After yesterday’s capitulation to Dortmund, Arsene Wenger faced the press. The performance was lacklustre and dispirited and left much to be desired from both the players and the manager. People were naturally critical about his choice of the first XI, especially against a pacy, attacking side like Dortmund. The way their forwards kept getting through on goal with such frequency proved clearly that our defensive tactics are still not working.
We were without both our first choice full backs. But Dortmund were missing a large portion of their first team, yet they were dominant for most of the game. Arsene Wenger’s tactics have become predictable, and the lack of a hard working defensive midfielder was clearly highlighted yesterday. Mikel Arteta, handed that role, was proved severely lacking, and was simply unable to keep up with the Dortmund forwards.
The weaknesses of Ozil were again displayed for all to see, not only is he very uncomfortable playing in the wide positions, he cannot track back; and this exposes the left back defensively, and lets him get doubled up by the opposition.
Here are a few excerpts from Wenger:
Congratulations to Dortmund, they were the better team. We had a disappointing performance and the victory is normal. Still the paradox of the night is we had very good chances to score first that didn’t go for us and went for them. We were caught on two counter-attacks on 45 and 48 minutes and that was very difficult.
When asked about Welbeck’s finishing woes:
He will [finish], I don’t think we have to make a problem with that. He had a very lively first half and he couldn’t finish from his two or three good chances in the first half. We have to be patient [with him].
When asked about Immobile’s goal while surrounded:
We had still three against one at the back and that’s still difficult to understand how we conceded the goal. It’s true that we lost the ball 80 meters from our goal but after that I think there were enough people to stop the goal.
On what was the most disappointing aspect of the loss:
They were better and stronger than us in midfield, I agree with that. But it’s very difficult on the night to go into any individual assessment of any players because as a team we were not at the requested level.
Another point of concern for Arsenal fans is that Jack Wilshere was taken off after appearing to injure his ankle. Wenger was reticent about the seriousness of the injury, but this is another blow to Arsenal early on in the season itself. Wilshere had impressed over the weekend and was again the standout player at Dortmund, so his loss would hurt Arsenal.
Jack Wilshere has turned his ankle, it’s difficult to say how bad it is because I am a bit cautious, normally it’s not very bad but because of his history I’m a bit cautious. Apart from that no player I took off was injured.
The pressure on Wenger is mounting, especially after a disappointing transfer market. Players like Ozil and Arteta are coming in for severe criticism and it will be tougher for him to justify picking them in the team over players like the Ox. Wenger needs to make a few quick decisions before the next game and he needs a good result to go his way as well.