December 9 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Kosky at the Emirates Stadium
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Arsene Wenger has backed his side to grab vital Champions League points on the road following tonight’s 2-1 setback against Borussia Dortmund.
Arsenal are now locked in a three-way battle for the two qualification places in Group F after Robert Lewandowski’s late winner at Emirates Stadium sealed their first defeat of the campaign.
The Gunners travel to Germany for the return game against Dortmund next month and must also visit Napoli – who, like both teams, have six points to their name – in their final group fixture.
However, Wenger’s side – who triumphed in Germany last season, when they won against eventual European champions Bayern Munich – remain positive of progression.
Asked to assess the state of the group, Wenger – who acknowledged that Dortmund were the strongest team his side have played to date – said: “It’s tight and difficult for us, but possible.
“We have three teams with six points and we have played twice at home and once away. So we need a result away from home, but we can do that.”
Arsenal fell behind in the 16th minute when Armenian forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired home, but Olivier Giroud took advantage of a defensive error to volley the equaliser just before half-time.
The Gunners looked the stronger side in the second half, but they were caught out eight minutes from the end as the unmarked Lewandowski volleyed in the decisive goal.
“I felt we started a bit hesitant and did what we did not do against Napoli and I believe that our fluid football, going forward, was not quick enough,” Wenger added.
“It was a game of high intensity and very few chances. Dortmund were well organised and I must say we were not as good as we can be defensively.
“We put ourselves on the back foot with the first goal and we were a bit naïve with the second, but when you look at the number of saves our keeper had to make, we can only look at ourselves for not being mature enough.
“Especially in the second half we were on top. If you can’t win the game, don’t lose it.”
The Gunners are now waiting to see whether midfielder Jack Wilshere, who limped off with an ankle problem, will be fit to feature in Saturday’s Premier League derby at Crystal Palace, though the England international suggested he will be.
“I jarred it when I was going through [on goal],” Wilshere said.
“My ankle stopped and my body went over it and I jarred it a little bit.
“For five or 10 minutes it was painful, then I ran it off, but it made sense to put ice on it.
“I’ve done that before, even before I had surgery. It is just one of those things.
“Obviously I will have treatment tomorrow because it is still a bit swollen, but I should be all right for the weekend.”