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

F

ergie, aren't you supposed to make a beep beep noise when backing up like that?

simonthfc
Ferguson: Club made Moyes decision

S

ome of these are quality! Why you no like him F365?? :(

left right out
The, Erm, 'Best' Of Henry James Redknapp

W

e're our own worst enemy. We're suicidal in defence, and we may just get slaughtered on Sunday. Other than that, I am very pleased with my team.

bob the manc
Van Gaal: We can catch Chelsea

Footer 365

Champions League: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers rues defensive mistakes in Real Madrid defeat

Brendan Rodgers says he could have asked for no more from his side after seeing them taken apart by Real Madrid.

Champions League: Real Madrid ease past Liverpool with 3-0 win at Anfield

Real Madrid produced a first-half masterclass as they overpowered Liverpool 3-0 in the Champions League at Anfield.

Champions League: Late goals give Arsenal 2-1 victory at Anderlecht

Arsenal scored twice in the final two minutes to come from behind and secure a 2-1 Champions League win at Anderlecht.

Mail Box

Do Man City Have A 'Small Mentality'?

That's one claim in the mailbox after Vincent Kompany focused on a few hundred CSKA fans sneaking into the ground instead of City blowing a two-goal lead...

City: Like A Deer Caught In The Headlights

...while Chelsea just live for Champions League nights. That's one view in a mailbox that also includes several happy football fans and looks forward to Michael Carrick's return...

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