The final score flattered Arsenal. Unable to deal with Borussia Dortmund’s counter attack, Arsenal’s 53 percent possession turned into a disadvantage, giving up 23 shots while BVB eased to a 2-0 win to open UEFA Champions League group stage action.
Following the game, Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta came to the same conclusion as the rest of the world, even if he was quick to cite the circumstances of his team’s defeat. Ultimately, the Gunners weren’t on the same level.
“We faced a top side in one of the most difficult stadiums to play in Europe. After you go 1-0 down here it is very difficult,” Arteta said after his team’s loss at the Westfalenstadion. “We didn’t perform well enough tonight.”
It’s a direct if obvious criticism, given his team only put one shot on target (Dortmund: 7). Though Arsenal were able to hold BVB to two goals, close calls in the second half for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (twice) nearly fueled a lopsided result.
Arteta, however, still saw some positives.
“They played with a lot of pace up front. We could not cope with that and we gave the ball away too much,” the veteran midfielder offered. “We had three or four very good chances but I think they were the better side tonight.”
Awed by his own team’s performance, Borussia Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp agreed with Arteta, if in his own superlative tone.
“For us it was nearly perfection,” he said. “If you see games like this it is the best job in the world.”
“We were brave, we were fast and we had everything we needed to win this game,” Klopp continued. “I enjoyed it from the first minute to the last.”