GotzeArsenal can guarantee qualification from Group F with a win against Dortmund on Wednesday night at the Emirates and will keep us top of the table. The last encounter with the German champions ended in a 1-1 draw after a Robin Van Persie strike was cancelled out in the dying minutes by a Perisic screamer. Wenger will be hoping that our home advantage this time will be of assistance as Arsenal seek to top their group and avoid a repeat of last years’ encounter with Barcelona.

In form and on fire

Whilst Arsenal were battering newly promoted Norwich at the weekend, Dortmund went and beat the current Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich courtesy of a strike from their main man and Arsenal target Mario Goetze. The tiny midfielder proved a handful in the last game against the Germans and Wenger will be looking to the likes of the very impressive Vermaelen, Koscielny and Song to cut out the threat he provides. Dortmund have won their last 4 on the trot and are currently second in the Bundesliga, two points behind Munich.

Since the 2-1 defeat to Spurs, Arsenal have won 7 of their last 8 and have crept their way up to 7th in the table, level on points with Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs. Norwich proved a sterner test at the weekend than what was desirable with this crunch Champions League tie approaching, but the confidence gained from grounding out a result after going a goal down and spurning numerous chances shows that this Arsenal side are vastly different from previous years. Van Persie was once again the man with the goals, taking his tally this calendar year to 31, and his current run of 0.94 games per goal in a calendar year is the highest, topping the likes of our very own Thierry Henry.

Defensive dilemmas

There are no new injuries from the weekend, however Jenkinson remains out which leaves Arsene with a dilemma of choosing his defence. Koscielny was solid and confident at right-back against Norwich, however with his ability in one-on-ones against skilful players such as Gotze I believe he should start in the centre along with Vermaelen to combat the fluid attacking line of Dortmund, with Djourou starting out right. Mertesacker has currently featured in almost every Arsenal game since he joined and has surely earned a much deserved rest. I wouldn’t expect Wenger to make many changes as our final fixture is against the less challenging Olympiakos and he will surely look to there to rest some of the current starting XI.

There has been some debate over whether Wenger should rest Van Persie for this game and deploy (the so out-of-form it’s quite sad) Chamakh or Park. Van Persie injury record down the years suggests he does need regular rest and with the priority surely having to be the Premiership after a disastrous start it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see him start on the bench and come on towards the end.

Dortmund themselves are missing the assertive Neven Subotic at centre-back, however their primary weapon lies in their attack. I would expect them to continue with their 4-3-3 to try and grab the much needed win to stay in with a shout of qualification. The attacking trio of Gotze, Kagawa and Grosskreutz is surely one of the most impressive in Europe and it will be the job of the whole Arsenal team to keep them quiet, not just the defence.

Prediction and Possible Line-ups

I can see Arsenal putting in a disciplined shift once again against this exciting Dortmund outfit. Their need to get the win will surely play into Arsenal’s hands, opening up the pitch for the likes of Walcott, Gervinho and Ramsey to exploit. I can’t see us completely silencing Mario Gotze however so a 2-1 and securing qualification would do nicely.

Likely line-ups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie

Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Santana, Hummels, Schmelzer, Kehl, Bender, Grosskreutz, Kagawa, Gotze, Lewandowski


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-1 #1 deleshaba 2011-11-23 08:30
Arsenal will win this game