Arsenal v Borussia Dortmund – as it happened

Robert Lewandowski ruined Arsene Wenger's 64th birthday by avoiding a red card and then snatching a late winner for Dortmund
• See the best images from the Emirates in Tom Jenkins's gallery

The Arsenal fans applaud. Their side has not disgraced itself tonight, not against opposition of this quality, and even though there is disappointment in defeat, Arsenal were not outclassed or outplayed. They were, though, outdone by the ultimate Champions League suckerpunch - when strikers like Robert Lewandowski are on the pitch, you're never safe. Especially after getting away with an elbow. Just when it seemed that Arsenal might snatch a win, Dortmund broke and scored a fine goal on the counter-attack. Dortmund were good, though, and there were times when their pressing was too much for Arsenal, who only really approached their best when Santi Cazorla came on. It all means that Arsenal are in a bit of bother. They, Dortmund and Napoli are all on six points after three matches but Arsenal have to go to Germany and Italy in two of their three last matches. It won't be easy. But it's doable. Thanks for reading and emailing. Night.

Full-time: Arsenal 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

That's your lot!

90 min+1: There will be three minutes of stoppage time and the ball is deep in Arsenal's half.


90 min: Dortmund are doing their very best to waste as much time as possible.

89 min: Arsenal replace Tomas Rosicky with Serge Gnabry. Rest assured that it would be ironic if he scored for he is German.

88 min: "If your goal is to score a goal does it make sense to change Ramsey for Bendtner?" says Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo. Should have put Higuain on.

87 min: Arsenal throw on The Last Samurai Nicklas Bendtner for Aaron Ramsey. Sokratis Papasthapopoulos is on for Marco Reus.


86 min: Koscielny heads Reus's free-kick away.

84 min: There's Hummels, the Dortmund centre-back, winning a free-kick off Ozil on the left wing. Ozil is booked. No, I've not got them the wrong way round.

GOAL! Arsenal 1-2 Borussia Dortmund (Lewandowski, 82 min)

Can I take that back? Sorry, Arsenal fans. Having played so badly going forward for the last 20 minutes or so, Dortmund hit Arsenal on the break and finally Grosskreutz does something right. He sped away down the right flank, leaving Gibbs in his wake, and then sent a cross to the far post where Lewandowski, totally unmarked with Sagna dragged inside, arrived at speed and slammed a low volley past Szczesny. That was so clinical. And now Arsenal really will be annoyed with me that Lewandowski is still on the pitch.


80 min: Dortmund don't seem overly flustered but if anyone's winning this, it's Arsenal. They're finishing strongly.

79 min: Koscielny is capable of making some extremely rash decisions now and again but he is dominating Lewandowski, which might explain that elbow earlier. Sagna hoicks a cross into the area from the right, Giroud's header flies away from goal but forces Weidenfeller to scramble at Cazorla's feet before the Spaniard can pounce.


76 min: Arsenal's threat is growing. Ozil locates Cazorla on the left of the area and he drops a shoulder, drives inside and hammers a right-footed shot which was destined for the top corner until Bender's intervention. Up the other end, Dortmund can't keep the ball. Lewandowski, who has never scored in England, and Reus have been increasingly ineffective.

74 min: As it stands, Arsenal are top of the group with seven points, Napoli are second with six, Dortmund are third with four and Marseille have the wooden spoon. Arsenal only have one home match left, though, and Dortmund have two.


70 min: Sven Bender is booked for fouling Rosicky. 

69 min: Santi Cazorla hits the bar! Arsenal suddenly quicken the pace down the right, lovely football setting Ozil clear. He pulls it back to the onrushing Cazorla, whose careful but firm right-footed curler from the edge of the area bends deliciously but not quite low enough, clanging off the top off the bar. What an effort.

67 min: Dortmund make two changes, bringing on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Jakub Błaszczykowski and Jonas Hoffman for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the goalscorer.

66 min: The ball is in the Dortmund net but the whistle had gone long before Ramsey stuck it into the top corner after pushing by Kosicelny on Hummels from Ozil's corner.

64 min: Ouch. Lewandowski, who has been very niggly this evening, is fortunate not to be shown a red here after sticking an elbow into Koscielny's face. Did he mean it? He certainly stuck his arm out long before the high ball arrived and caught Koscielny badly, as if he knew what he was doing, but you could argue he was trying to shield the ball. Either way, he's shown a yellow card, which is probably a bit lenient.

