Welcome to a new feature on Arsenal.com - Talking Heads.

Before and after every first-team fixture our MatchDay Show team - and an Arsenal blogger - will have their say on the match.

Arsenal took on Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck, Adrian Clarke and Avenell Dave from Arsenal Addict.

Read on for their post-match thoughts and recap their pre-match thoughts.

Dan Roebuck - Arsenal Live

As in Germany, Dortmund came flying out of the blocks and they could and perhaps should have gone in front while they were dominant. But not for the first time this season Arsenal weathered a storm, sized up their opponents and then took a grip on the game. The first goal could have gone either way but once Arsenal got it I thought they closed the match out experty - and that's not something we've always been able to say. Robin van Persie just keeps scoring but Theo Walcott was a threat throughout and Alex Song made his mark at both ends of the pitch in the second half. Group F was a tough one to qualify from - let alone win - and Arsenal can be proud of how they have handled themselves since they were drawn to face a strong Udinese side in the qualifiers.

I was really impressed by Dortmund when these teams met in Germany. They dominated possession especially in the first half and, although they needed a wondergoal to snatch a draw, it was no more than they deserved. However Dortmund's defence didn't look the tightest and if Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott are on form I expect Arsenal to create plenty of chances. Group F is shaping up to be the tightest of all and it would be a huge relief to get a home win tonight and book a place in the last 16. But given Dortmund's form - they beat Bayern Munich in Munich at the weekend - I suspect Arsenal will have to settle for a draw.

Adrian Clarke

Dortmund tested Arsenal’s resistance and resolve with a dominant first-half performance but the Gunners held firm and once Robin van Persie made the breakthrough against the run of play just after half time the match suddenly turned on its head. In truth, the second period was relatively plain-sailing for Arsène Wenger’s men. It’s difficult to pick out individuals from what was a solid, mature team effort but Alex Song is the player who stood out for me in the second half. His wing wizardry created the opener and Song was also at his best defensively to thwart the visitors whenever they came forward. With Olympiacos’ victory on French soil guaranteeing Arsenal top spot in the group it turned out to be a highly-successful evening all round. All of the players deserve a big pat on the back for their efforts.

This is an appetising match-up between two of the most in-form and aesthetically-pleasing sides in Europe. Much like Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp’s side have bounced back well from a below-par start to the campaign so expect them to be buoyant about their chances of creating the upset they need to keep their Champions League dreams alive. Mario Goetze is a superstar in the making but, aside from his obvious threat, Dortmund’s main strength lies in the fact that they are a slick, well-organised unit. If Arsenal are able to impose themselves early on and supply the front three with the service they crave we should prevail but, make no mistake, if the Gunners don’t bring their A game and defend well, this is a match that the visitors are more than capable of winning. Let’s hope the players can secure qualification ahead of a tricky final group game in Greece.


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Wednesday night's result is a testament to the manager who kept his head while all around him were losing theirs. Make no mistake, this was a tough group and to win it with a game to spare is a fantastic achievement. I counted seven or eight players who were either long-term injury victims or not at the Club at the start of last season and Arsène Wenger deserves great credit for making them a team and a competitive one at that. Now certainly isn't the time to start crowing about our progress relative to the other English teams and we need someone else to share the goalscoring load. But the way the team is performing right now shows strength through adversity and, dare I say it, victory through harmony.

I remember Arsenal playing Borussia Monchengladbach in the year that Arsène Wenger joined the Arsenal and we lost both games. German sides have always seemed to be difficult opponents for us and the draw against Dortmund at the start of this year’s Champions League campaign underlines how good German teams really are. There’s been a lot of talk of Mario Goetze being on Wenger’s radar and he may well be a good player but, as we saw with the late equaliser in the first game, you simply cannot write a German team off. Arsenal are in fine form and deserve the plaudits we're getting at the moment but this is going to be a tight game and until qualification, preferably as group winners, is confirmed, we can’t take anything for granted. I fancy Gervinho to have a big part to play in this one. If Dortmund have done their homework, they’ll see how many of our goals have come through a Theo Walcott-Robin van Persie combination, so it may well be that the Ivorian wing wizard gets a little less attention than his two more celebrated colleagues.

* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.

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24 Nov 2011