazorla – 7
Cazorla’s passing was spot on and he played a big part even though he didn’t create much offensively. Was taken off after 75 minutes for Nacho Monreal as Wenger decided to go defensive instead of carrying on the way they were.
Mesut Ozil – 7
Ozil played well. Perhaps not his best, but there was nothing to complain about. His chip helped set up Ramsey’s goal.
Tomas Rosicky – 7
Rosicky, a former Dortmund player, also had a fine game. He got stuck in with some tackles and did what he could when he had the ball. Was taken off after 91 minutes for Thomas Vermaelen.
Olivier Giroud – 7
Giroud put in a good shift as usual and helped create Ramsey’s goal with a great nod on with his head while in traffic. Was taken off after 90 minutes for Nicklas Bendtner.
Nacho Monreal – 6
Came on for Cazorla after 75 minutes and fit in well as his presence wasn’t really noticeable.
Thomas Vermaelen – N/A
Came on after 91 minutes for Rosicky to waste time.
Nicklas Bendtner – N/A
Came on for Giroud after 90 minutes to waste time.