63 min: This is Arsenal's best moment of the second half. Gibbs plays Cazorla down the left and his low cross into the six-yard box is claimed by Weidenfeller.

61 min: Ozil skedaddles into the area on the right and wins an Arsenal corner. The ball is soon back on the halfway line.

59 min: Kuba's whipped cross is headed ... out for a throw-in by Reus. And a free-kick is awarded to Arsenal for pushing by Lewandowski anyway. There's not much going on really. I was promised a freewheeling feast of football tonight and that is not what I am getting! I suspect both sides would be content with a point. Arsenal still have to go to Dortmund and Napoli but they have Marseille at home as well. 

58 min: Jack Wilshere's evening is over. On comes Santi Cazorla.

56 min: Unfortunately for Dortmund, it seems like all of their most presentable opportunities are falling to Grosskreutz, who has been so wasteful in promising positions. He's played in by a fine pass from Mkhitaryan but ends up just bobbling the ball straight at Szczesny. It was neither shot nor cross but backpass.

54 min: Wilshere is caught in his own half but just as Dortmund think they have a chance to send Lewandowski through, the Swedish referee decides to blow for a foul. He does take his time making up his mind.

52 min: Dortmund are in control but there's not a great deal going on. Lewandowski slips a pass through to Reus but there's no way round Koscielny.

50 min: Dortmund are enjoying a spell of unanswered possession, at least until Rosicky sends Mkhitaryan flying. What is it they say about Tuesday nights in north London? Rosicky is booked.

48 min: This was almost a calamity for Arsenal. Gibbs tried to acrobatically clear a scooped pass from Sahin but almost sent it straight to Lewandowski. Luckily Sagna was about to mop up.

47 min: And now it's Dortmund's turn. Lewandowski finds Grosskreutz on the right - Arsenal could probably do with marking him - but he takes a heavy touch and Gibbs gets across to concede a corner.

46 min: The second half begins. Dortmund get us going again. Arsenal are immediately on the attack, Rosicky turning a wonderful pass round Schmelzer to Ozil on the right. He touches it to Wilshere on the overlap but his cutback finds no one.

What's a Ruby Tandoh?

Half-time: Arsenal 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

There were two seconds of stoppage time and no more than that. The whistle blows and Arsenal are level, which is something of a surprise after the way the first 20 minutes went. Borussia Dortmund were comfortably superior in that period and looked like they would run away with it after Henrikh Mkhitaryan's early goal. But Arsenal, who have been far from their best, have shown admirable tenacity to haul themselves level through Olivier Giroud's goal. Dortmund will be kicking themselves, especially as you'd expect Arsenal to grow in stature in the second half.

45 min: Grosskreutz might want to stop shooting. Another one is sliced over. 

42 min: That said, they had started to get more of a grip of things in the last 15 minutes. In response, Reus curls the worst shot of all time high and wide from the edge of the Arsenal area.

GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Borussia Dortmund (Giroud, 41 min)

What a shambles this is. What dreadful goalkeeping from Roman Weidenfeller, who never quite convinces. Sagna curls a cross into the box from the right, interesting Giroud, Subotic and Weidenfeller, who all for it. Weidenfeller isn't determined enough, though, and the ball takes a slight deflection off the sliding Subotic, bounces off Giroud and diverting it past Weidenfeller. Giroud blooters it into the empty net from all of two yards out. What a stroke of luck for Arsenal, who find themselves level without playing especially well yet.


38 min: Finally some encouragement for Arsenal! Giroud, so isolated up front, does brilliantly to beat Hummels to a loose ball on the left and then drive a low cross into the six-yard box. It's cleared but only as far as Rosicky, who drills a left-footed volley past Weidenfeller from the edge of the area and towards the bottom-right corner but there's Hummels to hack off the line!

37 min: There are lots of exceptional ball players in this Arsenal side but no runners - they're missing the direct running and pace of Theo Walcott. And Gervinho.

35 min: Grosskreutz sends Reus skipping away down the inside-right channel but he's under pressure from Koscielny and his tame cross-shot is easily snaffled by Szczesny. Meanwhile here are some nice pictures from the Emirates.

33 min: Mesut Ozil has really struggled to exert any influence at all. He wants a bit too much time on the ball and Dortmund aren't about to let him have any. He loses possession instead of playing the simple pass and Dortmund, as is their way, counter at speed. Lewandowski runs at Koscielny, forcing him back into the area, but then gets the ball stuck under his own feet and ends up conceding a free-kick.

