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

I

was there, it was embarrassing - the team looked totally unbalanced from the off, the defence was woeful and when Mikel came off injured it got even worse with nobody in front of them. Up front on several occasions we had opportunities and nobody would shoot - it was a complete farse! On the back of Salah's performance I'm glad there is talk of getting shot...

Fly1ngh1gh
Cup defeat shames Mourinho

G

reat to see Tommy Rosicky getting some love. A wonderful player. Such a pity we lost so long to injury. I was so excited when we signed him, this resurgence only makes the absences seem more of a lost opportunity.

cheshire-gooner
16 Conclusions: FA Cup Fourth Round Weekend

A

pparently Chiles has blamed Twitter trolls for his exit. Proof that even the worst things can get great results at times.

cheshire-gooner
Adrian Chiles to leave ITV

Footer 365

Manchester United U21s beat Liverpool 2-1 as Victor Valdes makes first appearance for the club

Goals from Nick Powell and Paddy McNair gave Manchester United's U21 side victory over Liverpool at Leigh Sports Village.

FA Cup: Giant-killers Bradford handed Sunderland or Fulham showdown in fifth round

Bradford's reward for knocking Chelsea out of the FA Cup is a fifth-round showdown with either Sunderland or Fulham.

Dutch FA president Michael van Praag to challenge Sepp Blatter for FIFA top job

Dutch FA president Michael van Praag is to stand against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.

Mail Box

You're Man Utd, For Crying Out Loud!

Defending a 0-0 draw with Cambridge on the grounds that other teams lost to lower-league opposition is not befitting of Man United. We're inclined to agree with Mailboxers...

A Massive Mailbox On A Weekend Of Wonder

We unsurprisingly have plenty of mails on a wonderful FA Cup weekend, including thoughts on Palace, Van Gaal, Phil Jones, Chelsea, Mourinho and Yaya Toure...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company