Wenger criticises Arsenal naivety in Dortmund defeat

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has criticised his side for lacking maturity in their Champions League fixture with Borussia Dortmund, BBC Sport has reported, with Wenger believing it contributed to the Gunners’ defeat.

Dortmund left the Emirates Stadium with a 2-1 win after goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Robert Lewandowski, with Olivier Giroud netting for Arsenal. Dortmund took the lead when Aaron Ramsey was dispossessed on the edge of his own penalty area and the ball fell for Mkhitaryan and though Giroud levelled, Lewandowski struck late in the second-half as Arsenal pushed forward for a second goal.

We put ourselves on the back foot with the first goal and were naive for the second,” Wenger said, arguing it was not a game Arsenal should have lost when the statistics are considered. “Look at how many saves our goalkeeper has had to make and we have conceded two goals,” Wenger continued. “We can only look at ourselves as not being mature enough in those situations. If you can’t win the game, don’t lose it.

Arsenal recorded eight shots on goal to Dortmund’s nine but only two on target to Dortmund’s three, and also took the lion’s share of possession, 58% to 42%. It was also suggested that Lewandowski was fortunate to still be on the field by the time of his 82nd minute goal after he was booked for an incident with Laurent Koscielny in which he appeared to elbow the centre-back when challenging for an aerial ball.

Wenger declined to criticise the officiating, instead saying that the game was played in an intense manner and Dortmund had the edge physically. “I honestly haven’t seen [the Lewandowski clash with Koscielny] but the referee was in a much better position than I was,” Wenger said.

It was a game of high physical intensity,” the 64-year-old continued. “Dortmund were very well-organised to stop us from playing. I must admit we were not as good as we have been and some of our players were not as fresh physically.

The result leaves Arsenal, Dortmund and Napoli, winners over Marseille, on six points with three games to go. Arsenal remain top of the group and next travel to Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion, and also have to go to Italy to meet Napoli at their San Paolo stadium.

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