It was a disappointing result but I don’t think there is much to complain about. Arsenal gave a good account of themselves against a top quality side and were it not for a few slim margins would have emerged with a least a point if not victorious.
For the longest spell in the second half, the match was very much Arsenal’s. The lads controlled the game more, passed better, had the best moves and could have scored a few had balls dropped in the right places or if Hummels wasn’t on the post for example.
I don’t believe that Arsenal were the better team nor do I believe they were the lesser team. I think it was an incredibly even match that probably deserved a point but I don’t feel aggrieved that Dortmund took them all in the end. They were clinical with the chances they had and we were not.
The referee wasn’t a particularly good referee but I don’t think he had a massive impact on the result as he gave silly fouls all over the pitch, both for and against us. Some feel that Lewandowski shouldn’t have been on the pitch to score the goal but I don’t think his foul was an out and out red. He had done what most forwards do and has let the defender know he is there. Was there intent? I think so. Was there malice? I think not, and because of that I think a yellow was fair.
The only incident that slightly irks is Ramsey’s disallowed goal. The replays show the foul was committed by Koscielny but I think those sort of fouls are ridiculous to give purely because if it was the other way around and their defender pushed one of our players slightly in the back the ref would not have given us a penalty.
That Dortmund player would never have reached that ball based on his position so I don’t think we had an unfair advantage but other than that I don’t think we can say the ref “lost” us the game.
It can be argued that we were naive in pushing for the win when we conceded the second goal but I think that is retrospective opinion. If we sat back and defended people would have complained we didn’t go for the win. Granted they would be more satisfied than they are now but there are worse ways to lose than sticking to your principles of playing attacking football.
I take a lot of positives from that game. We mostly contained a fantastic side who have been on the top of their game for a few seasons now and finalists in last seasons Champions League. We moved the ball well and our one touch play was excellent at times. It was always going to be a tough group and we are on par in the group with two of the best teams in Europe. With the exception of Marseille so far, anyone can beat anyone in that group.
We are second in the group on goal difference, although UEFA are showing us as top, and we have 9 points left to play for. Barring a miracle of variables aligning, 4-5 points will see us qualify and 6+ will certainly see us as group winners.
The only negative I take from that match is that it created a whole new round of bickering and sniping on Twitter. It has allowed the neg-heads and doubters to crawl out from the dank cave of gloom they dwell in and pollute the air with their unique stench of misery and self-satisfaction.
There are some Arsenal ‘supporters’ who revel in Arsenal defeats as it allows them to spout nonsense about what a wretched position Arsenal is in. They will claim that Dortmund are the first real test we have had and we have failed. This is absurd gibberish.
Arsenal have faced decent teams this season and have won. Arsenal made Napoli look very average and Napoli beat Dortmund. These people completely ignore that this is a very open group that is unlikely to have a dominant force and in which we were tipped to be the whipping boys.
These people cannot be educated though as they will always seek to belittle Arsenal’s achievements and performances. Once Arsenal bounce back from this defeat, as they undoubtedly will and progress into the knock-out stages and continue to perform in the Premier League, these people will crawl back to the fetid hovels they inhabit and wait patiently for our next defeat.
And once Arsenal lose again, as they surely will at some point over the course of the season, as all teams lose, they will slither out again and declare that defeat to be our first true test. As such it is best to ignore such egregious folk.
After the match and into this morning an old argument has reared its repugnant visage and is creating yet another rift in the Arsenal ‘family’ and that is between the match-goers and the so-called “armchair” supporters.
Emirates-goers are under the impression that it is only the armchair supporters who criticise the home support about noise. Also there are members of both camps who harbour extreme antipathy for those who leave the Emirates early.
With regards to criticisms of noise-levels at home I think it is unfair for those Emirate-goers to use the lazy and frankly pathetic response of “I go to matches and if you don’t you can’t criticise”. Well yes, actually they can and you can choose to ignore them. Every single Arsenal supporter wants to be able to attend matches but not all can. If you are lucky enough to go but choose not to aid in fostering a positive atmosphere at games, all games, then you aren’t fulfilling your role as a supporter. You are, in my opinion, relegating your status to spectator.
If you are happy just being a spectator then that’s fine, don’t get involved in the debate. If you don’t help create a positive atmosphere but call yourself a supporter, instead of arguing with those who criticise you for not singing ask yourself what you can do to not give them reason to criticise.
When supporters criticise the club they claim they are doing it because they want change for the better. Well, that is exactly what the armchairs are doing when they criticise the home support.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the atmosphere in the stadium is entirely down to the supporters nor particularly bad. The players have to deserve their chants, although we can chant “Come on Arsenal, come on Arsenal” even if they don’t, and the club has to play a much bigger role in generating a positive atmosphere.
The supporters are the instrument with which a positive atmosphere is created but the club has to do their part to encourage it. So on that side of things the armchairs are maybe asking the right questions but directing a lot of it to the wrong people and the home fans could be reacting to the criticism by saying “What can we do to make it better. What ideas can we present to the club to trial or implement”.
It’s hard to compare our away fans with our home fans because the away fans are spread all over the stadium when they are at home so their pockets of noise aren’t heard the way they are when Arsenal play away.
With regards to leaving early, I don’t think it is right to criticise those that do. I don’t agree with it personally as I have never left a game early but it is not entirely their fault. I’ve seen a few people say it is down to the Emirates and the rise of the “tourist fan” and it never happened at Highbury but that is utter bollocks. I can’t speak for the 80′s and the 90′s but before I moved out of London I probably got to 6 home league games a year and at least 2 European matches as well as 3-4 cup or away games. 10-12 matches may not sound like a lot but 20-25% of matches attended for someone who didn’t have a season ticket I think is pretty good.
Almost every match I attended saw people leaving 5 minutes early. I remember at least 10% of the stadium leaving a few minutes before Ashley Cole scored against Dynamo Kiev in November 2003. Why did they do that? Transport. Transport links are awful after matches and sometimes it can take 30 minutes to even get to the barriers at a tube station let alone get on a train.
I don’t agree with them leaving early but I can’t criticise them. These days I just hang around for as long as possible before getting on a train or a bus but no everyone can do that. Ideally everyone would stay until the end but unless transport improves or leaving the stadium is staggered (impossible to achieve) or additional entertainment is provided at the end of the match to encourage a slower flow of people heading to the tube stations people are always going to leave early.
It wasn’t the best result but we’re not exactly in bad shape so let’s put the petty arguing aside and focus on the fact we are still in with a good shout in arguably the toughest group and are 2 points clear at the top of the Premier League!
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