A resolute defensive showing by Arsenal yesterday nearly got us the full 3 points. However, we were to be denied, by a, albeit late, wonderful goal. Arsenal only went home with a point, a good one nonetheless. Match report available here.
When Arsenal scored its goal, I was simply exhilarated. We were on the back foot up until then, and good work by Van Persie gave us a lead against the flow of the game. Captain Persie started the move by superbly tackling a poor pass by Sebastian Kehl, and managed to get it to Walcott. The Englishman in return managed a beautiful through pass, and Van Persie took the ball in his stride, looked up once, picked his spot and fired it past Weidenfeller. 1-0 TO THE GUNNERS, BYSTANDER IS A HAPPY MAN.
Now the problem was whether we could maintain the slender lead, and try to score another goal so as to assure our victory.
It was a match bad for my heart. In the second half, I gripped my seat whenever the ball came near the Arsenal penalty box. Mertesacker and Koscielny held well, winning aerial duels, blocking shots, and making the decisive stackle. We had few forays up front, and Gervinho wasted a good chance when he slipped while through on goal, before firing a weak shot which was saved.
It looked to be a victory for Arsenal as the 90th min loomed by.However, out of nowhere, came a superb volley from Dortmund’s substitute Perisic in the 88th minute. A free kick was crossed into the six-yards box, but Gibbs managed to clear it out, and the ball dropped to Perisic. The Croatian hit a first time volley, and the ball surged right into the top right hand corner, with Szczesny left stranded. Absolutely world-class goal, and definitely not a goal most keeper could save. Dortmund 1-1 Arsenal.
Just when I thought all was calm, and a point would have to be settled for, came another scare in injury time.Lewandowski managed to bring down a long pass and was 6 yards out from goal, before a brave block from Szczesny thwarted the Dortmund player. I am running out of adjectives just to describe our Polish sensation at the moment!
Yesterday performance was both heart warming and, heart gripping as well. The players who started on the field showed plenty of hard work. Except Walcott, who really switches off when there is a lack of service for him. The youngster has decent ball control, but not in the standards of Messi Yet time and again he runs with the ball, try to take on 1,2 man and ends up losing the ball. I believe he would be more effective should he runs around like a headless duck, and open up spaces for his team mates. Standing still means you are always going to be stuck at point A. And point A means doing nothing.
Benayoun, who was given his first start, showed what he had to offer. The Israeli captain worked tirelessly, closing down players and chasing loss causes. If this is an alternative to Arshavin, I wouldn’t have any problems with it.
After match reaction saw Pat Rice taking the place of Arsene Wenger. Pat believes that this draw was a good result as well.
“Absolutely, you can’t be a bad side if you win the German title. No chance. Dortmund proved that this evening. Even when they were a goal down they kept coming and coming and coming. It’s a high quality skill to be able to hold them off, thankfully all of our boys did that.”
Can’t argue with that I suppose.
Yet, there is some bitterness in me. True, I did predict a 1-1 draw yesterday. But having held the lead for so long until the 88th minute, I do suppose I am allowed some form of annoyance having expected victory instead. That said, this should be our toughest match in the group, and I reckon drawing it now would be better than losing it.
There some gloomy gooners who would probably argue that we were lucky to even be able to draw the game, a sentiment echoed by Mertesacker. However, we all make our own luck sometimes! Furthermore, with the pile of injuries at Arsenal, I did say we are due some luck too!
Koscielny and Szczesny are of the opinion that this game would benefit us. I don’t think I am particularly heartened by this, truth be told. This probably shows the low self-esteem of the team at the moment, if they are delighted by a point from the German champions. It used to be a matter of whether we will get the 3 points, regardless of who the opponents were. However, as long as it helps boost morale, and the results keep showing, anything goes for me.
That’s about it for today! By the way, have a read of Jeorgebird newest article regarding Carling Cup’s selection, it’s pretty well written, and jeorgebird as always, provide an excellent insight into Arsenal’s youth team!