The talking point both before and after the game has been Arsene Wenger’s decision to start David Ospina rather than Petr Cech, with this decision coming back to bite him – badly.
The Colombian’s ridiculous own goal was only part of our disastrous loss of course, but his shakiness and insecurity left our defence looking scared and timid. You need a commanding figure in goal, and that is an area Cech excels at.
We started off well, and looked truly devastating on the counter attack. Our side was full of pace, and it looked only a matter of time before it proved too much for the Greek side.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was played through on goal during a great counter, and at five vs three, we really should have scored. Under pressure however, the Ox put the ball into the side netting.
Theo Walcott should have scored from yet another counter, with some great footwork creating a chance for the pacy forward. His effort was right down the keeper’s throat though, and was never going to trouble him.
We dominated possession as expected, but it was Olympiacos that hit first. Ospina’s indecisiveness caused confusion between Gabriel Paulista and Laurent Koscielny, and a needless corner was conceded. The corner resulted in a shot from the visitors which was deflected in via Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. 1-0.
It was shaping up to be a bad night already, but Arsenal kept our hopes high by hitting straight back. Theo Walcott made a superb run behind the defence, with Alexis Sanchez picking him out with a lovely pass. The angle was a tight one, but he somehow slid it past the keeper. 1-1.
Ospina was partially to blame in the build up to our first goal, but was entirely to blame for the second. A simple enough corner was swung in, and it should have been a simple catch for the Colombian. Instead he opted to pat the ball down, and managed to knock it over the line in the process – the fifth official (who usually never does anything) giving the goal. 2-1.
It was truly shocking goalkeeping, and really raises questions over the shot-stoppers abilities.
Laurent Koscielny suffered a hamstring injury in the second half, a potentially huge blow if he’s out for any length of time.
The introduction of Aaron Ramsey saw us really push for that equalising goal, and it eventually came. Alexis Sanchez battled well to keep hold of the ball, which eventually found it’s way to Walcott. He put a fantastic cross into the box, which Alexis got on the end of and headed in. 2-2.
It looked like game on, but we made the mistake of switching off after scoring. Olympiacos scored almost immediately from kick of, with Per Mertesacker – Laurent Koscielny’s replacement – putting in a half hearted challenge and allowing Olympiacos to tap in simply. The goal came less than a minute after we’d scored. 3-2.
We pushed hard for another equaliser, Mesut Özil coming close with a free kick and Alexis almost firing in with another header. The visitors defended really well as a unit, and our poor defending and individual errors ended up costing us the win.
We now have two games against an incredibly in form Bayern Munich side, and are yet to get a single point on the board. It’s the first time in history we’ve lost our first two group games, and our Champions League campaign could be over already.