|Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker played a vital role in Arsenal's win|
The biggest reason for Arsenal's win yesterday, was because of two men, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. Arsenal's defence has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent seasons but two clean sheets in 2 games against Suarez, Sturridge, Lewandowski and Reus just highlighted how far our centre back pairing of Mertesacker and Koscielny have come recently. It's no wonder they're keeping club captain Thomas Vermaelen out of the starting line-up.
They have been extremely solid of late and the combination of height (Mertesacker) and pace (Koscielny) complements the two of them perfectly. Both of them were very calm and composed last night which wore off on the rest of the team and allowed them to get the job done in what was a massive night in the Champions League. Mertesacker is usually one of the most calmest defenders out there but Koscielny is known for being a little rash and throwing himself into the tackles but in the past few weeks he's added a calmness to his game which has only improved him.
Mertesacker is most often taken a dig at by neutrals because he's extremely slow. However his reading of the game and his interceptions are up there with the best defenders in the game. The tall German has had some of the best strikers in the world in his back pocket recently as has Koscielny. The Frenchman, again criticised for being too inconsistent has been brilliant in 2013. He had a great pre-season but then lost his form a little bit in my opinion in the first few games of the campaign. However he's come back brilliantly and his burst of pace has been useful when getting us out of tricky situations at the back. The cost a combined £16.5m which makes the fact they're doing so well even sweeter.
Another player that caught the eye against Dortmund was a former player of theirs in Tomas Rosicky. Plagued with injuries during his time at Arsenal when he has played he's been a very useful player. He was signed in 2006 and over the past few hours has rediscovered the form he was first in when he came to Arsenal. He's a hugely underrated player and against Dortmund he was running everywhere. His work rate was brilliant, he continuously tracked back and would step in to make vital challenges when Dortmund were away on the counter. The way the Czech went about his business gave you the impression that he was 21 years old, not 33. He was the unsung hero of the game in a sense as he did all the dirty stuff well and played an important role out on the right hand flank.
As for Aaron Ramsey, the Welshman just can't stop scoring, his headed goal was a lovely bit of build-up play which led to Ozil crossing for Giroud to knock the ball into Ramsey who found the net for his 11th of the season. A remarkable record and it's left pundits thinking he can go on to become as big a scorer as the likes of Frank Lampard.
This game will only give the team more confidence and for the first time in a while Arsenal will go into a game against Man United, which is at the weekend, looking like the favourites to win. If we can ask for one more massive performance than that would be great. A win over United would send statements out further and would surely leave the doubters with no other option but to finally take Arsenal seriously and see them as contenders domestically and abroad this season.
The teams lineups:
Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Grosskreutz, Subotic, Papastathopoulos, Schmelzer, Bender(75), Sahin, Blaszczykowski(75), Mkhitaryan, Reus(86), Lewandowski.
Subs: Langerak, Durm, Kirch, Kehl, Hofmann(75), Aubameyang(75), Schieber(86).
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky(90), Ozil, Cazorla(75), Giroud(90).
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen(90), Jenkinson, Monreal(75), Hayden, Gnabry, Bendtner(75).
My man of the match: Per Mertesacker.
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (NED)