Arsenal became the first English side ever to beat Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park thanks to Aaron Ramsey’s goal. Check out the Gunners player ratings here.
Arsenal defeated Borussia Dortmund 1-0 last night at Westfalenstadion in a brilliantly mature UEFA Champions League away performance.
The match may have been something of a smash and grab, with Aaron Ramsey scoring with the Gunners’ first shot on goal midway through the second half, but it is easy to forget Borussia Dortmund did much the same at Emirates Stadium.
In north London, Robert Lewandowski scored with the Bundesliga giants’ only shot in the entire second period after a long spell of Arsenal dominance, and the Gunners’ deserved their luck last night.
Arsenal player ratings from Signal Iduna Park follow below.
Wojciech Szczesny: 8/10
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has quietly gone about his business since he was dropped in March last season, and his hard work and dedication helped him first win back his place in the Gunners side, and secondly develop into one of the best goalkeepers in Europe.
Top saves against Marco Reus and Jakob Blaszczykowski underlined this point, and Szczesny commands his area impressively, communicating with his defence ahead of him well.
Bacary Sagna: 7/10
Bacary Sagna is a consistent and reliable presence in defence for Arsenal. It is vital for the Gunners that they provide him with a new contract as soon as possible, with his current deal expiring at the end of the season.
Per Mertesacker: 9/10
Per Mertesacker was absolutely imperious at centre back for Arsenal, backing Arsene Wenger’s claim that he is one of the best defenders in the world tactically by always being in the right place at the right time against Borussia Dortmund.
The Germany international may not be the quickest, but his timing in the tackle is impeccable, and his aerial prowess in defence was matched in attack when he almost scored with a looping header.
Laurent Koscielny: 8/10
Laurent Koscielny makes for the perfect partner for Mertesacker in defence.
While the German colossus relies on his incredible sense of anticipation, Koscielny acts instinctively and incisively.
After Koscielny was smashed by BVB goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and ought to have won the Gunners a penalty, he made two wonderful interceptions in his own box within moments of returning to the field of play.
The moment Arsene Wenger restored Koscielny to the Arsenal starting XI ahead of Thomas Vermaelen in March now looks a real turning point for the north London side.
Kieran Gibbs: 7/10
Kieran Gibbs had a difficult game for Arsenal, with Borussia Dortmund focussing many of their attacks down the right.
Still, it is a great testament to how much Gibbs has developed to say that the England defender handled the pressure on his flank well on the whole.
Given that the Gunners kept a clean sheet despite the waves of Dortmund attacks, it is hard to find many faults in Gibbs’ performance.
Mikel Arteta: 8/10
Mikel Arteta was shown a yellow card after 23 minutes for a shirt tug, which was certainly a fair decision. What slightly irked Arsenal fans was that Marco Reus committed an almost identical offence minutes later and escaped caution.
Arteta’s booking meant that he had to walk on a tightrope for the rest of the game against Borussia Dortmund’s free flowing attack, but the Spaniard performed admirably, keeping the ball well to ease the pressure on the Gunners back line.
Arteta has upped his game since Mathieu Flamini was injured, having had to take on further defensive responsibility, and has proven himself invaluable.
Aaron Ramsey: 7/10
Aaron Ramsey had a rather quiet game, particularly in the first half, but once again scored the vital goal to help Arsenal emerge victorious.
The Wales international midfielder has been a revelation this season, and though in the first half he had to concentrate on helping Arteta protect the Gunners’ goal, he made intelligent runs forward and again proved decisive.
Ramsey’s sudden development into a world class central midfielder has been one of the stories of the season so far.
Tomas Rosicky: 7/10
Tomas Rosicky helps Arsenal press from the front, with the Czech midfielder a bustling presence throughout.
Rosicky possesses a vast amount of energy for a 33 year-old, and offers a great alternative to Jack Wilshere in the Gunners’ line-up.
Rosicky appeared to want to prove a point against his old team, and in beating them he certainly did so.
Santi Cazorla: 6/10
Santi Cazorla had a quiet game by his own high standards, and wasn’t able to make his usual impact on proceedings, but made no mistakes and was always available as an outlet for his team.
His lack of defensive contribution despite Dortmund’s focus on the Arsenal left flank often left Kieran Gibbs exposed, but Cazorla is still working his way back to his best after injury and can be expected to carry on improving.
Mesut Ozil: 7/10
Mesut Ozil gave the ball away often in the first half as a result of Borussia Dortmund’s intense pressing, but as in the first game, the physical exertion on the Bundesliga outfit took its toll and Arsenal were stronger in the second half.
Although Ozil was marked tightly throughout the match, he still managed to take Tomas Rosicky’s pass and chip it to Olivier Giroud, who headed into Aaron Ramsey’s path to score.
It is notable that even in Ozil’s quieter Arsenal games this season, he has still proved decisive – as the aforementioned moment against Dortmund and his assist for Aaron Ramsey against Liverpool illustrate.
Olivier Giroud: 7/10
French forward Olivier Giroud described his performance on Instagram as “not his best game” for Arsenal, but yet again proved an excellent foil in attack.
Giroud was as ever a handful for the opposition defence thanks to his improved physical presence, and again provided the assist for the match winning goal.
If Arsenal can keep Giroud fit until the January transfer window opens for reinforcements, they could very well claim their first trophy in almost a decade.