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Signal Iduna Park (ATT 65,829) 6th November 2013 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: B Kuipers

B Dortmund Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal Arsenal

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Wenger knows best

Many wondered if this run of tough games would be the making or breaking of Arsenal. After their win against Dortmund, Nick Miller says it looks like the former...

By Nick Miller.   Last Updated: 07/11/13 10:16am

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Aaron Ramsey: Living up to the potential, as predicted by Arsene Wenger

Aaron Ramsey: Living up to the potential, as predicted by Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger knew. Somehow, he knew what was coming, back in 2012, when he said: "Once Aaron Ramsey starts scoring goals, he will not stop."

And he has not stopped this season. Ramsey's goal (his 11th of a remarkable campaign) in the 62nd minute of their famous 1-0 UEFA Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund was Arsenal's first effort on goal of any description. Before they had tried not one shot, on target, off target, hit the post, blocked, saved - nothing. It was a mugging and no mistake.

But what a mugging. It has been asked at what point Arsenal should become favourites for the Premier League title. It is probably too early to judge that, but they are the closest Wenger has had to the real thing since Patrick Vieira left. This is an Arsenal equally capable of winning beautifully and winning hideously, as they did in Germany on Wednesday night.

When Dortmund picked Arsenal off as they looked for a victory in the previous game, some suggested how the Gunners left themselves far too open and allowed Dortmund's rapier counter-attacks to rip them open. But there were no such mistakes this time. This was an old-fashioned English away performance in Europe, clinging on before nicking something on the break.

Initially, it did not look too good. Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp said he prefers an English style of football, revelling in the times his players have run more than the opposition. But in the first half in particular this was English football plus. English football supersized. English football, if you will excuse the slightly tortured heavy metal reference, turned up to 11. Arsenal looked dizzied at times in the face Dortmund's relentless play. Even Mesut Ozil, looked hurried and vaguely punch-drunk as he tried to create something, such was the ferocity of Dortmund's pressing.

Reason to shout: Are Arsenal now the real deal as they continue in style?

In the first half Arsenal were very easily contained. They created barely anything and with every attack Dortmund mounted, they looked less and less likely to get the point that would have still been a good result.

But they did hang on. It is worth noting that the most encouraging aspect of this Arsenal side is that they seem to be improving. Even earlier on this season they were prone to the sort of lapses of concentration that cause woe among their fans and clucks of scepticism about their credentials from the rest of us. Even in games they ostensibly won comfortably (Norwich City at home springs to mind) they were prone to dozing off and almost allowing their opponents back in. They beat Norwich 4-1, but two of the goals came in the final seven minutes to add a gloss that their careless play in the previous half-an-hour or so did not exactly merit.

Not so here, though. Of course it is a bit easier to stay alert when Robert Lewandowski is running at you with a lead to protect, rather than when you are 2-0 up against Robert Snodgrass and pals, but it would have been very easy for Arsenal to crumble under the yellow waves of pressure. They did not, though, and eliminating lapses in concentration and repelling one of the continent's best teams are both encouraging signs that Arsenal have what it takes up top, as well as in their feet. Many wondered if this run of tough games, which includes the trip to Manchester United on Sunday, would be the making or breaking of Arsenal - after this performance, it very much looks like the former.

Wayne Rooney's declaration that Arsenal might not be all that just yet looks a little foolish now, just a few hours after he made it, but it is of course sensible given what history tells us about Arsenal. That's for the rest of us, though. Arsenal fans can be forgiven for thinking that they have the real thing now.

A version of this article first appeared on Football365

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Tables

UEFA Champions League Group A

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Atletico Madrid 4 9
2 Olympiakos FC 4 6
3 Juventus 4 6
4 Malmo FF 4 3

UEFA Champions League Group B

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Real Madrid 4 12
2 Basel 4 6
3 Liverpool 4 3
4 Ludogorets 4 3

UEFA Champions League Group C

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bayer Leverkusen 4 9
2 Monaco 4 5
3 Zenit St. Petersburg 4 4
4 Benfica 4 4

UEFA Champions League Group D

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Borussia Dortmund 4 12
2 Arsenal 4 7
3 Anderlecht 4 2
4 Galatasaray 4 1

UEFA Champions League Group E

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bayern Munich 4 12
2 Roma 4 4
3 CSKA Moscow 4 4
4 Manchester City 4 2

UEFA Champions League Group F

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Paris St Germain 4 10
2 Barcelona 4 9
3 Ajax 4 2
4 Apoel Nicosia 4 1

UEFA Champions League Group G

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 4 8
2 Schalke 4 5
3 Sporting Lisbon 4 4
4 Maribor 4 3

UEFA Champions League Group H

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 FC Porto 4 10
2 Shakhtar Donetsk 4 8
3 BATE Borisov 4 3
4 Athletic Bilbao 4 1

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