Next round, Robin

Arsenal 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

A fine win against a very decent side means that our last group game (Matchday 6 – aah, the romance of the cup) will be all stations to Dead Rubbersville.

In fact, it will be a reprise of 2009 when an Arsenal side already assured of top spot sent out the kids and lost 1-0 in Olympiakos. On the pitch that day: Bartley, Cruise, Gilbert, Merida and Vela (as well as Walcott, Wilshere, Ramsey & Song, all now firmly in the first XI.) I imagine we’ll see more of the same this time round, though I foresee Dortmund & Marseille keeping a keen eye on Wenger’s approach given how much things are in the balance beneath us.

There was, as expected, a cracking atmosphere in the German end, with a lot of choreographed singing and clapping. It was very impressive, very loud, and they had come in their thousands. There must have been around 6,000 in all. As well as the usual 3,500 in the away end, there was a whole other segment in the upper tier taken up by them. How did that happen? Did we give them more seats for a reason and does this set a precedent? I’d be interested to know.

Their arrival in numbers probably explains the riot police, extra vans and helicopter overhead, despite the fact there was not the faintest hint of aggro.

It was an enjoyable game, even if chances were at a premium. Which is why it makes it all the more impressive that we scored twice – we only had five attempts on goal and three shots on target all match (thanks, Opta). Gervinho should have added another but fluffed it. Fortunately, it never looked like being something we’d go on to regret.

Robin van Persie got both, of course, which will do his fragile confidence no harm… What is it now, 12 in 8? There was a good graphic in yesterday’s Telegraph comparing him to the other strikers in Europe – and another piece in the New York Times on whether he’s the best in Britain – and his goals to games ratio is quite superb, right up there with other European luminaries like Messi. What a player.

He cost £2.75m, doncha know.

Top spot tends to mean we delay any meeting with our nemesises – nemesi? – Barcelona by at least a round, but beyond the extra £5m it probably generates to remain in the competition a bit longer, I’m not sure how much first or second slot really matters. If you want to win it, you’ve got to beat the other biggies at some point. What difference does it make when, other than to confidence?

So overall an excellent win that ties things up neatly, and another win to notch into the bedpost.

Now, will Robin get a rest on Saturday? I expect he will.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. yngkir

    The reason for them being so many is that they actually bought Arsenal Membership and got hold of their tickets that way. Impressive commitment!
    Also, the reason earning top spot is vital is to ensure that we play away from home in the first game, which is a big advantage in the current system.

  2. East Lower

    For real? I find that hard to believe. And how did they get them all together? Maybe, as Goodplaya says, we simply couldn’t shift them ourselves and offered them out.

  3. Thomas Nycz-Losi

    I went with a few Dortmund fans yesterday and they confirm this was the case. They did it well in advance too as after a while Arsenal apparently clocked on and wouldn’t sell tickets to newer members (say those bought November onwards). Impressive in any case and not the first club they’ve done it for.

  4. East Lower

    Bloody impressive. Agreed.

  5. Jeff

    I have to say I’m over the moon.

    Champions League Group Winners.

    Gervinho needs to get his mojo back, asap.

    For me, Ramsey is doing really well.  I thought Arteta was poor in the first half.

    Van Persie and Walcott look dangerous.

  6. Jeff

    I’ve formed a small crush on Dortmund.  That black and gold.  The singing.  The moaning in unison, as one voice.  And cheering.  And the rugged-looking manager.  Is there a thriving Dortmund blogosphere in English?  Is it a case that there’s absolutely nothing else to do in that town? They come to the Arsenal stadium and run circles around us for 15 minutes – not more than one of them I could identify. With their traveling support, it was like a home match for them.

  7. Anonymous

    I was in Munich 2/3 years ago & saw Bayern beat Dortmund 5-0. (Dortmund were very poor then compared to where they are now)
    But yet even at 5-0 down, the Dortmund fans made a simply awesome racket. They’re just fantastic, fair play to them.

    I don’t think Robin will be the only one resting on Sat. Ramsey,Arteta,Theo,Gervinho all played a huge amount of games. Think Benayoun is overdue a start. Interesting to see if Robin is rested if it’s Chamakh or Park.
    I think if Robin is rested, we simply have to win without bringing him on. Otherwise confidence is going to be totally based on his presence.
    Song too of course has played loads. Now if only we had cover for him…..

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