32 min: I'm not sure how much more Wilshere has in him this evening. He's in a conversation with the Arsenal bench and is walking gingerly. We could see Santi Cazorla sooner rather than later.

31 min: Well, Wilshere is up again and back on the field. It was a fleeting scare. Ramsey, with nine goals already to his name this season, has a dig from distance but it's not very good, although Arsenal are slowly improving.

30 min: This isn't good. Wilshere appeared to hurt his ankle going for the ball there and is in a heap behind the goal.

29 min: But you only need a second to score a goal. For what must be the first time, Dortmund are sloppy in passing their way out of trouble and Rosicky nabs possession before chipping a beautiful pass over the top of the Dortmund defence for Wilshere, who is clean through. But the ball just skips off the surface, allowing Weidenfeller to scamper off his line and boot the ball against Wilshere, which is enough to deflect it behind for a goal-kick.

26 min: And here. Lewandowksi knocks it out to Grosskreutz on the right and his awkward cross is cleared with some difficulty by Koscielny. Arsenal try to break but it can't be more than three seconds before Dortmund have the ball back. This is very impressive. The frustration inside the Emirates is growing. Dortmund have put the squeeze on Arsenal. It's not so much that they're playing badly, more that they're not being allowed to play.

25 min: There was inches in this. Kuba prods a clever pass over the Arsenal defence but Reus is flagged offisde. Arsenal were living dangerously there.

23 min: Ozil curls the ball in from the right and Koscielny's header appears to hit a Dortmund defender and float over the bar, only for a goal-kick to be awarded.

22 min: Giroud muscles Schmelzer off the ball, a good old-fashioned shoulder barge, as the Dortmund defender tries to let it run out for a throw-in on the left and then races towards the area. As he reaches the byline, he slips by Hummels, who sends him flying with a useless challenge which is inches outside the area according to the officials. It was right in front one of the extra officials but despite Giroud's appeals for a penalty, a free-kick is awarded instead and Hummels is booked.

21 min: This is a bit better from Arsenal, even if the final pass was a tremendous waste. Ramsey wriggled away from Bender and found the overlapping Gibbs on the left. He had space but his cross was awful, skied high into the stands. It's the first time Arsenal have played with any speed, though. 

20 min: The Dortmund fans are having fun. 

19 min: Wilshere stabs a pass through the middle for Giroud, but the flag is up for offside. "Flamini would be takin' names if he were on the pitch now," says James Andersson. "Saying that it wouldn't have happened..."

17 min: That goal summed up the problem for Arsenal so far. When they win the ball back, there has simply been nowhere for them to go because Dortmund's pressure is so intense. Arsenal haven't able to cope.

GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Borussia Dortmund (Mkhitaryan, 15 min)

And lo and behold, one of those errors has led to the first goal. The threat seemed to have gone when Reus's pass, intended for Lewandowski, went astray on the edge of Arsenal's area. But Ramsey tried to take too many touches and was immediately set upon by Reus, the ball eventually breaking to Lewandowski. He touched it to the right for Mkhitaryan, who threw Koscielny and then stroked a lovely finish into the bottom-left corner with his right foot. On the touchline, Wenger has the hot funk on.


14 min: There's not a great deal of pace in this Arsenal side, so their passing needs to be spot on, especially with Dortmund pressing so hard. So far, there have been a few too many errors.

12 min: This was close. An Arsenal move broke down when Giroud was tackled by Hummels and suddenly Dortmund found themselves running straight at the Arsenal midfielders. Where have all the midfielders gone? It's far too easy for the Dortmund players to break through the middle and with the Arsenal back four backing off, Reus takes a touch and then whips a fine effort not too far wide of the right post from 20 yards out.

11 min: Mkhitaryan goes on a purposeful run into the Arsenal area from the right but Arteta tracks him all the way and manages to avoid conceding a corner. But Arsenal could do with getting a grip of things here. Dortmund look very dangerous.

9 min: Reus lobs a ball forward to Lewandowski, who is hussled out of it by Mertesacker again as he tries find a way through. But the Emirates is a little bit anxious right now. "Pedantry aside, let me be the first of 1058 chemists following MBM (instead of tending to their Erlenmeyer flasks) to point out that litmus paper tests for basicity (alkalinity) and neutrality -- not just acidity," says David Farrelly. "In everyday use a litmus test is sort of a shibboleth whereas an acid test is more of a stress test. Acid test fits better here. But how Arsenal react to getting their heads handed to them would be a real litmus test. Why did I bother writing all this?"

