Arsenal duped

Arsenal can learn a lesson from their defeat by Borussia Dortmund, says Sarah Winterburn.

Last Updated: 23/10/13 at 06:55

Arsenal can learn a lesson from their defeat by Dortmund on Tuesday night

Arsenal can learn a lesson from their defeat by Dortmund on Tuesday night

'A very sterile domination' is how Arsene Wenger described Barcelona's style after visiting the Nou Camp in 2011. His argument may have carried rather more weight if Barca had not just won 3-1. Sterile? Pep Guardiola's side may have taken their time but they were clearly a class act.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Sky Sports subscribers can watch extended highlights of Arsenal's 2-1 Champions League defeat to Dortmund.

Those four words ('a very sterile domination') came back to mind on Tuesday night as Arsenal claimed 58 per cent possession against Borussia Dortmund but failed to force goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller into making a single save. Mikel Arteta may have claimed that Arsenal were playing the 'better football' at the Emirates but they were definitely not playing the most effective football. Even when Santi Cazorla came off the bench and injected some urgency into the Gunners' attack, there was a great deal of passing, an awful lot of 'nearly' and not a lot of oomph.

It was a little like watching the Gunners of old, before a change of tack this season which has seen Arsenal drop to eighth in the Premier League in terms of average possession. As the Gunners (along with Liverpool) have sacrificed some degree of control for a little more efficiency this season and have reaped the rewards with a blistering start. Against Dortmund, they allowed themselves to be drawn into the all-too familiar territory of ultimately toothless possession at the edge of the box. As Herbert Chapman once said, "The truth is you can attack for too long."

Robert Lewandowski: Scored the second goal to defeat Arsenal at the Emirates

That is particularly true when you are playing an excellent counter-attacking side like Borussia Dortmund, who have fantastic players to hurt any team who attacks for too long and leaves the back door ajar. That dynamism is allied with a work ethic that means Aaron Ramsey was offered just enough space to crash down to earth, Jack Wilshere was crowded into anonymity and Mesut Ozil struggled to find a route into the game until he wandered out wide in search of enough room to swing a boot.

This was not a poor performance from Arsenal but it was a hugely frustrating one - they must have known that Dortmund would come armed with a rope to catch themselves a dope, and the Gunners too easily fell into that trap. When 1-1 would have been a decent result, they pushed further and further forward in search of a winner. The curious side-effect of having an impressive start to the season is that increased confidence can lead to increased risk. That was certainly true of Ramsey in the build-up to Dortmund's opener. It turns out he is not invincible after all.

The good news for Arsenal as they look at a table which sees them on the same points total as two other teams is that they are equally devastating on the counter-attack. They should learn from Tuesday night and go to Dortmund armed with rope.

A version of this article first appeared on Football365

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

ilarious, thanks for that. But if I may, I do suspect the reason of your partners' ire is not Tottenham, but most probably all the compusilve gambling :)

DannySmith
Backing Costa To Keep Banging 'Em In

T

wo police horses in a paddock. Horse 1: What's with the long face? Horse 2: I'm working St James Park this weekend.

hump3.
Pardew braced for protests

T

wo things. First, I can't stop reading your name as 'Dane Bowers'. Second, you used the words 'philosophy' and 'Redknapp' in the same sentence.

ajsr1982
Can United's Defence Handle Ulloa?

Footer 365

Premier League: Crystal Palace beat Everton 3-2 at Goodison Park

Crystal Palace came from behind to beat Everton 3-2 and pick up their first win of the Premier League campaign.

Premier League: Frank Lampard haunts Chelsea as he earns Manchester City earn 1-1 draw

Frank Lampard stepped off the bench to score against his former club and salvage a 1-1 draw for Man City at home to Chelsea.

Premier League: Frank Lampard has mixed emotions after scoring against Chelsea

Frank Lampard was almost speechless after scoring the equaliser for his Manchester City side in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

Mail Box

Liverpool Aren't Even Exciting This Season

Liverpool fans are seemingly resigned to slipping back into mediocrity, which in September isn't exactly ideal. Plus better Arsenal, Allardyce praise and an excited Saint...

Be Careful What You Wish For, Gooners

That's the message from a Man United fan in the mailbox. Plus, thoughts on Paul Lambert's new contract, the Alan Pardew dilemma at Newcastle and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property