After recording five Premier League wins on the trot, Arsenal will want to continue their current fine run of form by securing victory against Borussia Dortmund and booking a place in the knock-out phase of the Champions League. But in saying this Dortmund, who have also had an eerily similar revival to the gunners, will not go down easy with a number of danger men in their ranks.
On offence it will again be all eyes on Arsenal talisman Robin van Persie who continues his fine run of freakish form this calendar year. According to recent Arsenal statistics, the flying Dutchman has had 13 starts for the gunners with 3 substitute appearances in all competitions and has scored a very impressive 14 goals this term. Hopefully team-mate Theo Walcott will be able to maintain his menacing form from the weekend and aid Van Persie in terrorising the Dortmund defence as well as building some much needed consistency.
After an amateur mistake at the weekend, it is possible that German defender Per Mertesacker may find himself on the bench, but after Wenger recently launched a staunch defence of Per there is a high possibility that the back-line will resemble the one used in the victory against Norwich at the weekend with Koscielny on the right and Santos on the left. While Santos has often been criticised for his defending, WhoScored.com reveals surprising statistics where the Brazilian has made more tackles and interceptions on average than any other Arsenal player with 4.5 tackles and 3.2 interceptions per game and perhaps isn’t as fragile as he has been portrayed to be in the media of late.
In terms of the opposition, Borussia Dortmund will want their first trip to the Emirates stadium to be one to remember. The German club has sparked a revival of their own after a sluggish start where they are now unbeaten in 8 matches. The German team will look to trouble the Arsenal defence with two in-form players of their own being German wonder-kid Mario Gotze and striker Rober Lewandowski. In the Bundesliga both players have recorded exceptional statistics according to WhoScored.com with Gotze already having 5 goals and 4 assists to his name in 11 appearances and Lewandowski recording 8 goals and 4 assists in 13 appearances.
With so much potential on attack, one would expect to be at least a few goals in this contest. Although in saying this I, as well as many other Arsenal fans, will be hoping the gunners will be able to maintain their recent improvements in defence and keep the German visitors from bulging the back of the net while our front three terrorise the Dortmund defence at the other end of the pitch.
For detailed statistics, in-depth match previews and reports, and much more from the Premier League and many other leagues and competitions around the world, visit WhoScored.com.
Arsenal : WWDWW
(Champions League in red)
on the latest injury news:
From Saturday everybody is available. We lost Tomas Rosicky in training, he has been replaced by Abou Diaby. Rosicky has a small thigh strain.
on Diaby’s return:
I am very happy. It’s been a little bit quicker than expected because he looked good in training, so it’s good to have him back. He has not played one minute since the start of the season and had his surgery in June, so it’s good news to have him back.
on Van Persie:
Robin started on the bench last time [in the Champions League] because we had some medical concerns. Tomorrow we have no medical concerns at all, that means he will start.
Arsenal – Robin Van Persie – The flying Dutchman has been in outstanding form this season and his threat to opposition teams can not be argued with. Scoring a brace at the weekend to secure Arsenal’s fifth consecutive victory, his confidence going into this match will be sky-high with the Dutchman himself saying he expects to score in every game.
Dortmund – Robert Lewandowski – With an exceptional performance against German giants Bayern Munich at the weekend, Dortmund’s main striker will look to expose Arsenal’s defence which at times has leaked soft goals after costly lapses in concentration. No doubt he will be looking to transfer his league form to the Champions League after only scoring in it once so far.
Koscielny Mertesacker Vermaelen Santos
Walcott Van Persie (c) Gervinho
While Mertesacker was guilty of a amateur mistake at the weekend, after Wenger’s defence of the German expect him to retain his spot alongside the always solid Thomas Vermaelen. With Jenkinson still sidelined with injury Koscielny should also retain his spot at right-back after experiencing a rich vein of form.
After terrorising the Norwich defence multiple times at the weekend, also expect the front three to remain the same. Hopefully Gervinho brings his finishing boots to the match though after having a failing to score a few sitters at the weekend!