7 min: You wouldn't say that Arsenal are being given the runaround but Dortmund have been the much more urgent side. Arsenal haven't been able to get their passing game going yet because of Dortmund's pressing and the game is being played exclusively in their half in these early moments.

6 min: Dortmund are enjoying an extended spell in Arsenal's half here, so much so that Hummels is able to amble forward and wallop one miles over from 30 yards out. That's half of Dortmund's back four who have had a shot and we haven't even had 10 minutes yet. They weren't very good efforts, mind you - it's probably best if they leave it to Lewandowski from now on.

5 min: It's been a fairly quiet start, both sides feeling each other out. Arsenal aren't really in their stride yet. Reus finds Lewandowski on the edge of Arsenal's area and tries to race on to the return pass, only for Mertesacker to step in calmly to intercept.

4 min: Here's the first proper attack from either side. Lewandowski picks up possession in some space near the halfway line, turns and sprays a pass out to Grosskreutz on the right. Suddenly there are five or six Dortmund players screaming forward, but Grosskreutz wastefully drills a poor shot well over from 25 yards out. 

2 min: It looks like Wilshere is playing in quite an advanced role, perhaps drifting in from the right, and that Ramsey is alongside Arteta.

Peep! With the Arsenal fans singing that their team is by far and away the greatest team the world has ever seen, their team gets the game going. They're kicking from right to left in this first half.In the background, a Dortmund fan is banging a drum loudly. "Ian Wright's shirt," says Timothy Beecroft. "Good grief."

Here come the teams. Arsenal are in their red and white shirts, while Dortmund are wearing black tracksuit tops. I'm not sure how the teams are going to cope given the seismic events of today. A book. A book! Bigger than both the Bible and the last Harry Potter combined. Anyway, it's time for some adverts about beer and gambling and lads and video games and cars and banter and men and mates and blokes and beer.

Ah, there was this quote from Keane on Ferguson that I didn't take down first time. "Ferguson used to talk to me about loyalty, he doesn't know the meaning of the word." Ouch.


So, there was a press conference about a new book today. And, oh look, here's Roy Keane! He, of course, came in for some criticism in Sir Alex Ferguson in his new booky wook and is instantly asked for his reaction by Adrian Chiles. Surprisingly he refuses to explode" "I won't be losing any sleep over it. I just don't think the manager needs to do it. He has to draw a line. We brought success to the club. It's just part of modern life. People like to do books."

Roy Keane has never written a book, of course.

Ian Wright is giggling away in the corner of the studio: "It's just the way Roy's dealing with it."

Lee Dixon steps in: "I just don't understand books at all."

I might have written that last quote out of context.



"The acid-test (in business terms) is a severe test of a business’s solvency i.e their ability to carry on and meet short term liabilities," says KG. "I always thought of this when it is suggested in sports analysis. Certainly sounds more reasonable than fishing around for gold."

I'd quite like the match to start now.


"Allow ME to be the first of 1,057 pedants to point out that a litmus test is not really an acid test," points out David Roth Singerman. "A litmus test uses litmus paper to test acidity. An acid test, meanwhile, uses acid to test the presence of gold or a similar material. Or it's a party with copious LSD. Either one is way more fun than sticking a piece of paper on your tongue in science class."

So we're looking to see how much acid Arsenal have taken. Could get interesting.

"While people are saying that Flamini will be missed (and they may well be right) it's also worth remembering that Arsenal were at their stingiest during that impressive run-in last season with Ramsey and Arteta doing a fairly splendid job helping out their defenders," says Angus Chisholm.

Wenger seems to value Arteta's sitting role, especially for the experience he provides. Not sure if I'd have him in my first-choice side but my application for the Arsenal job was recently turned down.

"Can I be the first of 1057 pedants to point out that a litmus test is simply a test to measure acidity, and is thus an acid test," says Colin Mackay.

But does an acid test measure litmustness? Exactly.

