Arsenal vs. Borussia Dortmund – Champions League Match Preview
A classy and clinical Arsenal defeated Norwich 4-1 over the weekend, with four excellent team goals that made the rounds on the net and Match of the Day (even though Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer hated to admit it — those twats). It sets up nicely for tomorrow’s massive Champions League tie with last year’s runner-up to the tournament, Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund is a respected team in Europe, led by iconic and charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp. It’s also a side brimming with talented footballers and a team that favors possession and free flowing attack. While they are a team that Arsenal can look upon with admiration, we will have no room to sit back and let the squad have their way with us. They boast many offensive threats, including the talent of Robert Lewandowski, who may be the target of a massive bidding war come the January transfer window.
However, Arsenal has been playing excellent football lately, and look to further their unbeaten record. Sagna ended up starting against Norwich, so the back four anchor of Sagna – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Gibbs seems likely again. It’s possible Sagna and Gibbs could be swapped for Jenkinson and Monreal, respectively, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see our subs favored for next Sunday’s league match against bottom-feeders Crystal Palace. Naturally, our back four will be playing in front of Szczesny, undoubtedly.
However, it will be interesting to see what the absence of Mathieu Flamini (concussion) spells for Arsenal tomorrow. Arteta will surely play that deep holding midfielder role, and I wonder if Wilshere will be expected to play a little deeper. But once again, our midfield options are a dream scenario, with the likes of Ramsey, Özil, Rosicky and Cazorla available to carve Dortmund apart. Ryo Miyaichi and Serge Gnabry were also part of training, so a start or late appearance is not out of the question for those two. Giroud should start, but Bendtner has proven that he is prepared to step in and contribute to the squad, making some great passes and sprinting across the pitch after coming on late for Giroud against Norwich.
If Arsenal manage to obtain three points, it will be a massive achievement for their goal of topping this group. It will also ensure that we are confident and performing well as we inch closer and closer to the rough few weeks where we have some really difficult fixtures. The sooner we wrap up the top position of our Champions League group, the more we can focus on holding our position atop the Premier League table.