Monday, November 28, 2011

Gunners Ditch Dortmund, Arsenal 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Its on to the Knockout Round of UEFA's Champion's League!!  Wednesday's win over the German champions make it 12 successive seasons that the Gunners have progressed to the final stage of the tournament.  In a classic battle, the two sides determined the fate of Group F as Robin Van Persie lifted the Arsenal once more, his brace sealing the doom of this top-notch Bundesliga squad.

Dortmund were still high from their big win over Bayern Munich and their confidence showed.  Right away, Lewandowski managed a fierce shot followed in quick succession with an effort by Shinji Kagawa. The visitors allowed Arsenal no breathing space and Klopp's boys were out for blood.  The Gunners could muster little more than a determined defense in the first half, their only offensive foray being a sparkling run  by Theo Walcott.  Dortmund regrettable lost the services of Sven Bender and Mario Gotze early on, but they did not seem inhibited in the least.  No goals, but plenty of pace.  So ended the first half.
Determined defending won the day

Dortmund began right where they had left off, several strong chances with Kagawa leading the charge, but the Arsenal's defense was again matched with the challenge.  Then came a moment of brilliance that would certainly decide the match.  Ramsey hit a wall in the midfield and poked the ball back for Alex Song.  In what certainly became the most inspired assist of the season to this point, Song zipped down the left side losing one marker, danced in the heart of the Dortmund defense, shook several more defenders and chipped a cross to the waiting Robin Van Persie.  The Dutchman nodded in his 16th of the season, that goal proving perhaps the most decisive to date.  Arsenal looked to bury the fixture on the hour, but some last-ditch defending by Hummels robbed Gervinho of a spectacular goal.  Arsenal pressed to extend their lead as Song began yet another triumphal march downfield.  It was all there but the finish as Walcott fired wide, missing by inches.  With all the pressure from both sides, there were certainly more goals to be had.  An Arteta corner kick was moved on by Vermalen, allowing Van Persie to continue his flawless form, grabbing another with four minutes left to play.  Dortmund were sapped but Kagawa snatched an opportunist's goal once the Arsenal back-line had effectively switched off.  The goal would prove the last kick of the match.
Van Persie strikes again!
Arsenal are through and with Marseille's loss clinch the top spot.  The higher seed will likely ensure easier opposition in the next round.  Its disappointing to Dortmund's run come to an end, however.  They're a very entertaining side and have a great deal in common with Arsenal.  With little time to savour the victory, Arsenal host Fulham in the League and then the infamous Manchester City in the Carling Cup.

Well done Arsenal!!

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