It there ever was a performance in recent times that deserved the comeback of the ‘One-nil to the Arsenal’ chant this was it, but it was not to be for the Gunners as a world-class volley from Ivan Perisic just outside the 18-yard box sealed a point for the home team a few minutes from time with the game finishing up 1-1, as predicted by us here at allArsenal.com.
Although circumstances looked shaky at times in the opening half, Arsenal defended resolutely after taking the lead just before the break through a coolly finished 20-yard strike from Robin van Persie and perhaps only a top-draw Dortmund goal was the only thing that could break a gunner’s defence that repelled attack after attack in the second half.
It was an ironic match to watch as a young Dortmund team played a style of passing football very reminiscent to Arsenal, holding a dominant amount of the possession and weaving together well-worked moves that, also like Arsenal, lacked the killer blow.
While on the back foot though, Arsenal still had great chances to extend their lead before the late equaliser. Van Persie and Gervinho will be rueing their failed attempts to put the ball in the back of the net after getting themselves into very dangerous positions. The latter having the clearest opportunity after working hard to earn a one-on-one chance but stumbling at a vital moment allowing Dortmund goalkeeper Weidenfeller to come out and block his goalward toe-poke.
With new players in the squad who are adapting to life at Arsenal, I am sure many gunner’s fans would have been happy getting a point before the match which was away from home and against the current German champions. While a late equaliser spoiled a win for the gunner’s I am content with the result and am happy with the gunner’s spirited and united performance.
on whether Arsenal were unfortunate not to win the game…
“We battled really hard and we knew it would be a hard, hard game. To be able to defend well is a high-quality skill and that is something all of our players did this evening. I shouldn’t think many teams will come to Dortmund and beat them and we were very, very close to doing that. ”
on Robin van Persie’s goal…
“It is nothing unusual to see Robin do something like that. It was a great run from Robin and it was also a terrific ball through [from Theo]. It is unusual to see Robin hit it with his right foot but it just proves that he is not just a left-footed footballer. ”
on the captain’s leadership…
“Robin is obviously the Club captain and we encourage him to be verbal both on the park and also off it, especially in the dressing room. He was just asking me one or two things that he thought we could have done better and I was just saying one or two things that we could actually do to make the team better. ”
on withstanding a lot of first-half Dortmund pressure…
“As I said before, to actually defend well is a high-quality skill and our players did it very, very well. Don’t forget Dortmund are a really good side, there is no question about that. Would we liked to have won the game? Of course we would, we were so close to it and so very, very near. But the same thing happened to us as when we played Tottenham and the boy [Danny] Rose hit and unbelievable shot from about 35 yards. It was the same this evening. I should imagine that he could try that 25, 30, 40 times and he would hit it over the bar or at the goalkeeper. It was a great goal. ”
on whether Dortmund’s style made it like playing against Arsenal…
“Yeah, very, very much so. Now we know what it is like whenever we are or form! But, as I say, our lads stuck to it well. It was a very hard game, as you could see. When Gervinho went through, the game could have been over if he had stuck it in the back of the net. So, really and truthfully, a point apiece was a good result.
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Walcott Van Persie (c) Gervinho
Wojciech Szczesny | 7.5: Although Dortmund dominated proceedings in the first- half, the Pole was rarely called into action but late in game made significant saves to deny the German team, especially the stop he made to deny Dortmund a winner very late on. Can not be faulted for the wonder-goal by Perisic.
Bacary Sagna | 7.0: Made a crucial off-the-line save after Lewandowski went around Szczesny in the opening half and defended resolutely on his side of the field.
Laurent Koscielny | 6.0: Although he made some woeful errors in the opening half that should have been capitalised on by the German team, the Frenchman had an inspired second half in which he didn’t put a foot wrong.
Per Mertesacker | 6.0: Had a slow start to the game and found it difficult to keep up with Dortmund’s lively strikers, but improved significantly as the game progressed by making tackles and beginning to assert himself on any aerial threat.
Kieran Gibbs | 6.0: Made a bad error to gift Gotze the ball in the opening half, which again should have been capitilised on. Like Mertesacker improved as the game wore on and was solid in the second half.
Alex Song | 8.5: While the Cameroon midfielder had a relatively quiet opening half, in the second I lost count of the number of times he was there to save the day for the gunners. Broke up a numerous amount of Dortmund’s attacks producing an excellent performance.
Mikel Arteta | 6.0: The Spaniard found it hard to have a influence in the opening half of the match with Dortmund dominating in the middle. Picked up his game in the second half though and was composed on the ball, winning free-kicks for the heavily under-pressure gunners.
Yossi Benayoun | 6.0: Produced a great ball for Van Persie in the opening half and had a very high-work rate throughout the match, giving it his all. Not ideal circumstances for the creative midfielder though as Arsenal were under the pump for much of the match.
Gervinho | 6.0: Looked to attack the Dortmund defence whenever he had the chance, which at times seemed not to be the right option. Had two glorious chances to score, one early in the match and the other fifteen minutes after the break and perhaps should have done better, particularly on the latter.
Theo Walcott | 5.5: Provided the tidy through ball for Van Persie which lead to the goal, but otherwise had little impact on the match. His final ball still leaves a little to be desired.
Robin van Persie | 6.5: Was given a great opportunity when he received the ball by Benayoun in the opening half but failed to capitilise. Made no mistake with his second chance though as his coolly finished Walcott’s through ball from just outside the area.
- Notable Substitutions
Frimpong, Santos, Chamakh | N/A: The three substitutions were a clear attempt to provide more quality on defence and protect the slender lead. Didn’t really have a chance to impose themselves on the match as Dortmund laid on attack after attack.