Arteta vows Arse­nal will learn from their fail­ure

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

LONDON: Arse­nal cap­tain Mikel Arteta in­sists his side will learn the lessons of their painful loss against Manch­ester United when they take on Borus­sia Dort­mund in a cru­cial Cham­pi­ons League clash to­day.

Arsene Wenger’s side need a draw against Group D lead­ers Dort­mund at the Emi­rates Sta­dium to be sure of join­ing the Ger­man club in the knock­out stages of Europe’s elite club com­pe­ti­tion.

But a de­feat could leave Arse­nal need­ing a re­sult in their fi­nal fix­ture – in an ex­tremely hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment at Galatasaray – to avoid be­ing elim­i­nated at the group stage for the first time in 15 sea­sons.

Given Dort­mund have al­ready beaten Arse­nal 2-0 in the group stages this year and won 2-1 at the Emi­rates at the same stage last term, there is ev­ery rea­son for Arteta and company to be con­cerned – es­pe­cially since Arse­nal’s 2-1 home de­feat against United on Satur­day con­demned the team to their worst start to a sea­son since 1982.

Arse­nal’s fail­ure to con­vert a se­ries of chances to kill off United was a ma­jor frus­tra­tion, but Span­ish mid­fielder Arteta is con­fi­dent they will make amends against Dort­mund.

“We will have to an­a­lyse what we did wrong to lose the game, but if we played 10 times like this against Man United, then we would win nine and draw one,” the Spa­niard said.

“The fans have seen both the qual­ity and the de­ter­mi­na­tion which the team played with, so we say sorry, we tried our best, but it was not our day – (next time, the team) just have to put the ball in the net.”

There were, how­ever, signs of a grow­ing dis­con­tent among some Arse­nal fans after their sec­ond suc­ces­sive de­feat in a sea­son which has seen them col­lect only four Premier League wins, while they squan­dered a three-goal lead in a 3-3 draw against An­der­lecht in their pre­vi­ous Euro­pean fix­ture.

United sub­sti­tute Dar­ren Fletcher was in­volved in a heated ex­change with fans be­hind the op­po­si­tion bench fol­low­ing his team’s open­ing goal, when ob­jects, in­clud­ing red wine, were re­port­edly thrown at the vis­i­tors as they cel­e­brated.

A few Arse­nal fans also held up A4-sized plac­ards call­ing for Wenger’s dis­missal, which were quickly con­fis­cated by club stew­ards.

With so much neg­a­tiv­ity sur­round­ing the club, Arse­nal goal­keeper Wo­j­ciech Szczesny has warned his side not to take qual­i­fi­ca­tion for granted.

“We know that we only need one point from our last two matches to qual­ify for the last 16, but we know that we have not made it yet,” said Szczesny, who faces a race to be fit for the Dort­mund game after suf­fer­ing an in­jury that forced him off against United.

“We are all ready to bounce back against Dort­mund to­day and hope­fully get a place in the last 16.”

Should Arse­nal beat Jur­gen Klopp’s side, and the Ger­mans then lose at home to An­der­lecht on match­day six, there is an un­likely sce­nario which could see them go through as top seeds and so avoid the likes of Barcelona or Bay­ern Mu­nich in the knock­out stage.

De­spite their 100 per­cent record in Europe this sea­son, Dort­mund have al­ready lost seven times in the Bun­desliga this sea­son and a 2-2 draw with Pader­born at the week­end left them one point off the bot­tom of the Ger­man league ta­ble.

To make mat­ters worse, Dort­mund will be with­out Marco Reus un­til the new year after the for­ward suf­fered an­kle lig­a­ment dam­age against Pader­born.

Yet Szczesny main­tains Arse­nal should not read too much into Dort­mund’s slug­gish form.

“I am re­ally sur­prised how much Dort­mund have been strug­gling in the Bun­desliga this sea­son. Es­pe­cially when you look at their re­sults in the Cham­pi­ons League this sea­son, they have won ev­ery sin­gle game com­fort­ably,” he said.

“But I still think they are go­ing to do well as they are such a good side.” – Sapa-AFP

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