Arsenal’s second string side predominantly made up of fringe and young players will be ruing unacceptable defensive errors in the 3-1 loss to Olympiakos. Although the gunners had already secured qualification to the knock-out stages and top spot in Group F, it does not excuse the school-yard blunders that lead to two of Olympiakos’ goals.
First of all I would like to comment on playing our first-team regulars that are essential to the Premier league. While the addition of Vermaelen and Santos would have been a move to bring more solidity and experience to the back, it was a needless move. Vermaelen is the rock of Arsenal’s defence and Santos is virtually our only natural left-back with Gibbs always on the treatment table. Personally I don’t think it was worth the risk with nothing at stake, which happened to land Santos with an injury.
After this performance, serious questions must be asked over the credentials of both Marouane Chamakh and Andrei Arshavin. The Moroccan has consistently produced torrid displays both season and at the back-end of last season and serious consideration has to be put into letting him go as he is simply not good enough to be an Arsenal player. As for Arshavin you feel that the little Russian definitely has the ability to play for Arsenal, but his work-rate and effort is simply not good enough.
Couple with these negatives with the blunders by Fabianski, Mannone, Squillaci and Djourou and you can only feel disappointed with this performance. But thankfully on a positive note, we look forward to the weekend now where we play Everton at home with a virtually a rested first-team. Hopefully we get a win that will boost our confidence for the upcoming away matches against Manchester City and Aston Villa.
on the result…
We had the early chances but Olympiacos played a very committed game. They made it a good battle and we lost too many balls in the first half especially. We were a bit insecure.
Overall they were 2-0 up because they were sharper than we were. We came back to 2-1 and it looked more like we could level, but they scored the third goal.
on the right outcome…
I thought overall Olympiacos deserved to win the game but, unfortunately for them, it’s not enough because they will not qualify for the Champions League. Marseille made a super result which puts Olympiacos out of the competition.
They missed the first game at home against Marseille and it’s very difficult to get that back. Olympiacos deserved a better place. They paid a heavy price for not starting the championship before their first game.
on injuries to Lukasz Fabianski and Andre Santos…
Fabianski felt a deep cut on the knee and Santos suffered a bad ankle injury. He looks like he will be out for a while. We have Gibbs coming back in two to three weeks. Hopefully Santos will not be too long but, for Saturday against Everton, he looks to be short. We have as well Vermaelen who can play in his position.
on the performance…
I am annoyed because we lost the game. It’s difficult to single out (individuals) – I feel offensively and defensively we were not convincing tonight. We lost many challenges.
You could feel there was more at stake for Olympiacos than us. I think that made us insecure defensively. We lost many balls in position where we are not used to.
Djourou Squillaci Vermaelen Santos
Chamberlain Chamakh (c) Arshavin
Lukasz Fabianski | 4.0: Woeful kicking and conceded the opening goal after a blunder at the back before being forced off through injury. Not doing his dream of a Euro selection any favours.
Johan Djourou | 5.0: The Swiss international looked very nervous in the right-back position and was partly to blame for the opening goal. A shame after his good performances in recent weeks.
Sebastian Squillaci | 5.5: A so-so performance from the experienced Frenchman, who was involved in the mix-up with Djourou for the opening goal. Didn’t really do his chances of first-team action any help.
Thomas Vermaelen | 7.0: It is becoming a recurring theme saying Belgian was best performer at the back and today was no different. Stood firm to the waves of attack thrown at him.
Andre Santos | 6.0: As usual tidy on the ball, but uncertain on defence. Picked up a worrying ankle injury that is set to keep him on the sidelines ‘for a while’.
Francis Coquelin| 6.0: Decent performance by the young midfielder, but was subbed for Rosicky as Arsenal looked to work their way back into the match.
Emmmanuel Frimpong | 6.0: As usual the Ghanaian was tenacious and aggressive in midfield, but could little to detour Olympiakos dominance in the middle of the park.
Yossi Benayoun | 7.0: Perhaps the shining light in this performance. Was a work-horse the whole match and deservedly got a superb goal as a reward.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 6.0: Found it hard to get into the match, only showing glimpses of his talent. May have been as a result of Olympiakos’ dominance in midfield.
Marouane Chamakh | 4.0: The train of bad performances just keeps on chugging. Another blow to the confidence for a player who is in desperate need of it.
Arshavin| 4.0: Was good in the very early exchanges, but just faded from the match thereafter. Needs to address his work-rate if he is to try break back into the Arsenal first-team
- Notable Substitutions
Vito Mannone| 3.5: His absolutely awful blunder at the back was just a farce and overall had an uneasy performance after replacing Fabianski
Ignasi Miquel| 6.5: Looked solid when the young Spaniard came on for the injured Santos. Comfortable on the ball and willing to help on attack when needed.
Tomas Rosicky| 6.0: Brought on to try and inspire the gunners on attack, but unfortunately failed to do so.