Thursday, November 24, 2011

Arsenal 2 Dortmund 1

It was a great team performance against a good side, the reigning champions of Bundesliga. Arsenal withstood early offensive storms from Dortmund and gradually got the game under control.

Just when we were talking about how scarcely RVP scores with his head, he headed home Song's brilliant cross. Never underestimate his "chocolate leg" or "chocolate head", or any of his abilities. His goal-scoring form is just phenomenal at the moment.

Above all, the most important point of this game was the result. We bagged all three points which was required to secure the place in the Knock-out Stages and even better, we have won Group F with a game to spare. This means that we are less likely to face one of the strongest opponents in Europe, such as Bacelona, immediately in the Knock-out Stages and that we can afford to send our young players and second-string first-teamers to Greece in two weeks' time and rest our key players.

With all other English clubs failing to grab three points this week, Arsenal are the only English club that has already booked their place in the last 16. Manchester City, the current Premier League leaders and big spender, are bracing themselves for a possible early exit from the European elite competition. Who would've expected all these? When the draw took place, most of Man U and Chelsea supporters thought they were already through before the competition started. Arsenal had to qualify by beating Udinese, who were at that time top of Serie A, and then battled against two domestic league champions and a prestigious French club. Our team and their achievement last night make us proud.

Our Man of the Match is Alex Song for his superb job both offensive and defensive.

Player ratings:
Szczeny: 7
Solid performance.

Koscielny: 8
Great defensive work in an unfamiliar position. On the offensive side of the game, he was more involved in forward runs than in the last game. He was replaced by Djourou at 83rd minute, walking down the tunnel accompanied by the Physio. Hope he didn't get injured.

Mertesacker: 7
He was under tremendous pressure and severe scrutiny after the blunder last Saturday. Even against the known German side, he did not look too comfortable, but he did well to hold the defensive line together with the other defenders. We still think that it is too early to conclude him as a flop.

Vermaelen: 8
Ever reassuring presence at the back. His flick from Arteta's corner set up a rare set-piece goal for Arsenal.

Santos: 7
Better defensive performance than in the last game. Great movement going forward.

Ramsey: 8
Some great passes to release Gervinho and Walcott behind Dortmund defensive line. RVP praised the Welshman's movements without the ball after Norwich game and tweeted to him that he would get a well-deserved goal on Wednesday. Unfortunately RVP's prediction did not materialise, but if Rambo keeps up his good work, he will most certainly achieve his target of 10 goals this season (two scored so far).

Arteta: 7
Not so eye-catching, but solid performance. His corners and free-kicks seem to have improved.

Song: 9
Great run, skills to beat two Dortmund defenders and inch-perfect cross to RVP. He had a good game both offensively and defensively.

Walcott: 8
He was a constant threat to the opponents' defence again. He could have scored if it had not been for those dubious off-side decisions.

Gervinho: 7
He may not have been as sharp as usual, but his work rate was tremendous. He was all over the pitch, tracking back and making forward runs. His fininshing let him down.

Van Persie: 9
He worked very hard, creating chances in midfield and finishing them off in goalmouth. It looks so easy when he is in the right position at the right time, but it's all attributed to his quality.


Benayoun: 6
He came off the bench at 74th minute. He did what he was expected to do.

Djourou: 6
He was a 83rd-minute substitution to replace Koscielny.

Diaby: 6
Good to see him back.

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