One thing that cannot be denied about this Arsenal team is that they do respect and have an affinity for Arsene Wenger. Whenever there has been mounting pressure on the manager in recent seasons the players have responded on the pitch, and this 2-0 home win over Borussia Dortmund proved that again.
A torrid run of results has put question marks firmly on Arsene Wenger’s future with many in and around the club claiming the Frenchman has taken the Gunners as far as he can. That, of course, is a debate for another day, but it is certain that he still knows how to motivate his troops, even if the quality is sometimes lacking.
Yes, Borussia Dortmund came to the Emirates in even worse form than Arsenal, third from bottom in the German Bundesliga and suffering key injuries to big name players. However, the Germans remain a dangerous and potent force, especially on the continent where they have already beat the Gunners in the reverse Champions League fixture.
Credit then must go to Arsenal for managing to defeat the team (at the fifth time of asking) to progress to the Last 16 of Europe’s elite competition. The hosts had a wonderful start courtesy of a second minute goal from French U21 international Yaya Sanogo, a late addition to the starting 11 after Danny Welbeck picked up a knee injury before the game.
Sanogo linked with Santi Cazorla for a tidy one two combination on the perimeter of Dortmund’s penalty area, before receiving the ball back and slotting home a cool finish past the visitors’ goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. Admittedly, replays showed that the striker was marginally offside, but it was a well worked goal with the impressive Cazorla the architect.
Alexis Sanchez has been a revelation since his summer move from Barcelona, and he continued his good form by securing Arsenal’s second and ultimately the winner. The Chilean curled a beautiful effort into the Borussia net in the 57th minute to claim his 13th goal in just twenty appearances for the North London club.
Dortmund of course proved a threat during the game, but Arsene Wenger will be pleased with the way his defence handled the German contingent. The second goal seemed to finish the contest against a team very low on confidence and the Gunners will now look to the final group game to ensure they finish top of the table.