In just over few hours, our darling team would step out to tackle last year’s Champions League finalist, Borrusia Dortmund. The last leg ended in a 1-2 away win for the Germans and despite Arsenal’s second half domination, the talented Germans hit the gooners on the counter attack.
The Group of Death is surely living to its billing. Napoli, Dortmund and Arsenal are all equal on points and still have to play themselves. Any point gained or lost could turn vital. Gooner of Steel analyses the Dortmund team and gives his insight on how the excellent Dortmund side can be beaten in their own backyard.
Marco Reus, Robert Lewandowski, Kuba, Bender, Sahin, Hummels, Subotic, I can go on and on about how talented the Dortmund side is and how they would pounce on the gooners should position the trigger on the Dortmund side.
1. THE HIGHER, THE LONGER, THE HARDER
One of the hallmarks of the Dortmund side is that they have two brilliant and tall defenders. Matt Hummels and Neven Subotic are tall, physical and know how to hassle defenders. Even summer recruit, Sokratis is of that standard too. Any coach would surely have trust in these 3. However, most of the goals Dortmund have conceded this season have been from set pieces or long balls into the box.
Napoli’s first goal was a long ball into the box that confused the Dortmund defense and gave Higuian the chance to score. Arsenal’s single goal a fortnight ago was from a Bacary Sagna long ball. In their recent 6-1 rout of Stuggart, the opposition took the lead with a corner kick (a long ball).
What Arsenal must do is simple. Utilize every corner kick, free kick and put more balls into the box. The full backs must always be alert and put quality balls into the box because if statistics are anything to be taken seriously then the gooners might have an opening from these long balls.
2. A NOTORIOUS HIGH LINE DEFENSE
A feature that is peculiar to Dortmund has been their extremely high defence line. Sometimes the full backs almost play as side midfielders. Even though they have achieved much success with these tactics, against quality teams they have come short. Ronaldo’s goal against them in last year’s UCL final was a result of the high line. Dortmund have just lost one game in this season’s Bundesliga to Borrusia Mochenglabach , the first goal was as a result of the high line, Max Kruse beat the offside trap and Hummels had to hack him down when he was through on goal. Arsenal have some of the best creative midfielders in Europe and a pass could come from Ozil, Rosicky, Ramsey, Carzola or Arteta. We must therefore watch this high line and look to exploit this flaw.
3 WELCOME TO HELL
Anfield, Veltins Arena, Celtic Park are some the nosiest arenas in Europe. The Signal Iduna park ranks up there too. Entering into this wonderful football arena, you would a stadium covered in yellow, not necessarily yellow seats but fans coloured in yellow and black jerseys, waiving flags, chanting, singing, beating drums and making the opposition scared to their pants.
The atmosphere in their stadium is tremendous, but you want to be playing in these sort of atmosphere. Everyone is looking forward to it. We don’t go anywhere with fear- AARON RAMSEY
If the gooners are to get anything from this game, they must make sure that they overcome the fear of the stadium and not be intimidated by its noisy fans. Good news for gooners, the team has visited some of the stadia mentioned in this article and have the experience of playing in the Signal Iduna park
4. WATCH THE ARMENIAN
Many pundits would mention Marco Reus or Lewandowski as the stars of the Dortmund side. Though they are not far from the truth, I believe that summer signing, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has turned out to be a major player for them. After Mario Gotze departure to eternal rivals Bayern Munich, many wondered if Jurgen Klopp would be able to replace ‘the once in a hundred years talent’. The Armenian might not have the guile and fineness of Gotze but his technical and passing ability is way up there with the best in the world. His performance this season especially in the game against Schalke have been top notch. The gooners would have to watch him. Klopp has given him the freedom to roam between the lines as he worres less with defending and tackling especially when he has two excellent 2 ball winning midfielders in Sahin and Bender behind him.
5. LET’S PLAY LIKE DORTMUND
This might seem strange but I think for us to beat Dortmund, we must adapt a style that copies that of the Germans. One of the key part of the Dortmund side is thier high line pressing style of football. They press the opponent so high on the pitch and when they are successful, they break. Dortmund’s first goal against Arsenal was very similar, they pressed so high that they won the ball by the gooner’s 18 yard box. If the gooners must get something from the game, we must play their high pressing game for them. Rosicky and co should hassle the opponents ,and not give the opportunity to settle down.
Many pundits would expect Arsenal to roll over and get beaten, but if there is one thing that this present squad of gooners have is their character and mental strength. If there is any tea min Europe that you would expect to deal with Dortmund at their backyard, it has to be Arsenal.
KOSCIENLY VERSUS LEWANDOWSKI
ARTETA VERSUS MKHITARYAN
REUS VERSUS THE FULL BACKS ( SAGNA AND GIBBS)
RAMSEY VERSUS SAHIN
OZIL VERSUS BENDER
GIROUD VERSUS SUBOTIC
Who do you think could win each of these battles, feel free to leave your comments below
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