What can you say about the result? Some people believe that we didn’t deserve it, others thought we did. The truth of the matter is that we lost an important game and are now heading into some very important Champions League matches. We are yet to play Dortmund away and Napoli away, so if we are to achieve qualification, it is going to be very difficult.
We started the match with a predictable starting eleven, as I didn’t expect Cazorla to play two games in a few days. Rosicky took his place, while Ramsey started ahead of the injured Flamini. We lacked a couple of things in the match, and Flamini and Cazorla not playing probably had a big effect. First off, Arteta is no Flamini. We didn’t sign Arteta to be the hard man in midfield who wants to break other players bones. That is what we signed Flamini for, and him not being in the middle of the park really showed some of our weaknesses. Secondly, Cazorla is important to our creativity. Today, we had an entire Dortmund defence blocking Ozil, making sure he wasn’t going to sniff out an opportunity for any of our other players. When Cazorla did come on, you can see what a good player he is, especially compared to Wilshere. Cazorla is a creator, someone who is able to make things happen. It seemed like Wilshere would rather be anywhere else, but maybe the knock he received had an effect on his performance.
The first half was painful to watch at times. We allowed Dortmund to come at us over and over again. Our passing was so risky and uncreative, we weren’t able to have some sort of tempo to our passing. Dortmund’s first goal was pathetic from our defence, in particular Aaron Ramsey. What he was trying to do there was beyond me. It seemed like he wanted to give Dortmund the ball. The less said about it the better. One player who did impress me in the first half was Giroud. He fought for everything and even managed to score a real striker’s goal. Unfortunately, his link up play wasn’t working today and that affected our tempo.
The start of the second half wasn’t much of an improvement. We had to wait for Dortmund to get tired before we were able to have a go at them. Unfortunately for us, we conceded a bad goal on the counter attack. Conceding like we did is very painful to watch. It is like watching a kid get run over by a car. You know it is going to happen, but you can’t dare to look away. Sagna was out of position due to him trying to create something upfront. It was a costly gamble, and one that could just prove to fatal.
After the game, Wenger spoke to Arsenal.com:
on the match…
It was a game of high intensity but very few chances. Dortmund were well organised to stop us from playing, and I must says as well that we were not as good as we can be offensively. Some of our players were not as fresh as they were recently. But we put ourselves on the back foot with the first goal and naive for the second goal. If you look at the number of saves our keeper had to make tonight and you concede two goals, you can say that we can only look at ourselves for not being mature enough in situations like that. If you cannot win the game, you don’t lose it. Especially in the second half when we were on top, we made things difficult for ourselves by giving them the second goal.
on the state of Group F…
It is tight and difficult for us, but possible. You have three teams with six points, and we have played twice at home and once away, so that means we need a result away from home – but we can do that.
on picking the players up…
A disappointment like that is part of what makes a team grow. I feel that some players, physically, are a bit jaded at the moment and it is a bit down recovering physically.
With Napoli beating Marseille today, the group hasn’t become any easier. It will be difficult but with a bit of luck and support, we can still qualify. COYG