Olympiacos 2 - 1 Arsenal
As Arsenal emerge from yet another cursed November, they travelled to Greece to face Olympiacos in the Champions League. Following a humiliating defeat at the hands of Swansea, the Gunners were aiming for all three points, despite having already qualified.
Arsenal began the first half in a fairly confident mood with Gervinho, Chamakh and Rosicky seeming to cause slight issue to Olympiacos’ back line. Arsenals first clear-cut chance fell to Aaron Ramsey’s left foot, unfortunately he made little contact with the ball and sent a scuffed shot wide. His attempt to recover the ball was both embarrassing & heartbreaking to see.[quote_right]”Losing is one thing, but the lacklustre performances and tired tactics are becoming far too consistent.”[/quote_right]
Tomas Rosicky was able to evidence that he was back to full fitness with glimmers of class. He dictated play well and kept the ball in difficult areas.
Towards the end of the half it was evident that Olympiacos were close to going a goal up, however our defence held well with Thomas Vermaelen making important challenges to defy the Greek attacks. Jernade Meade the young left back seemed overpowered at times but was able to get the basics right.
With seven minutes to go before the half time whistle, Gervinho, who had been having a half decent game, went on a small run, taking the ball to the by-line and eventually cutting back a delightful cross to a waiting Tomas Rosicky who slotted the ball in to the far corner of the goal. Arsenal went into half time with a well earned lead.
The second half saw Arsenal come out looking confident. Getting into the lead has been easy for Arsenal this season. The real test we currently face is actually keeping it.
By the 55th minute, it was clear to see that Olympiacos had the upper hand and were first to most balls. A freak shot at Szczesny’s goal saw the ball float wide. The referee on the other hand, saw otherwise and gifted the Greeks with a corner. Ramsey’s bad luck continued, as the ball ricocheted chest and fell to the feet of Maniatis who happily scored the equalizer. Szczesny was booked for dissent.
It was looking oh-so familiar for Arsenal. We had worked hard to obtain a lead, only to lose concentration and throw it away. As the half progressed, it was looking more like Olympiacos’ night.
Fittingly, the Greeks made it 2-1 on the 73rd minute, with a well struck shot from Mitroglou. The morale and confidence boost from Rosicky’s goal was now completely gone. Yet again, the Arsenal team were void of any creative spark in the final third.
The game came to a close, and Arsene Wenger must once again be questioned as to to terribly poor form the Gunners are currently in. Back to back defeats against Swansea & Olympiacos is not flattering. Losing is one thing, but the lacklustre performances and tired tactics are becoming far too consistent.
Indeed, these are dark times for Arsenal.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Didn’t have a great deal to do, dealt with loose balls and shots on target well, seemed to try to motivate his team mates throughout the match. With no fault to him Szczesny was unable to keep a clean sheet.
Did well, was certainly the stronger of the full backs on display tonight, though his inability to effectively use his left foot is becoming worrying.
Nothing to complain about. Actually felt he did a very good job today he was certainly no walk over.
Made a handful of challenges in the second half and proved his importance to the team when defending set pieces. Could have motivated his team mates more.
Jernade Meade: [6.5/10]
A young man with very limited first team experience. Did well but was over powered in the air throughout the night.
Tomas Rosicky: [8/10]
MOTM. Contributed massively in the first half and was able to put us 1-0 up. he was replaced by Arshavin at half time.
Francis Coquelin: [6/10]
An average performance from a young man whom needs a run of games before we can really determine his value. Worked Hard.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: [5/10]
Had little effect on the game. Over-rated I hear you say? Could have worked harder, did not stand out from the crowd.
Another bland performance. Showed some vague glimpses of class but it’s just not enough. Was unable to control the midfield, but did try to create chances.
He tried his best to look interested in the first half with darting runs and quick sprints but his final product was awful. Had as good chance to put Chamakh through at one stage but hesitated and lost the ball.
Marouane Chamakh: [6.5/10]
Isolated but tried his best throughout the game. Seemed to get frustrated towards the end. He may work well in a 4-4-2 formation.
[title]Up A Greek Without A Paddle[/title]
Though we retain a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, Arsene Wenger put out a young, inexperienced team to face a difficult side in a difficult location. Did he really expect to win a Champions League game with Marouance Chamakh, Meade & Aaron Ramsey in the starting lineup?
Arsenal are in dire need of a saving grace. Next up is West Brom at home. usually I’d comment on how much of an easy win it should be. However, with our current form, anything is possible.
What did you think of the Olympiacos Vs Arsenal Match? Was Szczesney right to complain about the ‘corner’? Share your views below by leaving a comment.