On Arsene Wengers 64th birthday, we welcome Borussia Dortmund to The Emirates in the third game of our Champions League Group F campaign. Picking up maximum points so far in our group we are sitting top of the group, with Napoli and Dortmund joint second after securing a win each. Pundits and fans alike expect a tough fixture and many are suggesting a high scoring affair, although both teams have scored four goals in two games. With Jürgen Klopp banned from the touchline for tonight’s game, he has been talking about Arsenal in a very positive light during his pre-match interviews. He praised our style despite criticism from others, development and dealings in the transfer market; further bettering his standing amongst not only the football hipsters, but fans of managers who tell it how it is.
Dortmund defeated Hannover 96 1-0 thanks to a Marco Reus penalty in what was an open contest. The victory marked their 6th home victory in 6, while their away form has resulted in a 2-0 defeat at Mönchengladbach, a draw at Nürenberg and a victory at Frankfurt. We have been in scintillating form so far this season both home and away and have not lost since our defeat against Aston Villa on the first game of the season and our 4-1 victory against Norwich on Saturday doesn’t seem to have scared Dortmund, with Nuri Sahin stating ‘they played Norwich and not Dortmund. During a game, it doesn’t matter who is against you. It is important that we have our match plan and play accordingly’. Sahin’s words resonate with their performances in the Champions League last year beating Real Madrid over two legs and being defeated in the final at the hands of German rivals Bayern Munich. Since then, influential playmaker Mario Götze has departed to Bayern Munich and manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed he turned down ‘several’ English clubs who made offers for his services over the summer.
We have a tough run of fixtures coming up after tonights match, with the only game we can afford to slightly take our foot off the gas for being Crystal Palace (No disrespect intended). With Dortmund tonight, Crystal Palace Saturday, Chelsea 29th, Liverpool 2nd Nov, Dortmund 6th Nov, Manchester United 10th and Southampton on the 23rd, our run in is absolutely in full swing come December. A lot has been made about these games from various outlets and sports journalists and I do agree that this could make or break our season. However having said that, we are playing some of the best football we have played in years and that hasn’t just started this season, it has carried on throughout summer after last seasons excellent run of form before the culmination of the season. I also agree absolutely with Arsene Wenger’s comments in the week regarding squad togetherness and can really see that the players are playing for the badge on the shirt, rallying together and getting results that we maybe haven’t deserved – although only the game against West Brom springs to mind in that respect. With Flamini out, I think it is important for Ramsey (if he starts) to defend as well as he has been attacking as he will not have Flamini’s cover behind him – something he done very well last season. This will be a close match for us but I believe we have enough about us to defeat Dortmund tonight and am going to go with a 3-1 win.
- Arsenal and Dortmund have one win a piece in this fixture, both games resulting in 2-1 wins.
- Both teams have scored four goals in two games this campaign.
- Theo Walcott is expected to miss Arsenal’s next three fixtures after suffering a setback in his recovery from stomach surgery. Mathieu Flamini was taken off on Saturday following a clash of heads with Norwich’s Alexander Tettey and has been ruled out with concussion.
- Marcel Schmelzer (thigh) was an unused substitute on Saturday and Sven Bender (groin, back), Reus (ankle) and Nuri Şahin (ankle) all returned following knocks. Sebastian Kehl has been out since suffering an ankle ligament injury in training on 15 September.
- Arsenal are a massive 6/4 with William Hill. I’d say that’s worth a few quid on it’s own.
- Arsenal to win 3-1 is another high price at 18/1 with SkyBet.
- Olivier Giroud to score anytime is also 6/4 with SkyBet.