A matter of even a few weeks ago, this would have been a fixture looked on with trepidation by the home side, and some confidence by Dortmund. With the German side entering the new season as losing Champions League finalists, and Arsenal having experienced a summer of almost constant rebuttal of attempts to strengthen the squad, the momentum would definitely have been with the German club. What a difference a month or so can make!
The Gunners sit top of the Premier League with star signing Mesut Ozil looking as if he has played at the club for years, so seamlessly has he knitted into the team. The flow of football currently being displayed by Wenger’s team is bordering on exhibition stuff, as illustrated by Jack Wilshere’s goal against Norwich City at the weekend.
Dortmund, on the other hand, appear to be less than convincing. Although still up with the pace set by Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, their European exploits have been less than convincing, and 2-0 defeat in Italy, against Rafa Benitez’s Napoli has cast doubts on their ability to qualify from the group stages. In contrast, Arsenal’s European games to date have seen victories over the same Napoli team, plus a valuable away victory in Marseille. If the Gunners overcome Dortmund this week, with nine points already in the bag, they’ll surely have one foot in the next round, with a further three games to go.
Over-confidence is always a danger or a team that appears to be making the game look easy, but it would be a major surprise if someone as canny as Wenger would let his team trip up on that banana skin. With Ozil surely determined to put on a performance against the German club, Gooners can look forward to a good performance, and what I think will be a two goal victory.