The teams are in

As expected, Arsenal are without Mathieu Flamini, who is replaced by Aaron Ramsey. Tomas Rosicky is also in for Santi Cazorla, who drops to the bench. There's not a great deal of width in the Arsenal midfield, but plenty of trickery, guile and movement - I suppose the question is how they line up in attack. The early signs are that Wilshere will play deeper alongside Arteta and Ramsey, Rosicky and Mesut Ozil will float behind the rapidly improving Olivier Giroud. Dortmund are without Lukasz Piszczek, Sebastien Kehl and Ilkay Gundogan, whose absence means that Nuri Sahin, who nearly joined Arsenal on three different occasions, starts in central midfield. Forgive me if I resort to calling Blaszczykowski 'Kuba' all night for the sake of brevity.

Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Wilshere; Ramsey, Rosicky, Ozil, Giroud. Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Cazorla, Monreal, Bendtner, Gnabry, Jenkinson.

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller; Grosskreutz, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer; Bender, Sahin; Błaszczykowski, Mkhitaryan, Reus; Lewandowski. Subs: Langerak, Durm, Sokratis, Kirch, Hofmann, Aubameyang, Schieber.

Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden).


"If the Gunners are gonna get gunned down tonight then surely this would reveal the true signing of the summer was one Matthieu Flamini??" says Nathan Early.

A lot of Arsenal's flimsiness in midfield over the past few years can be traced back not to losing Patrick Vieira in 2005 - which was obviously a blow - but to Flamini upping sticks in 2008. He had just had a great season and they never replaced him. I'm not sure if either party benefited from him going. That said, they've got enough snap and bite in midfield with Ramsey and Wilshere around ... but I suspect Flamini's absence may hurt them tonight.

You'll not get me off this fence.

Good evening. Arsène Wenger says he wouldn't know when his birthday is (it's today, Arsène, today!) if people didn't remind him with their cards, cakes and insistent signing of the happy birthday song, comfortable the worst song in the world – you have to stand there smiling like a lemon while a group of people have a sing-song at your expense, an outrageous state of affairs. Thing is, as ridiculous as it stands, it's hard not to believe him. Wenger, after all, is consumed by football. While Sir Alex Ferguson has his books and his wines and his book to hawk and his scores to settle, the impression that Wenger, a highly intelligent man of course, has his football. Why go out when there's a tape of a division three match in France that still hasn't been watched? Who knows what 15-year-old gem may be unearthed during one of Wenger's late-night football binges.

Wenger is obsessed with football and because football sustains him, he is obsessed with it aspiring to the highest ideals and with winning the right way, even if some of Arsenal's fans have got to the point where they'll take winning anything at all. The sugar daddy owner buying you the title isn't for Wenger. No, he turns his nose up at that; he wants to win it his way, bringing through young players, constructing a team and, best of all, having Nicklas Bendtner as his only striker in reserve – it's cool, it's all good, relax, Arsène knows. At times, his vision has seemed misguided, especially when the talk is that Arsenal have been sitting on a wad of cash while their rivals have spent big on the way to winning domestic and European trophies.

Arsenal have had to suck it up, Wenger has had to ride a few storms and suddenly, almost out of nowhere, there has been a hint of the old smug, knowing smile again. The sense is that Arsenal are back – see the first-half performance against Napoli, Jack Wilshere's goal against Norwich, the revival of Aaron Ramsey' and midfield containing not just Mesut Özil but Santi Cazorla too. "How football is today, every defeat is a crisis," Wenger mused this week. Indeed when Arsenal lost at home to Aston Villa in the first half of the season, some Arsenal fans told the club not to begin negotiations with Wenger over a new contract. Now look.They're top of the league and their Champions League and playing the very best Wenger-ball again, which, let's be honest, we're all glad to see. Life tends to be better when a Wenger side clicks.

But this brave new Arsenal, missing Mathieu Flamini's midfield snarl against Marco Reus, face their biggest test tonight against Jürgen Klopp's wonderful Borussia Dortmund, after which they face Crystal Palace away, Chelsea in the League Cup, Liverpool at home, Dortmund away and Manchester United away. Wenger says this is the “litmus” test. Heck, it might even be the acid test. Dortmund might have lost their group match 2-1 to Napoli but make no mistake about good this lot are. They've lost Mario Götze to Bayern Munich, have a few injuries and will be without Klopp's manic touchline presence, the German still serving a ban after his volcanic eruption in Naples, but they have made some astute signings, kept hold of Robert Lewandowski and were so close to winning the Champions League last season. All in all, expect mutual respect this evening, between the teams and the managers, plenty of attacking from both sides and hopefully not a birthday cake in sight.

Kick-off: 7.45pm BST.


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