Wenger scathing of Arsenal's Champions League opener
Wilshere injury adds to Wenger's woes as Arsenal slip against Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund 2 Arsenal 0. Arsene Wenger labelled his side’s performance “disappointing” as Arsenal began their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 defeat away in Dortmund. There were no positives to take from the Gunners managers on a night when his side was outclassed across the Signal Iduna Park pitch and the evening ended in the worst possible way – with concerns for the state of Jack Wilshere’s ankle. Admitting the England midfielder had injured his ankle, Wenger told reporters: “It's difficult to say how bad it is because I am a bit cautious. Normally it's not very bad but because of his history I'm a bit cautious.”
The last thing Wenger needs is another injured player as he seeks to raise the morale of his squad after the defeat in Dortmund. Not just a defeat but the demoralising quality of a 90 minutes in which Arsenal managed just four shots at goal compared to their host’s 22. “Congratulations to Dortmund, they were the better team. We had a disappointing performance and the victory is normal,” said Wenger. “They were better and stronger than us in midfield, I agree with that. But it's very difficult on the night to go into any individual assessment of any players because as a team we were not at the requested level.”
The one player Wenger did discuss was Danny Welbeck, who spurned chances in either half as the former Manchester United striker struggled to find his feet. Asked if he believes Welbeck will live up to his £16m price tag, Wenger said: “He will. I don't think we have to make a problem with that. He had a very lively first half and he couldn't finish from his two or three good chances in the first half. We have to be patient [with him].”
Dortmund wasted several good opportunities to score in the first half before Ciro Immobile pounced on the stroke of half-time from a counter-attack that began on the edge of their own area. The long clearance found the cool-headed Immobile outpacing three defenders and then firing a low-angled shot past Wojciech Szczesny in the Arsenal goal. “We had three against one at the back and it's still difficult to understand how we conceded the goal,” Wenger mused later. “It's true that we lost the ball 80 metres from our goal but after that I think there were enough people to stop the goal.”
Whatever Wenger said to his players at half-time had no effect and three minutes into the second half Dortmund doubled their advantage. More sloppy defending from Arsenal allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score and at 2-0 one sensed there was no way back for the Gunners unless there was a drastic improvement in the final forty minutes. There wasn’t, as Wenger’s men were “out of their depth and ultimately outplayed,” The Independent’s Sam Wallace said.
Welbeck had a chance late on to get a goal back for Arsenal but having worked his way into a good position the 23-year-old blasted the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.
The defeat to Dortmund means Arsenal have won just once in their last six matches – a nervous 1-0 victory over Besiktas in the Champions League qualifier. On the evidence of last night’s display there could be several more reverses in the season to come.