Borussia Dortmund 1 Arsenal 1

Given the nature of the well publicised issues surrounding the build up to this fixture, should Arsenal feel aggrieved with a point from their first Champions League group fixture? That the Gunners had netted after forty two minutes with Robin Van Persie’s third goal of the season – which looked to have given the London side a hard fought victory against Borussia Dortmund – then yes, and especially with only two minutes remaining on the clock, when substitute Ivan Perisic struck to cruelly deny the Gunners. A point is by no means a disgrace, and especially given that some had predicted worse against the reigning German champions, but once again we saw Arsenal’s Achilles heal – the inability to hold what they have.

Discipline

Having levelled late on however, the Gunners were indebted to the fine goalkeeping instincts of Wojciech Szczesny who bravely saved at the feet of Robert Lewandowski to keep the scores at 1-1. In truth, the German side will feel that they were worthy of at least a point, and with their long periods of possession which saw the Arsenal defence having to show discipline and patience many will agree with that assertion.

Arsene Wenger had queried why Dortmund were seeded in the final pot when the draw was made, and his fears were early in evidence. Mario Goetze was orchestrating from the midfield, which seemed to be shorn of an Arsenal presence. Wenger had talked of the danger from Shinji Kagawa, and his drive was another source of Dortmund pressure.

Midfield strategy

After Kevin Grosskreutz saw his effort sail over the bar, Kagawa also went close, with Lewandowsk then frustrated with Bacary Sagna’s excellent clearance to deny Dortmund after Szczesny had been rounded. Van Persie then had an effort after Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun were able to figure out a strategy, but the Holland striker saw his effort tipped around the post.

Yet it appeared only a matter of time until Dortmund opened the scoring, but it was soon to be 1-0 to the Arsenal. Theo Walcott found himself in possession, after a defensive slip. Then a quick exchange with Van Persie saw the Gunners number 10 finish powerfully past Roman Weidenfeller.

Gervinho dancing

The game was by no means over with Dortmund prodding and testing an Arsenal side who once again saw Alex Song have an immense game. Gervinho was also showing his brilliance, dancing away and he should have had a second for the Gunners, but saw Weidenfeller save after he had got the better of the Dortmund defence.

With the clock ticking down, Kieran Gibbs cleared but the ball fell to Perisic. He hit a powerful looping effort that finally got the better of Szczesny, with the Gunners then holding on for a valuable point, when they will rightly feel that they should have claimed all three.