Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Arsenal (Ramsey 62)
Man of the Match – Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal)
Arsenal put in a massive performance at the intimidating arena of Borussia Dortmund, the magnificent Westfalenstadion, to come away impressively with all 3 points, and all but one foot in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Manager Arsene Wenger started with the same side that beat Liverpool 2-0, with Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Flamini ruled out, and Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain still long term absentees.
Dortmund made one change from the side that beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates, with Greek international Sokratis Papastathopoulos coming in for the injured German defender Mats Hummels.
The game got off to a frenetic start, unlike the clash at the Emirates, with both sides looking to score an early goal. Defender Neven Subotic saw his scrappy header go just wide in the early minutes.
Arsenal were banking on the trio of Rosicky, Cazorla and Ozil for attacking thrusts in order to support lone man upfront Olivier Giroud, who put in another toiling shift last night. Armenia international Henrikh Mkhitaryan was causing some problems for Arsenal’s defence, inviting Arteta into a challenge, after the Spaniard had been booked for a shirt pulling incident involving Marco Reus. He missed a great chance towards the end of the first half, shooting just past Szczesny’s left post.
Arsenal were struggling to get any attempts on goal, with Dortmund’s well drilled defence and midfield doing a great job. Arsenal were restricted to playing some neat football outside the box with minimal penetration.
A Bender cross for Reus, forced a great save from Szczesny, before Mkhitaryan’s effort went high. Dortmund thought they had scored when Reus had the ball in the back of the net, but it was called offside, after B?aszczykowski’s effort was parried by his compatriot Szczesny.
Dortmund had the ball in the back of the net, but it was called offside again. That is when the decisive moment of the game would come, as Tomas Rosicky released Mesut Ozil on the right, whose cross was headed into the path of in form Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey who head-nudged it past Weidenfeller, despite getting a nasty whack in the side of the face. It was his 11th goal of the season, and the 5th in the Champions League.
Arsenal almost went 2-0 ahead, through who else, but Aaron Ramsey. He collected a Giroud cross, and shot straight at Weidenfeller. Giroud almost scored from the corner, but his header was cleared off the line, before Mertesacker got into the act, by taking a shot at goal with his head, but missed.
Arsenal decided to take what they had, throwing in Nacho Monreal and Thomas Vermaelen, as Dortmund sent on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Jonas Hoffman to muster something. An Ozil free kick saw a clash of bodies between Weidenfeller and Koscielny, and the Frenchman came the worst as he spent some time being treated.
Arsenal held on for a famous win, to add to a list of glowing away European nights, which include beating the Milan’s at San Siro, Real Madrid at the Bernebeu, Bayern at the Allianz and Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion.
A big word of praise for my man of the match, Tomas Rosicky, who has been utterly magnificent in the last two games, putting in 110% for the side, in the presence of midfield enforcer Mathieu Flamini. The Czech’s energy and drive against his former employers was a major factor contributing to the win.
The defence definitely looks stronger with every passing game, with two top sides, Liverpool and now Dortmund failing to score. Arsenal’s midfield looks well balanced, and while there are concerns over a rather weak bench, that can rather be overlooked.
Next up, is the first clash I look into when the fixtures are out. Manchester United. At Old Trafford. We know how good and bad the Theatre of Dreams has been to the Gunners in the recent past. About time we went and set the record straight!
Jai Arsenal 🙂