Arsenal play Dortmund away on Matchday 1 of this season’s UEFA Champions League, after enduring a physical battle against Manchester City in the Premier League last Saturday. As a result of the brutality of that encounter on Saturday, the Gunners have been hit by injuries to key personnel in their lineup, as Wenger said in his press conference last night. Dortmund, too, have their own share of injuries and, having lost the likes of Lewandowski and Gotze in recent seasons to their direct rivals, Bayern Munchen, Klopp’s men aren’t as strong as they were a couple of seasons ago. Thus, going into the game, it will be a 50-50 battle between these two beautiful Footballing outfits.
A ‘draw’ wouldn’t be a bad result for Arsenal
Despite injuries to Debuchy and Monreal, which has certainly weakened Arsenal’s rearguard, the Gunners have terrific attacking ammunition to fall upon, when they face Dortmund later tonight.
Dortmund probably have more injuries concerning them than Arsenal. Reus was ruled out with an ankle injury last week; but the colossal blow would be that of Hummels missing out at the heart of their defence. The German international has been courted by many a Premier League club and his absence will be a game changing one in my opinion.
This clash between Dortmund and Arsenal could come down to two injury-hit sides looking to play on the counterattack, albeit Dortmund are the home side. For the style of football Wenger’s men exude, Dortmund are always going to fancy their chances in counterattacking but, given the circumstances, it will be a definite ploy on Dortmund’s part to sit back and make use of the pace in Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and Kagawa to test out the slow movers in Arsenal’s lineup.
It will also be interesting whether Wenger would ditch his constant urge to play possession-based, attractive football, and emphasize on getting a good result – be it a draw or, even better, a win – by concentrating on astute defending, which couldn’t save the day against Manchester City at the weekend.
The dynamics of the game, on the look of it, promises to be a ‘no brainer’, with two sides who would look to defend deep and make use of the counterattack; but, if Klopp does go ahead with that tactic of being overly dependent on ‘good defending’ and counterattacking, Arsenal wouldn’t mind it one bit, as they would be relatively confident of carving out a chance or two while playing their own brand of football.