All Guns Blazing: Arsenal can learn lessons from Dortmund

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (centre) is tackled by Borussia Dortmund's Nuri Sahin (right) during the UE

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (centre) is tackled by Borussia Dortmund's Nuri Sahin (right) during the UEFA Champions League, Group F match at the Emirates Stadium, London. - Credit: Archant

The Gazette’s Arsenal blogger Alex Bellotti discusses Arsenal’s loss to Dortmund at the Emirates.

It seems a long time since our last defeat and Tuesday’s against Dortmund was hard to take. Mostly because of the late nature of the winner, which came at a time when I thought we could nick it ourselves, but also because we ended up taking nothing away from a game which we probably deserved something.

However more than any other game this season, this is one we can learn from. Not just from our mistakes – which were dwelling on the ball, over-committing in search of a goal to name a couple – but also from Dortmund’s strengths.

The comparisons between Arsene Wenger and Jurgen Klopp have struck many and I get the impression our manager relates to the latter’s philosophy even more than he does to a team like Barcelona’s.

High, intense pressure, the ability to not only dominate with quick passing but counter ruthlessly with it – these are all the hallmarks of Wenger’s best teams. Ultimately, we were undone by a team who just implemented most of them better.

The one I’d like to see worked on the most is that relentless pressuring. It’s something we’ve improved on with players like Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey setting the tone high up the field, but in order to do it as well as Dortmund, we need everyone to buy into it.

That includes, and allow me to speak sacrilege, players as gifted as Mesut Ozil. The Messiah he may be, but at just 25, he still has the ability to improve and that’s a part of his game I’m sure he’ll try to look at.

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Ultimately, with the amount of games they’ve played recently, you can’t fault the players too much when a lot of them looked exhausted. We’ve got no shortage of big games coming up, so I wouldn’t mind seeing people like Jack Wilshere and Ramsey given a rest against Crystal Palace.

I thought the older generation like Rosicky and Mikel Arteta were superb against Dortmund and could benefit the team by giving some of our other, more over-worked stars a much needed break.

While we are entering a testing period in terms of opposition, the silver lining is that none of those teams are as good as Dortmund, who we were hardly outplayed by. A bit of rest and reflection and I can genuinely see us taking more points against the top teams than we have done for a long time in the league.