This Group F match lived up to expectations, as both teams showed the excellent form they had both been in of late.
Dortmund started much more brightly and bossed possession in the first ten minutes. Arsenal hardly touched the ball and was happy to sit back and absorb the pressure. The opening goal came as a result of an Arsenal error as both Arteta and Ramsey were guilty of ‘flaffing’ about with the ball just outside their 18-yard box. Ramsey ultimately lost possession and the Dortmund’s number 10. Mkhitaryan made no mistake from the edge of the box.
Arsenal responded in a positive way to being a goal down and began at last to look threatening. Giroud was hugely impressive all night and his persistence down the left flank fashioned an opportunity for Rosicky, who drilled in a great shot from outside the box only to see it cleared off the line. The momentum was now with the Gunners and Giroud was the one who drew them level just before the break. Sagna broke down the left and whipped in a great cross which the Dortmund keeper failed to claim, leaving Giroud the easiest of tasks to smash in a volley from a couple of yards.
Wilshere went off injured again, which gave Wenger an opportunity to bring Cazorla into play. Santi wasted no time in pulling the strings for Arsenal and tested Weidenfeller down to his left. Another swift one touch Arsenal move minutes later saw Santi Cazorla smash the woodwork from just outside the box, after good work from Ozil. The game was a bit too open and Arsenal were leaving huge gaps at the back, as they pressed for the winner. When the winner came it was not Arsenal that was celebrating but the Germans, who scored a wonderful counter attack goal. Dortmund full-back Kevin Großkreutz was getting forward all night, and it was his brilliant break and cross which found Lewandowski completely unmarked at the far post and a player of that quality needed no second invitation, as he slotted in with a first time shot, leaving his fellow Pole Szczesny with no chance.
Arsenal will feel a little disappointed that they did not get something from this game. They had the Germans under pressure for long spells in the second half but the quality of Dortmund was also there for everyone to see. There was a moment of controversy as the player, who scored the winner, Lewandowski, was arguably lucky to be on the pitch after a blatant elbow on Koscielny which earned the striker an instant yellow card.
Arsenal ‘s star players Ozil and Ramsey both had off nights and Arsenal paid a dear price for their poor performances. On the plus side, the central defenders were excellent; Arteta was outstanding as was Giroud, but to beat Dortmund you need to be firing on all cylinders. Arsenal’s next Champions League match will be in front of over 80,000 Germans roaring the home team on. Before last night’s game Arsenal’s path into the knock-out stages looked relatively assured but now they have a little bit more work to do.