Arsenal vs. Borussia Dortmund: Champions League Preview and Prediction

Khalid KhanCorrespondent IINovember 22, 2011

NORWICH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19:  Robin Van Persie of Arsenal celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on November 19, 2011 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Arsenal will look to seal a place in the Champions League knockout stages as they take on Borussia Dortmund at the Emirates on Wednesday. 

Arsenal have been in sharp form as they have been unbeaten in 11 of their last 12 games in all competitions. Arsene Wenger and his side will have a tough encounter against Borussia Dortmund as Dortmund defeated Bayern Munich during the weekend.

If there was someone responsible for Arsenal's resurgence, that man would be Robin van Persie. Van Persie's current form is bringing him a lot of praise. He has scored 15 goals this season and has led Arsenal through tough times. If van Persie can stay fit, there is no question Arsenal could make a deep run in this competition.

When asked about Arsenal's fine run of form, Wenger said:

"Five weeks ago we were 17th in the league and I had to answer a question about whether I thought we would battle relegation. At the time I said no but in football things change quickly. We are back in a stronger position."

If there is one team that has gone through a similar path as Arsenal this season, it would be Borussia Dortmund. After a bad start in all competitions, Dortmund have bounced back and are on a fine run as well. After beating Bayern Munich 1-0 during the weekend, Jurgen Klopp believed that it was the perfect result ahead of their fixture with the Gunners.

Klopp said: 

"Practically nothing tops beating good teams. We managed that (against Bayern) and we can do that again on Wednesday. It will be a different challenge, but today was an important sign that we can also do this at Arsenal. It was a perfect day for us."



Team News

The Gunners have no new injury concerns but they are still without long-term absentees Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna. Arsenal have been given a massive boost as Abou Diaby will make his return for the club. Laurent Koscielny will most likely fill in once again at the right-back position. I expect Wenger to field the same lineup from the weekend as this is a must-win game for Arsenal.

Dortmund will still be without the services of Neven Subotic. Klopp may replace Kevin Grosskreutz because of his mediocre performance for the weekend.


Arsenal Predicted Starting XI: Szczesny, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos; Song, Arteta, Ramsey; Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho


Borussia Dortmund Predicted Starting XI: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Felipe Santana, Hummels, Lowe; Bender, Kehl; Gotze, Kagawa, Grosskreutz; Lewandowski


Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Borussia Dortmund

Something has to give as both teams are on a great run of form. Arsenal have recovered from a poor start to the season and continued their revival with a fifth successive Premier League win at Norwich City on Saturday to take their recent unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions. Borussia Dortmund have won six games out of seven in the Bundesliga after their bad start.

I believe the absence of Neven Subotic will prove costly for Dortmund. With a striker like Robin van Persie on hot form, Dortmund will have trouble containing this Arsenal attack.

The return of Thomas Vermaelen has solidified the Arsenal defense, which makes me believe the Gunners will play much better than they did in the previous meeting.

Things are looking very bright for Arsenal as they can seal a place in the knockout phase for the 12th successive season.

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