Last night saw Arsenal’s chances of getting out of a very tough Champions’ League group take a turn for the worse. The 2-1 defeat to a top class Borussia Dortmund side showed that we have not come as far as our recent form would suggest.
For the two seasons previous to this Arsenal have been a club in regression, with some of our best players leaving summer after summer and very little true quality coming in. These factors led each of the previous several seasons starts (say that after 8 pints) to hold very little promise. However, this summer none of our better players left, and some outstanding quality came in (Ozil obviously) as well as the very influential signing of Flamini, a player who should have never been allowed to go following his last fantastic season for the club.
So, at the beginning of this season things were looking relatively positive for a change, not so positive to convince me we could win any silverware – we had not bought in any defensive reinforcements or other striker options, plus we have a manager and board that seems content with the financial gains of Champions League qualification.
The reality check brought about by last night’s result is that although we have gone on to win most of our games so far this season, last night we were up against our first real quality opposition. Some might argue Spurs’, were but even the most biased Spurs-hating fans should acknowledge they were and still are a side in development with lots of new players trying to bed in as well as letting go of by-far their best player ‘Gallas’.
Napoli may also have been in contention as “quality opposition” but no, they looked very wet behind the ears in the CL and we rolled them over with ease but also some fantastic football.
My point is that Dortmund turned up, didn’t play that well, contained us very easily for most of the game, and put two past us. Wenger’s tactics bemused me as it seemed that we had a deep and defensive setup with nowhere near the necessary tempo or attacking mentality that as the home team on great form should have taken to our opponents, regardless of who they were.
Whilst we still have defensive options (not many injuries), Giroud is on form and uninjured, we are doing as well as can be expected. But if we get several defensive injuries as well as Giroud missing a few games, we will concede more than the obligatory goal we seem to concede every game and will have to rely on Bendtner as our central striker. This could surely cost us many games and make us look pretty bad when we face further quality opposition such as Dortmund in the future.
P.S. If you decide to go to the Emirates to watch the Gunners, get behind the team, play your part and make some noise. As a collective you can be the twelfth man that every team playing at home needs. We certainly needed it last night.