Koscielny Back In The Line-Up For Dortmund
Match Preview – Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund – Champions League – 26.11.14
Arsenal are on a run of three poor results and face group topping BVB in the Champions League this evening. Recent performances must be weighing heavily on the players minds, throwing away a 3-0 lead against Anderlecht, losing from a winning position against Swansea and being downed by United despite being the better team overall.
United opened up for Arsenal and yet our lads couldn’t find the target. There are a few factors to consider however these are not excuses. Yes, Alexis was tired and yes, United’s first, and very lucky, deflected goal came immediately after Fellaini pushed Gibbs into Szczesny. Yes, Fellaini got away with multiple fouls and yes, the added time wasn’t delivered properly with United time-wasting going unpunished and injury-time substitutions not being added on however, these are just some of the reasons why Arsenal struggled to win after the 56th minute when the game should have already been wrapped up.
Arsenal failed to put away golden opportunities and going in at half-time 0-0 against a threadbare United defence with the amount of chances we wasted was always going to come back to haunt us.
Mathematically speaking, this is not a must win game if Arsenal want to qualify as they can get through with any result however it is imperative that Arsenal wins this game not only for the slim chance of topping the group and avoiding a titan but also for their own equanimity and that of their fans.
We desperately need to put a run of wins together to ensure we go into January strong and finish the season well. Chelsea, as things stand, have little to no competition for the title and whilst that may make the complacent I do not hold out any hope that anyone will come close to them this year. The other Champions League spots, however, are free game and any three of roughly six teams could finish there. It’s Arsenal’s job to ensure they are on the top of that pile. Another cup and a 2nd place finish would be progress again.
Last league campaign was hard to take because of how long we led the charge but this season we are well off the pace so finishing second with another cup would be received positively by all but the most hardened.
Tonight’s opponents aren’t faring any better in their league, in fact they are faring much worse, and their manager’s style of play, a man who is often cited as the man to immediately replace Wenger, has come at a price – injuries. Dortmund are flailing in the Bundesliga in no short part due to their gargantuan injury list and record this season – something Arsenal supporters can sympathise with.
Despite their woeful league position they are storming it in the Champions League and a faltering Arsenal with tired players and fresh ones unavailable for the group stages may find it a tall order to overcome a Dortmund side best suited to the European stage.
Arsenal will have to rely on young Martinez in goal as Szczesny is injured and Jack Wilshere will miss the match with an ankle injury. You have to feel for Jack, just as he starts to show everyone what he is capable of he gets injured.
Ramsey will probably come back into the team and he has stated he feels he is getting back to his best – we’ll certainly need him to be tonight. The best news is that Koscielny is fit again and likely to feature.
Arsenal from; Martinez, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Chambers, Monreal, Bellerin, Flamini, Rosicky, Arteta, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Alexis, Cazorla, Podolski, Sanogo, Welbeck, Campbell.
Martinez, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Arteta, Cazorla, Chamberlain, Welbeck, Alexis
I expect to see substitute appearances from Monreal, Rosicky and Flamini
“I had a hamstring injury and it takes a few games to get back to your best. In the last game it was the first time in a long time that I felt sharp again and felt like I was physically there. Hopefully I can continue that and have a very successful season” – Aaron Ramsey
Last 3 Meetings
- BVB 2-0 Arsenal (16.09.2014)
- BVB 0-1 Arsenal (06.11.2013)
- Arsenal 1-2 BVB (22.10.2013)
Arsenal Last 5
Dortmund Last 5
Dortmund have a bit of an injury crisis at the moment with Reus, Hummels, Bender, Sokratis, Kirch and Sahin all unavailable for this match. They’ve suffered numerous injuries this season and that shows in the league standing. However, they are not without ability throughout the team and still boast the likes of Subotic, Kagawa, Gündoğan, Immobile, Mkhitarya and Kehl.
Much like Arsenal, their league position does not reflect the talent in the squad nor the performances they have put in. Despite their lowly position in the Bundesliga they’ve not looked awful this season and underestimating them could prove costly.
- Each time Arsenal has faced Dortmund at home at least one side has scored 2 goals (Arsenal twice, BVB once)
- Rosicky signed for Arsenal from Dortmund after spending 6 years there. He will face his old club from the bench tonight
- Arsenal haven’t beaten German opposition at home since beating tonight’s opposition in 2011
- If Monreal plays and picks up a card he will be forced to miss matchday 6
- The last three times Arsenal have lost to Manchester United in the Premier League in November matches they’ve beaten Borussia Dortmund in the same month
Dortmund play an energetic counter attacking game and sadly that is Arsenal’s Achilles Heel. Some call it tactical naivety but whatever you call it, Arsenal’s sometimes over-zealous play is easily punished by a team playing well on the counter. However, Dortmund’s style of play and their injury record seems to have a marked effect with their performances often tailing off in the final quarter of the match. Arsenal, despite their injury record, tend to finish matches with high levels of fitness. If Arsenal are still in the game (ideally winning) with 15 minutes left on the clock then they should be able to wear BVB out and take the win. I’m going for a 2-0 win to Arsenal with goals from Cazorla and Ramsey.
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