Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Wilshere and Ozil ineffectual as timid Arsenal lose -Dortmund's fans embarrass us

Morning Gooners.

I guess our winning run was bound to end sooner or later, but I don't think anyone really expected it to do so last night against Dortmund in the Champions League. And I guess there in lies the problem. Perhaps we've become a little too cocky about how well and how far this Arsenal team can go.

Sitting top of the Premier League after eight games, where we've only dropped points in two matches has given us a confidence. There is talk in the media and around the terraces that we could win the title - talk in my mind which is far too early. You don't win the league at this stage of the season, but you can certainly kill your chances.

And in the Champions League we had won two in two. A good win on the road at Marseille and a home win against a Napoli team managed by Rafa Benitez, who were likely to cause us problems. And when last year's beaten finalists turned up, many Gooners were expecting us to take all three points from the game.

Our pre-match confidence was misplaced. There is no doubt about it, this Dortmund team are good but they were beatable. I thought the two changes Arsene Wenger made were the right ones. Tomas Rosicky had been excellent against Napoli and Aaron Ramsey has been our player of the season so far. The pair came in for Santi Cazorla and the injured Mathieu Flamini.

But we didn't get going at all until after Dortmund had taken the lead in the first half. The atmosphere in the home end was flat. Perhaps we were intimidated by the fantastic away support. They arrived an hour prior to kick off and stayed well after the final whistle. That's something the "fans" leaving when the rain came down with ten minutes to go should think about. Unwavering support from start to finish. And boy did they get behind their team.

I thought we were timid and one paced on the pitch. We didn't press for the ball well at all. And I think we really missed Flamini. The first Dortmund goal was due to their high pressing up the pitch. Ramsey lost the ball trying to bring it out of defence and was punished for his error. Mkhitaryan finding the back of the net from a Lewandewski pass.

That goal sprung us into life. But it wasn't until just before half time when we got a goal back. A simple cross from Sagna on the right wasn't dealt with my goalkeeper and defender under Giroud's presence and the Frenchman was able to convert when luckily the ball fell nicely for him from the deflection.

I thought we game out in the second half and restarted the game in much the same way we started the game, too stand-offish. The introduction of Santi Cazorla made a huge difference  He came on for an ineffectual Jack Wilshere after 58 minutes.

And Cazorla had the best chance to put Arsenal into the lead when a right foot shot from outside the box hit the crossbar. But it was Dortmund who went for it with their own double substitution with Aubameyang and Hofmann coming on.

They got their breakthrough with eight minutes of normal time to go. Lewandowski starting and finishing the move, where Arsenal failed to defend as a team.

Overall a disappointing night and I thought that Mesut Ozil had this most ineffectual game in an Arsenal shirt so far. He didn't seem to want to get involved at all. Hopefully it can be put down as an off night for our record signing.

A loss is never nice, but hopefully there might be a silver-lining and it's come at the right time, if there is ever such a thing. It might readjust our sights. Palace on Saturday should see us return to winning ways, but it's the game at Liverpool where I'm really looking to see if this team can make a response.

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