Sanogo and co inspire Arsenal against Borussia Dortmund
When they needed it the most, Arsenal produced a performance against Borussia Dortmund that guarantees them qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Gunners are now 33/1 with Coral to win the Champions League, and Arsene Wenger will have been relieved to silence recent critics albeit temporarily. Having flopped against Manchester United at home, last time out, Arsenal needed a response.
A goal in the second minute is one way to do this. Yaya Sanogo, whose selection will hardly have filled many fans with excitement prior to kick-off, more than justified a place in the starting XI for the trip to West Bromwich Albion, after an elegant exchange with Santi Cazorla in the penalty area, finding the goal from an acute angle.
Sanogo’s presence in the side gave Dortmund’s depleted defence something to think about, with his pace and clever runs, and he has clearly been watching highlights of Olivier Giroud from last season. Kieran Gibbs looked like an accomplished, and first-choice England international left back; excellent defensively, and threatening going forward.
Helped out by Alexis Sanchez, who gave a performance of the utmost professionalism, with the Chilean always tracking back, and constantly showing for the ball going forward, as exemplified in his second goal. Receiving the ball on the break, he checked inside on his right foot from the outside of the area and bent a shot neatly into the far corner.
Jurgen Klopp will have been frustrated by his side’s seeming lack of invention, or even will to create. Dortmund have already qualified for the last 16, though perhaps the absence of the injured again Marco Reus had an effect on their lack of cutting edge.
Mats Hummels was also missing from defence, although Ilkay Gundogan continued his recovery from a serious spinal fractured by playing 90 minutes in the engine room.
Dortmund gaffer Klopp has been widely linked to the Premier League in the past year, even recently admitting an interest in a move. Arsenal were the club he has been tipped to takeover after Wenger, though fans may be split after this.