Arsenal needed just a point to get out of the group but Arsene Wenger was unable to call on a host of key players, including Szczesny, Wilshere, Ozil, Walcott and Welbeck. So it looked like we were in for a tough night against Borussia Dortmund who have been great in the Champions League.
Yaya Sanogo got the nod to replace Welbeck up front and he got the best possible start, scoring his first senior goal right at the start, with an assist from Santi Cazorla. We have often been impressed with the young Frenchman but he clearly needed that first goal and the self belief it would bring.
After recent results, though, the question was whether we could defend well enough to stay in the lead. But our energy levels and pressing was looking good and Sanogo had a great chance to double his tally in the 10th minute but he hesitated and the chance went begging.
But t5hen we were nearly undone when Dortmund broke from our corner and the pace of Gibbs and a well timed tackle came to the rescue. Alexis had started slowly but he started to work his magic and have more of an influence, almost latching on to a Cazorla pass and forcing the Dortmund players to double and triple up on him in wide areas.
The Germans got their first good chance in the 20th minute with a fizzing ball across the six yard box. They were starting to create more and their heavy pressing was forcing us into mistakes, although we still looked dangerous ourselves and a better cross from the Ox on the left might have led to a second goal.
Arsenal rode the spell from Dortmund and began to dominate again and looked much more likely to score as the half wore on. Ramsey and Cazorla were much better and both full backs were linking well with the attack, especially Gibbs who was playing a blinder in attack and defence. But Martinez had to produce a sharp save before half time, so we could not relax.
It was a bit worrying after the break with Dortmund looking like they had a blast from JUrgen Kloop and The Gunners looking like they had the safety catch on, but we soon got going and after the Ox hit the bar with a great strike, Alexis finally showed his class with a beauty curled past Weidenfeller.
There was still half an hour to go though, and recent results have showed Arsenal to be vulnerable, so while it was all going wel, the players and fans did not dare to take the win for granted. But it seems like we have learned a painful lesson and made sure that the Germans hardly had a sniff, while still creating without leaving ourselves exposed.
Arteta and Sanogo picked up knocks which spoiled the night a bit but they didn’t look serious. And the FRench striker is off the mark while Arsenal got a clean sheet and are into the next round, so a great night for the Gunners.