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July 2021

A view on the game from the stands – Dortmund/Arsenal

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By Walter Broeckx

Now I have been talking about the catering and how we got treated in Dortmund by the fans and how it felt to be there.

So maybe I should also talk on how the game felt from being in the stands.

The first 15 minutes Dortmund came out firing on all cylinders. Apart from an early chance for Gervinho we suffered and our defenders had to work hard to prevent Dortmund from scoring.

But we just managed to do this and after 15 minutes I felt we were taking over the game and started building a bit. Dortmund backed back a bit and looked for the fast break. We got our first chances and in fact I felt that we had the upper hand the longer the first half went by. Not that we created much chances but we had lots of possession (45/55 was said on the table) and I felt we could score a goal if we would keep calm in front of goal. Robin just did that and he buried the ball in the Dortmund net. A good interception from Robin, a great pass from Theo back to Robin and what a nice finish with his right foot.

Now that was an exciting moment in the Arsenal blocks. I celebrated with French Gooners, Flemish Gooners, English Gooners, German Gooners… well we were all dancing with each other after the goal. Like a Gooner who was joining us for the first time said: “we scored and suddenly everybody was hugging me and I was hugging them.” He never had experienced something like that. Welcome to the Gooner family.

In the second half I thought Dortmund would come out firing on even more cylinders. But for a while I thought we handled them very well and they didn’t create a lot that I can remember. We then had a golden opportunity but Gervinho was having too much trouble staying on his feet and couldn’t put the ball in the net for a second goal. At that stage it would have been game over I felt.

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But this is a German team and we all know what to expect. I felt that the missed chances from Gervinho and Walcott was what Dortmund needed to pick up their game and to really go for it.  Dortmund threw all at us and we had to dig deep and defend brave and in numbers. It was an amazing sight from the stand to see how the Dortmund players really ran like mad after every ball and pressured Arsenal all over the field.  Is it something in the Bratwurst?

The longer the game went on I felt more confident despite the pressure building up as high as the Sudtribune is. I just knew that our defence would stop Dortmund. I felt Szczesny just would draw every ball to his safe hands as if they were filled with some magic magnets. I saw Koscielny throwing himself in front of the ball, Mertesacker was fighting for his life, Song was chasing all that was wearing a yellow shirt. I just had he feeling that we would keep them away from scoring and  I just felt that if Dortmund would score it would have to be something very special.

Well special is the least you can say about the Dortmund goal. A wonder strike that no keeper could have stopped.  I have to admit Dortmund deserved that equaliser. I was disappointed of course but as a person who loves football I cannot but admire the goal itself.

I felt the team worked hard against a very strong German champion. We got a point and like the records show not many teams get away with a point from Dortmund. We were one wonder goal away from going home with the 3 points. It wasn’t vintage Arsenal but it was hard working Arsenal. And for the moment this is what we should expect. I think the new boys showed that they wanted to fight for our colours.

And I think the new boys will become better and better in the next few weeks. On Tuesday we had 4 new players on the field who have not been playing together until today. Mertesacker, Benayoun, Arteta and Gervinho never played a game together for various reasons. That is almost half a team. So we have to be patient a bit and give them time to develop together. Andre Santos came on late in the game but it is always difficult to come in when you are under pressure and defending a narrow lead.

But the fight was there and the attitude to defend was there. When the new boys have settled we can go back to playing more champagne football in the future. For now we just have to work hard, fight hard and if we keep on doing this the results will come.

Oh and by the way I think not paying a few millions for an old goal keeper last season was a very smart move from Wenger. He got a lot of stick for it by a part of the fans but my god doesn’t Szczesny look the best thing in goal since Jens leaving us a few seasons ago.

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7 comments to A view on the game from the stands – Dortmund/Arsenal

  • Dark Prince

    One very interesting yet scary fact is that now we are not the team which used to keep the most possession in the match. Look at our matches since this season began, we have not been able to keep more than 50% possession in more than half of our matches…..and i dont kno what to make of it….is it that we have changed our style or is it that our team is getting dominated by the opposition? I feel its the latter….scary times ahead…

  • rusty

    I have to admit, I was quite impressed with Dortmund’s energy in pressing — during the first half, I was saying to myself, “Well, their players will have to tire at that pace…” but that didn’t turn out to be the case.

    Meanwhile, Song really anchored the team — always popping up to make tackles and interceptions. Hard to believe he’s only just turned 24 last week!

  • Stevie E

    Dark prince
    There could be another reason… Have a look at the injury index and you’ll probably notice that our main ball carriers are either injured, suspended or playing for another team now. We’ve only just started the season, new players take time to bed in. Sorry this isn’t as doom and gloom as your views are, but maybe its a bit more realistic…

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Funnily enough I’ve thought that OT aside the team has been working on the basis of 1-0 to the Arsenal, keep your shape, keep it tight etc. rather than let’s all pile forwards in search of a goal. That usually resulted in a swift counter attack and a set-piece situation in our half.
    I’ll take that as a positive, we used to be Arsenal, for a few years we’ve been the English Barcelona and not a very good one. The possession will return when the side settles down and passing rhythms are established.

  • @Stevie E people are still in the past they still think we have C$esc and Na$ri.Nooo we are a new brand if you can bare with if you cant f..k off as simple as that.
    I’ve been anxious for a while and i wanted to watch Birmingham City our Carling cup ”conquerors” show their mighty with Braga but i was disappointed as they where Bragged aside.
    Wonder if those so called football analysts will have anything to write about without mentioning the Arsenal.

  • Keith

    Off topic but classic case of a fabricated interview with Fabregas allegedly saying Arsenal have no chance of gaining any titles: Cesc has tweeted tonight stating he had not given any media interviews since he rejoined Barca.

    Just hope he has the cajoles to sue the Spanish newspaper!!

  • what has the media got against ARSENAL a fabricated interview of fab4 all over the internet and the so called arsenal fans are all over him, while the guy is on twitter pleading is case, imagine what sporting journalism will be without a negative arsenal news walter please give it a mention in your review tomorrow
    NB you can follow fab4 on twitter cesc4official u’ll this still loves arsenal