Arsenal take a massive three points in Dortmund

Posted by Andrew Mangan

ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty ImagesAaron Ramsey's 62nd minute header against the run of play was enough to earn Arsenal all three points in Dortmund.

There's something a bit special about this Arsenal team this season, and the 1-0 win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night proved it again.

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Some weeks ago I spoke about how teams that can grind out results when not playing their best have often gone on to have successful seasons. It's a great habit to get into and there's little doubt the Gunners failed to hit the heights as Jurgen Klopp's team looked the more dangerous.

In the first half Henrikh Mkhitaryan really should have put the home side ahead, squirting a shot wide with just Wojciech Szczesny to beat. The Bundesliga team had six shots on goal to Arsenal's zero.

And in the second period, the visitors had Szczesny to thank for keeping the score level. He made a fantastic save from a Marco Reus header before getting down brilliantly, with a really strong hand, to deny Jakub Blaszczykowski. The Polish stopper has been in quietly excellent form all season and he showed his worth once again Wednesday.

From an attacking point of view, Arsenal struggled. Olivier Giroud found it hard to hold on to the ball; Mesut Ozil gave it away far too often; Mikel Arteta had to walk a disciplinary tightrope after picking up an early yellow card; and overall Arsene Wenger's team found it hard to reach the level of performance they did against Liverpool last weekend.

Much of that was because Dortmund are a far better team, but at times Arsenal, even when they had the ball, looked like they were struggling to keep control of it. The one touch passing and the flicks look fantastic when they come off, but when they don't, and you cede possession, you put yourself under pressure.

However, as it looked as if they'd seek to grind out a 0-0, they got the only goal of the game. Tomas Rosicky fed Ozil, his cross was headed down well by Giroud, and Aaron Ramsey was brave to put his head where Neven Subotic's boot was to head home. It might have been against the run of play, but when you don't take your chances, you're liable to get punished -- Dortmund were well and truly sucker-punched.

It sparked something in Arsenal, with Ramsey almost adding a second. They should have had a penalty when Roman Weidenfeller poleaxed Laurent Koscielny in the box, but for some reason the referee played on. The Frenchman, along with Per Mertesacker, was on the end of everything Dortmund threw into the Arsenal area, and the team in general defended resolutely and with real commitment.

It is a massive three points for Wenger's men, especially with Napoli winning against Marseille. It keeps confidence and belief high ahead of a trip to Old Trafford on Sunday, as this is a game that they wouldn't have won in the past few seasons.

It augurs well for what's to come. Dortmund are undoubtedly the best team they've faced this season. They gifted the first game to the Germans two weeks ago and Wenger called on them to learn the lessons from that night.

A victory away from home, despite the Dortmund dominance at times, shows they're quick studies and on course for knockout round qualification


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