Thursday, 7 November 2013

Arteta stamps his authority -Arsenal's back five superb -Ramseyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Morning Gooners.

There are some European nights which have gone down in Arsenal history. It's usually away games where we have gone up against some of the biggest names in world football and beaten them on their own turf. Last night was one of those games.

In 2013 we have beaten both finalist of last season's Champions League final at their grounds and on both occasions kept a clean sheet. That is some doing. In a back five of Wojciiech Szczesny, Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs, Arsene Wenger has found a unit which has closed up shop against some of the best attacking players in the world.

But in Mikel Arteta he's got a player who has stamped his authority on this Arsenal side. He's taken his more creative game and put it to one side to become a master of the dark arts. I think that his role in this Arsenal team has been the most influential of any player to pull on the red and white shirt and is the reason why we've become so hard to beat.

Before the game the talk among fans was that we could not afford to lose this tie. A point would be a good result. No one in a million years expected us to win. After all this was a team who had come to the Grove two weeks ago and taken three points in a smash and grab raid. It was our midfield which had switched off to allow a counter-attacking goal. Last night the roles were reversed.

We soaked up the pressure well. Of course there were scary moments when the home team could have taken the lead, the most dangerous chance falling to Mkhitaryan in the first half. But in a first 45 minute period when Arsenal didn't bother putting the Dortmund keeper into any action, it was the team performance which most impressed me. From Olivier Giroud, through Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Tomas Rosicky, the Dortmund players would have to pass. And the front four worked tirelessly to ensure we were one big defensive unit.

But when the chance game to break, the whole team would spring into life. And it was about taking our chances when they came. Who else would we want to see inside the box when it did other than man of the moment - scrap that - man of 2013, Aaron Ramsey to be there.

Ramsey has found his touch in front of goal this season and has stepped up to become one of the most complete midfielders we have at the club. When Mesut Ozil's measured pass came into the box from the right, Olivier Giroud backed himself into his defender to leave room for his header to find the Welshman who himself got in front of Subotic to turn the ball home past Weidenfeller.

Once we scored it seemed we had the better chances to add to our lead. Ramsey's shot was well saved and a Mertesacker header went over the bar. At the other end Szczesny had to make a few good saves to ensure that he kept his second clean sheet of the week.

Lets not play down how well Dortmund were performing on the pitch. They weren't having an off night, Arsenal were playing the more tactical game. And remember Arsene Wenger's critics tell you the Frenchman doesn't do tactics...

This will go down as a famous Arsenal win, along with nights at the Bernabeu, Allianz Arena and the San Siro. It sets us up nicely for the trip to Old Trafford. Two games down, two clean sheets in a week where we were supposed to see the failings of this Arsenal team. Doesn't look that way now.

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