Alex Song turned into Lionel Messi in Dortmund’s last visit to the Emirates
Following a scintillating performance over Norwich in the weekend, the Gunners host Borussia Dortmund tonight high on confidence. Since the disappointing opening day defeat to Aston Villa, the Gunners have won 11 games from 12 with the only dropped points being a draw at the Hawthorns against a West Brom side that conquered Old Trafford in the previous week.
In this mazy run of victories, the Gunners have also gotten maximum points in their tough Champions League fixtures against Marseille and Napoli while Dortmund lost their opening encounter to the Italian outfit but they got all three points against the French giants. Dortmund would be without their manager, Juergen Klopp, that was sent off after expressing his rage to an official in the touchline in the loss to Napoli.
Arsenal has a pretty formidable record at home against German sides winning nine and losing just three of the past 13 fixtures, but the last two German visitors to the Emirates, Schalke and Bayern Munich, recorded wins in the Gunner’s turf, which might give Dortmund some slight encouragement. However, BVB were defeated in their last visit to the Emirates with Robin van Persie registering a brace on the night.
Marco Reus giving Philip Lahm a clean set of heels
There were major doubts over the fitness of key winger, Marco Reus, that had suffered an ankle injury but he made his long-awaited return in the 1-0 win over Hannover at the weekend. Reus is a player the Gunners would ignore at their own peril, his link up play with his attacking teammates is very brilliant and his technique is top-notch as well.
The Gunners also have to be weary about the threat Robert Lewandowski would pose as his exploits in last season’s competition, notably in the semifinal first leg against Real Madrid, showcased his sheer quality and clinical accuracy in front of goal. Lewandowski will be leaving on a Bosman at the end of the campaign and Arsenal among others have been touted as potential suitors. I just hope he doesn’t give the Gunners an “audition” tonight.
To injuries, Arsenal are still without the usual suspects Theo Walcott (abdomen), Abou Diaby (knee), Lukas Podolski (hamstring) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) while the manager has confirmed that Mathieu Flamini will take no part in this game after suffering a concussion against Norwich.
For Dortmund, goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller is available again after serving a one-game suspension for a red card picked up in the defeat to Napoli, while Lukasz Piszczek (hip) and Ilkay Gundogan (spine) remain long-term injury worries. Reus, Marcel Schmelzer (thigh) and Sebastian Kehl (ankle) made their return last weekend.
I’d expect the starting lineups to look like this,
A win for the Gunners tonight would give them some breathing space ahead of the return fixture in Germany. In the form the Gunners are in, I’m confident that they can take on all comers.
They’ll have to prove it against last season’s finalists.
Let’s show ‘em we mean business.