Arsenal travels to Germany for a tough Champions League test against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night. After losing in London in their first meeting, Arsenal will be looking to bounce back and take all three points. With Arsenal, Napoli and Dortmund all sitting on six points in the group, it is crucial that the Gunners get a result away from home.
Arsenal should have nothing to fear going into this game. Although they lost in the previous meeting, Arsenal looked like the better team. They were not willing to settle for the draw and pushed hard for a victory. This proved to be fatal, as Dortmund pounced with a counter-attack to get the game winner. This Dortmund side is a proven team with quality players, and they will punish any team that gives them a chance. Arsenal learned this the hard way, and will look to correct those errors on Wednesday.
The team has been boosted by the news that left-back Kieran Gibbs is available for the game. He picked up a knock on the calf at the end of their 2-0 win over Liverpool. This would not have been a disaster by any means, as Nacho Monreal could have slotted in, but after all the injuries that Arsenal has endured so far this season, it is important to keep as many players healthy as possible.
Arsenal has plenty of firepower to handle Dortmund. Their quick, one-touch passing in the midfield creates space and breaks down defenses. Aaron Ramsey is in the form of his life, and Olivier Giroud is quickly becoming one of the Premier League’s elite forwards. Add the midfield presence of Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Mikel Arteta, and that is an offense to be reckoned with.
One of the main issues with the midfield play in the first game was the speed. Dortmund did well to close every Arsenal player down quickly, which threw their game off a bit. Arsenal is at their best when they take it to teams and force mistakes. They must come out of the blocks sprinting and force Dortmund back on their heels. If they can get an early hold on the game and control the midfield play, I think it will be a good night for the Gunners.
The back four has been in fine form this season, and I would venture to guess that they will be solid again against Dortmund. An individual error led to their first goal in London, and the second came after Bacary Sagna was caught out after pressing forward a bit too much. Two very avoidable mistakes were the reasons for defeat, and the defense will undoubtedly look to correct this.
Arsenal has quieted some of the critics after their 2-0 victory over Liverpool this past weekend, but a victory in Germany would seriously show that they mean business. The Gunners should be brimming with confidence as they look to take care of business in a hostile environment.