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The youth league: Dortmund – Arsenal a game of missed chances

By Walter Broeckx

The Uefa youth league is a competition between the youth teams from the teams that play the Champions League. The groups are based on the same groups in the real champions league and so Arsenal U19 had to travel to Dortmund to play their German opponents on the same day as the first team did.

As we were going to the big game we took the opportunity to leave earlier and went to the place where the youth league games are played in Dortmund.  It was played at the Montanhydraulik stadium in the part of Dortmund called Howzedick.

As because of some serious traffic jams we were rather late for this game we had just taken our seats in the nice stand when the ref blew his whistle.

Arsenal and Dortmund at first were not really going for it and kept each other at a distance. But the longer the game went on the more Arsenal was taking the upper hand, leading to some dangerous attacks.

Bellerin had a few runs forward and showed to me what a great prospect he is. I found Toral a bit less impressive to be honest but one of my friends from the Arsenal Benelux supporters club who had joined me for this game thought he was having a good game. That friend is a youth coach at Racing Genk, a top team in Belgium, so I gladly take his opinion over mine.

It was not real surprise that Arsenal opened the score. Zelalem played the ball to Toral on the left flank who fired in a low cross and Lipman was on hand to tuck it in the goal. And only a few minutes later Toral got the ball, turned his man upside down and fired home with his right foot. Oh well my friend knows more than I. 0-2 and Arsenal in complete control.

And they maybe fell asleep a bit and suddenly a perfect cross found a German head and they had scored the ‘Anschlusstreffer’ as they call it in Germany. Zelalem then should have given us another 2 goal lead before half time but it wasn’t to be.

There were rather a lot of Arsenal supporters in the crowd. We all sat next to each other and we all applauded each other’s team effort. A Borussia Dortmund supporter even applauding our second goal as it was a nice build up and good finish.

The players went in for half time and we tried to find a toilet and found one in the “Ballhaus’ or Ballhouse as it would be called in English. And we also found some coca cola but no beer. Not allowed. Maybe for precautions to prevent some fans drinking over the limits and then making trouble at an under 19 game?

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They also sold some kind of wurst. But they didn’t give it between a sandwich so no real Bratwurst and I let it go for now.

The second half had just began and Dortmund was level.  Three times they beat an Arsenal player in a 50/50 duel and it suddenly put a player in front of Illiev who had no chance against the low shot. 2-2 and this was blasphemy as Arsenal were the better side up to then.

Oh and for the rest of the game also. We had one lucky moment when a shot from a Dortmund player hit the bar. But for the rest it was all Arsenal when it came to creating chances. And most of all…missing them.

Toral intercepted a ball, the last defender slipped and he went on a one on one with the keeper. But the keeper could push the ball out for a corner as Toral seemed to have a chance to just run past him on full speed.

If you think that was a bad miss, worse to follow. Twice in the space of a few minutes Lipman got a free shot at an almost empty goal after some great play on the wings from Arsenal. Both times Lipman managed to miss the chances. Certainly the second when the keeper was already beaten but he somehow managed to play the ball in the hands of the keeper.

That was some poor finishing and we should have been at least 2 goals ahead again. But with the conditions (heavy rain for long periods) making the field very wet and slippery the game ran out of steam.

I was impressed with the general touches of Zelalem who had his first game after having been out for a few months.  Not his best game but he ran lot of the show but you could see that he was getting tired. But his ability to make room for himself and see opening was still there and reminded me of a special player we once had.

Bellerin had to stop with an injury and that was bad news as his running forwards was causing a lot of troubles for Dortmund.

Overall a game Arsenal should have won and with some better finishing (Akpom was suspended for this game) we would have had a big score line in favour of Arsenal.

But the football was magnificent and also some Dortmund players caught the eye. At the end of the game we all went home happy. We had seen a great game of football played at high level and intensity (some tackles from the Germans a bit too intense to my liking).

Arsenal remain top of their group and are one win away from being qualified for the knock out stages.  Let’s hope we finish it next time.

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3 comments to The youth league: Dortmund – Arsenal a game of missed chances

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Bravo Arsenal.
    Bravo wurst-less Walter.

  • Pat

    Glad they’re playing good football in the Arsenal style. A promising future. This competition is good as it’s giving the youngsters a chance to play against top opposition.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Yes it sure was football the Arsenal way. Skilful, attacking, flowing..they only now need to put the ball in the goal.

    I’m sure that if Akpom would have been on the end of those chances (as he should have been if he wasn’t suspended) we would have trashed them. I think Lipman did himself no favour by missing those chances.