Arsenal’s strong run of domestic and European form came to a crashing halt last night as they were beaten 2-1 in London by Borussia Dortmund.
The Germans’ win was something of a smash-and-grab after the hosts had the bulk of the play in the second half, but what can Arsenal take from the game?
Forgotten man Tomas Rosicky
Much has been made of the dream creative partnership of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil, with Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey also adding to Arsenal’s potency from deep.
However, Tomas Rosicky was given a chance to play on Tuesday night and reminded the Emirates Stadium outfit that they have another midfield asset that can be important to the club.
The Czech Republic international put in a strong performance against his former club, with smart passing and an industrious work-rate. The sheer amount of players of quality that the north London side have in midfield must be one of their major strengths, and Rosicky adds to this.
With both sides playing bespoke 4-2-3-1 systems, a lot of the play was focussed centrally and the sides cancelled each other slightly in large chunks of the match.
However, both Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna found space as a result, with their delivery both good and bad. The France international had been guilty of poor crosses before an inch-perfect ball resulted in Arsenal’s equaliser.
In the future, Wenger should look to develop both full-backs’ attacking intent to be another weapon for the side, especially with the powerful Olivier Giroud on form and craving improved delivery.
Giroud as good as Lewandowski
Much has been made of Robert Lewandowski, his contract situation at Signal Iduna Park and the potential for the Premier League’s top sides to sign him ahead of next season.
Arsenal have been one of the sides linked with the Polish forward, but Giroud’s performance shows that they already have a top-class centre forward capable of performing at the highest level.
Ozil stifled by Dortmund’s enforcers
Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender got through a power of work in the Dortmund boiler room, and their disruptive influence limited the impact that star man Mesut Ozil had on the game.
Santi Cazorla looked bright when he was introduced, but the German side’s ability to shackle Arsenal’s key playmaker will be of real interest to upcoming opponents.
A job on their hands to qualify
Arsenal were handed the toughest pool of all the English teams, and at the half-way stage of the fixtures it is proving as much.
The Gunners are locked with both Napoli and Dortmund on six points from three games, and as such trips to San Paolo and Signal Iduna Park will prove even more testing.