Arsenal 1 (Giroud 41) – Borussia Dortmund 2 (Mikhitarayan 16, Lewandowski 83)
Man of the Match: Nuri Sahin (Borussia Dortmund)
It had to end somewhere. Arsenal’s unbeaten streak of 12 matches came to an abrupt end as they slumped to a 1-2 loss at home to German giants Borussia Dortmund.
Arsenal were without the now-talismanic midfield general Mathieu Flamini, due to the concussion he suffered in the aftermath of a clash of heads with Norwich midfielder Alexander Tettey over the weekend. Tomas Rosicky came in to face his former club for the first time, as Santi Cazorla was named on the bench.
The opening minutes were dull at best, with both sides looking tentative. Dortmund did not allow the Gunners to get into the fifth gear in the early exchanges, as Napoli had done to disastrous results. Marco Reus, who considers Tomas Rosicky his footballing idol had the first shot at goal, as his effort went not too distant from Szczesny’s post.
Dortmund took full advantage of a sloppy moment from Arsenal. Aaron Ramsey, in brilliant form at the moment lost the ball in a dangerous area, only for Armenia international Henrikh Mikhitarayan to slot home the opening goal of the evening.
Arsenal were unable to penetrate deep into the Dortmund third, as Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic combined to great effect, with the help of defensive midfielder Nuri Sahin, to negate Arsenal’s threats. Mesut Ozil, in particular found the going tough as he was constantly hoofed off the ball by Dortmund’s pressing.
Laurent Koscielny’s header off a free kick went narrowly over. Wilshere failed to pick up a beautiful through ball from Tomas Rosicky, before he tumbled with Weidenfeller, and required treatment to his ankle.
Arsenal had a great chance to equalize, when Giroud won the ball on the left, his cross being cleared. The ball fell to Rosicky, who took a shot with his left foot, and when it looked seemingly destined to go in, Mats Hummels managed to clear the ball of the line.
Arsenal, did not have to wait long though, for the equalizer. Mertesacker won the ball at the edge of the box, Ramsey bought the ball forward, playing in Sagna, whose cross at first look seemed ordinary, but it resulted in a misunderstanding between Weidenfeller and Subotic. The ball fell kindly to Giroud, who hammered the ball home to an empty net.
Arsenal began the second half in earnest, but Wilshere’s cut back was cleared. Dortmund were looking increasingly dangerous on the right hand side. Kieran Gibbs managed to keep Reus out on one occassion, before Grosskreutz caused some problems, which were eventually cleared.
Robert Lewandowski was lucky to still be on the pitch, as his elbow smashed Koscielny in the face, but he just got a yellow card. In the Premier League, it would probably have been a red. Arsene Wenger tried to freshen up things, by bringing on Santi Cazorla in place of Jack Wilshere.
Dortmund bought on Hoffman and Aubemayang in place of two extremely complicated named players. Ozil and Cazorla combined on couple of occassions, and on one occassion the Spaniard stuck the outside of the post. Cazorla was unlucky again as his goalbound effort was blocked by Sven Bender.
All of Arsenal’s second half promise was undone by one moment of uncertainty. A cross from Grosskreutz came right into the path of Robert Lewandowski, and the Pole put the ball past his compatriot Szczesny. Arsenal bought on Niklas Bendtner and Serge Gnabry, but Dortmund managed to cross the finish line.
It is probably a good time to taste defeat ahead of a testing schedule. The players need to buck up with games like Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United coming up. As for the Champions League, qualification from the group is going to be a close call with Napoli, Dortmund and Arsenal all tied on 6 points.
Jai Arsenal.Published 26 Oct 2013, 02:34 IST