Dortmund 0 Arsenal 1

Tactical Analysis



Jürgen Klopp was keen to highlight the difference in style between Dortmund and Arsenal when interviewed by English journalists earlier this week. “[Arsène Wenger] likes having the ball, playing football, passes … it’s like an orchestra,” the Dortmund manager said. “But it’s a silent song, yeah? I like heavy metal.”

With that analysis in mind, this match followed the expected pattern – it was a contest between two sides playing at entirely different speeds. Dortmund pressed ferociously, they attacked immediately, their wide players sprinted up and down repeatedly. Arsenal were calmer, cooling the tempo with long periods of patient possession play. They dominated possession in the first period, yet did not attempt a single shot.

For long periods both managers probably believed their own side was dominating. Arsenal saw considerably more of the ball but almost exclusively inside their own half. Again this emphasised the difference between the coaches – Wenger would have considered his side to be on top, seeing possession as a fundamental part of dominance. Klopp, who boasts that his side’s gegenpressing is “the best playmaker there is”, would have been encouraged that his players were trying to win the ball in advanced positions.

Aaron Ramsey’s goal was against the run of play but Arsenal’s performance in the final 30 minutes was extraordinarily confident. Rather than sitting back willingly inviting Dortmund pressure, they retained the ball in advanced positions and consistently threatened from a traditionally atypical route that has featured heavily in Arsenal’s attacking recently: crosses into the box. Olivier Giroud and Mertesacker both went close, and the Dortmund goalkeeper, Roman Weidenfeller, appeared uncomfortable under heavy pressure.

At 1-0 Arsenal demonstrated they could defend in two entirely separate ways. They could frustrate Dortmund through ball retention, having enough faith in their passing ability to push forward, potentially allowing Dortmund space to break into. But only once, following a set piece, did the home side threaten on the counter-attack.

Arsenal spent the final half-hour attacking primarily through crosses and defending with six defenders on the pitch. It was a more pragmatic Arsenal than we’ve become accustomed to, perhaps more George Graham-era than Arsène Wenger-era. But it served to demonstrate this side’s experience, maturity and tactical versatility.

Source: Guardian

Arseblog – Match Report



…For the most part Arsenal gave as good as they got although it was the home side who had the first serious chance. A free-kick looped to the back post was accidentally headed across goal by Ramsey before defender Neven Subotic hooked a scruffy effort just past the post.

Rosicky, Cazorla and Ozil did their best to wriggle themselves free of the attention of their Dortmund counterparts but often only had the isolated Giroud to aim for. You wondered how the Germans might have countered the pace of Theo Walcott.

Arteta went into the book on 22 minutes for a blatant shirt tug and obviously had the yellow on his mind when he allowed Reus to race towards the box unchallenged seven minutes; luckily Mertesacker put him right with a challenge befitting the biggest of fucking Germans.

When the Spaniard was unfairly penalised for a challenge on Henrikh Mkhitaryan just moments later, he threatened to pull his hair out in frustration…although we know of course, that’s not actually humanly possible.

Mkhitaryan continued to cause mischief as half-time drew closer but squandered a great chance to break the deadlock putting his effort from the edge of the box wide of Szczesny’s left-hand post.

At the break Arsenal hadn’t had a shot on target but it didn’t really feel like either side were that fussed about scoring.

Bender crossed for Reus who forced a decent diving save from Szczesny, Mkhitaryan fired over from long range before Reus had an effort ruled out correctly for offside as he netted on the rebound after a Błaszczykowski low drive was parried by our Pole in goal. The Germans even had a second effort ruled out for offside as the hour mark ticked past as the pressure continued to build.

Amazingly, out of the blue, we scored with our first chance. Rosicky gave the ball away in midfield, luckily got it back, quickly fed the ball wide to Ozil who in turn curled a cross onto the head of Giroud inside the box.  The Frenchman’s knockdown was met by the on-charging Ramsey (who else?) who nudged the ball past a stranded Weidenfeller with his head.

Within three minutes Ramsey came ever so close to doubling the lead latching onto a Giroud cross and arrowing a shot goalwards on the bounce. Only a slight deflection off Weidenfeller saw the ball go wide. Giroud nearly scored from the resulting corner, his slid effort cleared off the line before Mertesacker twice came close with his head.

Attack continued to prove the best form of defence as we forced the home side onto the back foot with some fine passing in the final third. It seemed to rattle Jurgen Klopp’s men and indeed the crowd as the travelling Gooners found a brief moment to drown out their vocal peers in the terraces.

Ozil, Giroud and Ramsey all defended valiantly from the front, chasing down lost causes and pressuring the Dortmund defenders into poor passes while Rosicky encapsulated the team’s efforts with a fantastic rabble-rousing sliding challenge on Lewandowski in the centre of the park. It was body on the line stuff and it was delicious. The Czech was replaced in injury-time by Thomas Vermaelen while Nicklas Bendtner also got minutes for the fatigued Giroud.

Source: Arseblog

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