Anderlecht were ahead 1-0 going into the dying stages of the game and looked good to win the Champions’ League tie in Brussels until a late Arsenal comeback saw Gibbs and Podolski find the net in quick succession and secure the victory.
Understandably, there was quite some frustration in the Anderlecht camp, and midfielder Dennis Praet claims that they could have won, were it not for fatigue.
I was confident that we would win it. I don’t think Arsenal created many chances. We defended well as a unit and didn’t allow their attackers any space to create something.
That makes it all the more disappointing that you concede two late goals. We lost focus toward the end and fatigue kicked in. That cost us the win.
A particularly youthful Anderlecht side had definitely been the better team for most of the game, and perhaps a loss was a harsh result on them. Praet also went on to say that despite Arsenal being such a big club, they were easier to deal with than Dortmund.
Arsenal are still a top team, but we made life very difficult for them. We didn’t allow them any space. Borussia Dortmund, for example, were much more like a machine. Dortmund are incredibly fast in transition and on the counterattack.
Arsenal always enjoy a lot of possession and that was the case today as well. They tried to find a solution from there, but we limited their options.
Based on this game, I think we can get something from the second game against Arsenal. We lost, but have reasons to be confident. Of course, it will not be easy in London, but we will again give our all.
The return fixture at the Emirates is another must win game for Arsenal if they want to overtake Dortmund and win the group. In fact, Arsenal need to win all the remaining games, including a home fixture against Dortmund, to progress as the winners of the group and secure comparatively easier opposition in the next round.