Arsenal: 5 things we learned at Emirates defeat

 

1 Mikhi puts Özil in the shade to fill Dortmund’s post-Götze void

For all the excitement about Mesut Özil, the most creative player on the pitch was the opposition No 10 – Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Liverpool tried to sign him from Shakhtar Donetsk this summer and he showed exactly why, with a display of brilliant movement, imagination and touch. Of course ‘Mikhi’ put Dortmund ahead after 16 minutes with a clever disguised finish but almost everything he did was classy, dropping into spaces to take the ball, turning away from Arsenal players, winning free-kicks and masterfully orchestrating Dortmund’s play. Dortmund may have lost Mario Götze but they have certainly not lost their spark.

2 Özil is a genius but flawed when it comes to defending

Mesut Özil is brilliant, not that it needs to be said, but Arsenal must have realised last night that he presents slight problems in terms of his defensive work. He spent the first half in the hole, but was slightly ineffectual, both with the ball and when it came to harassing the influential Sven Bender and Nuri Sahin. So in the second half Ozil was almost moved into a Theo Walcott position – high up and on the right. That allowed Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey more central roles, stifling Dortmund for much of the second half and re-establishing some control.

3 Koscielny kept Lewandowski quiet ... until the winner

Laurent Koscielny must have thought he had done a good job stifling Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker was immaculate all night in his touch and movement, but after laying up Mkhitaryan’s opening goal he was shackled by Koscielny, a master of picking the right moment to dart forward and steal the ball – an area where Thomas Vermaelen is over-enthusiastic. Lewandowski was reduced to throwing elbows, with one on Koscielny resulted in a booking. But you can never count out a striker of Lewandowski’s ruthless instincts, and he was there with seven minutes left to win Dortmund the game.

4 The jury is out after Arsenal’s first real test of the season

It was performances against the big teams which were missing from the analysis of whether this good Arsenal start to the season could be converted into trophies. The fixture list has been generous to them so far, even their home wins against Tottenham and Napoli coming against non-performances. Dortmund, by a distance, are the best team Arsenal have faced this season. So what did Arsenal show us? They were outplayed for much of the first half, and dominated most of the second without being able to go ahead, before they were caught out. Judgement has to be suspended.

5 Arteta is now nearing his best and showing his importance

Given the recent excellence of Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini, it is easy to forget how important Mikel Arteta is. This was his fifth start since return from injury and his best yet. Arteta, in the absence of Flamini, was ferocious in defence, charging in to deny Sahin, Mkhitaryan, Marco Reus and the rest the time they needed in the first half. As Arsenal grew back into the game, Arteta was always there to show for the ball.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015