For Gunners fans who tuned into Arsenal v Borussia Dortmund on Sky Sports 1 early on Wednesday evening, there was a real treat. The British broadcaster was taking a look at Arsenal’s famous Invincibles side, boasting the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Sylvain Wiltord. Unfortunately as the programme was running, Arsenal’s Twitter broke the news that Yaya Sanogo was starting against two-time Champions League winners Borussia Dortmund. It served to remind Arsenal supporters just how far the north London side have regressed, despite the arrival of Alexis Sanchez. But any skeptics were convinced inside 80 seconds of Sangogo’s potential. Showing youthful enthusiasm, he managed to hold onto possession on the edge of the Dortmnd area, play a one-two with Santi Cazorla, before audaciously slotting his finish between Roman Weidenfeller’s legs. Before Arsenal supporters could get carried away, though, the 21-year-old reminded his adoring fans that he is still very much a rough diamond. Aaron Ramsey played the forward through on goal eight minutes later, but Sanogo had too much time to over-think his next move, taking too many touches and the chance was gone. Still, considering Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck were unavailable, Arsene Wenger deserves rare praise for placing his faith in Sanogo, earning his reward.
Jack Wilshere’s latest ankle injury places even more pressure on Ramsey’s shoulders. The Wales international has failed to hit the heights of last season, although it must be pointed out that his start to the campaign was hampered by a hamstring problem. Speaking about his early-season form on Tuesday, Ramsey said: “I’m not worried at all. I still believe in my qualities and I’m sure I can show them again this year”. Judging by Wednesday night’s performance, the 23-year-old still has some way to go before hitting top form. To put it simply, it was a mixed display. The Arsenal midfielder was caught dwindling on the ball early on, but played a get through pass at full-stretch to tee up Sanogo. However, highlighting a touch of rustiness to his game, Ramsey squandered a great chance to release Chambers, showing sluggish decision-making. It is slow progress for the Welshman, but Wilshere’s absence could allow him to shine in the coming weeks.
The Borussia Dortmund manager was quick to play down reports of an imminent move to the Premier League at his pre-match media conference on Tuesday evening. Jurgen Klopp said: “I don’t think about my long future. The only language I can speak is English. The funny part of the language I will learn very fast”. Klopp is in vogue, in spite of Dortmund’s lowly 18th-place residency in the Bundesliga. The 47-year-old has been linked with every Premier League giant since his last German top-flight success in 2012. The answer? Of course there is place for Jurgen. Dortmund play a high-pressing, counter-attacking game, a tactic which has proven successful in the Premier League. Last year’s English runners-up, Liverpool, played a style not too dissimilar to Dortmund. Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United adopted a counter-attacking strategy at The Emirates on Saturday, leaving north London with three points. Klopp’s charisma would make him a darling of the media, too. Just look how Jose Mourinho manages to charm journalists on a weekly basis, and that’s without the caricature faces. It is not a question of if, but where Klopp will go in the Premier League when he feels his work is complete at Dortmund. And Arsenal fans will be encouraged by his apparent love for London, judging by Dortmund’s warm-up at Regent’s Park earlier on Wednesday.
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