Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal FC –
Final Score/Result: Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Arsenal
Man Of The Match: Per Mertesacker
The match was built-up as a clash between ‘Orchestra’ and ‘Heavy metal’, and in the end Arsene Wenger’s sweet symphony prevailed. It wasn’t the most dominating Arsenal performance one will see this season, but the Gunners will pride themselves with the resolute defensive display under such immense pressure Dortmund. It is not often that the German side fail to score at home.
Borussia Dortmund started the match brightly and were certainly the better side in the first half. They looked the more likely side to score, the Gunners held on. Dortmund failed to capitalise on the chances they created and this provided Arsenal with a chance to come back in second half. Almost against the run of play, Arsenal scored the opening goal, which turned out to be the winner in the end.
Mesut Ozil picked out Olivier Giroud with cross and the Frenchman did brilliantly to win the ball and set up Ramsey with his header. The Welshman, who is currently in the form of his life, gambled with a run into the box and his gamble paid off as he headed home from close range. Incredibly that was Arsenal’s first shot on target in the whole game. But it was far from a smash and grab victory as the away side looked more dangerous than Dortmund in attack after scoring that goal. As Dortmund pushed forward for an equaliser, it opened up space for Arsenal to counter-attack and Ozil orchestrated the attack from the right.
Ramsey had another brilliant opportunity just moment later to double the lead, but Weidenfeller’s leg stopped his shot. Per Mertesacker also came close to scoring on two occasions, first from Cazorla’s cross and then from a free kick. Dortmund did have a late penalty shout, but the German side didn’t create too many good chances in the second half, except for the one in which Reus missed his kick completely in front of the goal.
This was massive result for Arsenal after losing their home fixture against Dortmund and the German side are now under pressure as both Napoli and Arsenal are tied at the top of the group with nine points. Dortmund will now have to win their remaining two fixtures in order to remain in the hunt for qualification.
Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp was disappointed with the result, but was pleased with his side’s performance on the pitch. He also credited Arsenal for their fantastic defensive work and regretted that his side failed to score despite their dominance in the first 60 minutes of the match.
“I told the team afterwards what everyone who watched the match saw for themselves: we didn’t reward ourselves for the work we put into this game. Losing was unnecessary, but we haven’t lost our hopes yet and everything is still possible as long as we win our two remaining games.
“It’s definitely going to get exciting from now on. There are a few mistakes that we made today. We didn’t score a goal, then we conceded the opener from Arsenal’s first shot on target and then things got a bit wild on the pitch.
“Football is a sport based on results. Arsenal had their first chance in the 62nd minute and scored. It feels unjust but we have to accept it. We had a lot of great moments in the game, but failed to create good chances from them. We weren’t able to find a player in space a lot of the time, as Arsenal were quick on their feet and defended well.
“No one should be disappointed with the performance of the team. They actually managed to do a lot of things right. The good news is that we can still qualify for the next round with two victories from the final two games. We know this won’t be easy, but we believe in our chances. It’s possible and knowing that is enough for us.” – The Borussia Dortmund manager said.
Arsene Wenger was delighted with the win and heaped praises on his defenders. The Frenchman felt that his side should have taken their chances after the first goal, but lauded his team for their determination and focus.
“I was pleased with our focus tonight. We were under pressure from first minute to last but we didn’t make any mistakes and defended well. We were compact and worked together and although there was a difficult period in the first half we put in a very mature performance.
“I was concerned that there was a long way to go at 1-0 but we could have made it two. We had some good chances. We knew at half-time it was about keeping our focus and letting our technical ability win the game, which is what happened.
“Our defence was under a lot of pressure but they showed good awareness and tactical ability and that gives us a big lift. Not many teams come here and win.” – The Arsenal manager said.
Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal – Statistics
Per Mertesacker produced a wonderful display at the back for Arsenal. The big German was dominant in the air and as always was the perfect foil for the more aggressive Koscielny. His calmness and presence has been a huge factor for the massive improvement in the Gunners’ defensive display since last season. Mertesacker also had to glorious opportunities to double the lead in the second half, but failed to convert them. He made four interceptions, eight clearances, blocked one shot and won two off-sides in the game. The above heat-map depicts his movement on the pitch against Dortmund.