How is he not on the shortlist for Ballon d’Or? Robin Van Persie Continued his fine run of form with another 2 goals for Arsenal to defeat Borrusia Dortmund 2-1. The victory means that Arsenal qualify to the knockout stages and will be top of the group.
Arsenal began the match with an unchanged side from the side that beat Norwich 2-1 last Saturday. It was a half of few chances, as Borrusia Dortmund seemed the more threatening of the two sides. Dortmund hardly tested Szczesny as they had their own problems with Sven Bender and Arsenal target Mario Götze both picking up injuries.
Arsenal started the second half much better than they did the first. Alex Song went on a mazy run beating three defenders before crossing beautifully to Robin Van Persie, who headed the ball into the back of the net with aplomb. The goal was the changing point of the game as Arsenal began to look much more comfortable.
The second goal came straight after the arrival of Abou Diaby, his first appearance of the season. Arteta crossed the ball in and Vermaelen rose highest to flick the ball for Van Persie, who was never going to miss from 2 yards. Borrusia Dortmund spoiled Arsenal’s clean sheet in the last minute of extra-time, after some questionable defending from Djourou.
The 2 goals were enough for Arsenal to qualify to the next round and with Olympiaco’s 1-0 win over Marseille, the victory was enough for Arsenal to win the group.
Arsene Wenger’s thoughts on the game
on another Robin van Persie brace…
He is in a period where of course he doesn’t have to look for goals – they just come naturally for him. He is always in the right place at the right moment and he got two goals again tonight from positions that look easy but they are not. He just understands the game so well.
on the match…
Overall it was a good game, Dortmund are a good team. They started stronger than we did but we needed to be patient, intelligent and I think in the second half we increased the tempo of our passing and controlled the game. Slowly you could feel that we could make the difference.
The groups are difficult for the Premier League teams. The level in Germany has gone up a lot. We were in a difficult group and I am very happy and pleased if you see where we came from. We drew Udinese in the qualifier and you could not bet that we could go like we did. Overall I am very happy because we came out from a very difficult period because we were focused, worked hard and were united together.
on the threat of injury to Van Persie…
At the moment I believe that Robin is an exceptional player. He takes advantage of our offensive style from the wings. We create a lot of chances but I don’t deny that at the moment he is the one who scores all the goals. We hope we can keep him fit and with us for a long time.
on Gervinho‘s form…
He is vital for us because Robin likes to go to the ball and Gervinho likes to go into the space so they always push defenders back. That gives us space in midfield to create for Robin. He was a bit less sharp tonight but overall I am very happy.
on Mertesacker’s performance…
I thought he had a great game tonight. I tried to analyse his performance against Norwich and I felt he was more tired from the Germany game against Holland. He didn’t make bad decisions but his reaction time was not right. It was more down to fatigue.
Match thoughts and MOTM
I believe this match was a sigh of relief to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. Having known that Arsenal will have already qualified for the next round, he will be feeling much less pressure on his shoulders. We played well overall, with our defence doing well on many occasions. Mertesacker looked good today, along with Vermaelen and Koscielny as usual. Robin Van Persie was excellent yet again with two good goals, but I think player of the match is Alex Song. His assist for Robin Van Persie was nothing short of brilliant, and he had a few tackles that really stood out in my opinion.
Hopefully we can extend our winning run with a victory over Fulham on Saturday. Expect more Van Persie goals.
Come on Arsenal!