Arsenal 2 - 1 Olympiacos: Two early goals enough for Arsenal

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Post by Jay29 Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:47 pm

This game was actually overshadowed by the North London derby on Sunday. Still, off the back of a good win at home to Botlon, the feeling going into this one was much more positive than it has been this season.

Defensive problems... again
Arsenal's passing and attacking was very good in the first 15-20 minutes. The players were positive with their play with and without the ball and deservedly Arsenal took the lead just seven minutes. Alex Song's long pass found Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had made an intelligent run from his spot on the right flank, and the talented winger controlled well and finished confidently with his left.

The second goal also resulted from some good, positive play. This time, it was Rosicky who managed to find himself in space before playing in Andre Santos. The Brazillian payed it across goal, but Chamakh couldn't reach it. The ball came back out to Santos and he maneuvered it onto his right foot before slotting home. It was Santos' initial run forward that really created his goal, and had Chamakh been a little sharper he probably would have had an assist instead of a goal.

From then on, though, Arsenal experienced a multitude of problems.

Olympiacos were pressing very well and getting quite tight to Arsenal's midfield. When they won the ball back, they commited men forward and caused problems with their movement. Most noticeably, their wide men drifted into the space between midfield and defence and put Arsenal's not-so-solid backline under pressure. When Arsenal did get the ball back, they gave it away far too often. Olympiacos had become the better side in the first half.

Then, of course, we had problems with set-pieces. Olympiacos constantly played short corners and balls to the edge of the penalty area and near enough each time they caught Arsenal napping. The lack of concentration and subsequent poor marking really was quite shocking. Olympiacos scored via this method. A short ball to a player and suddenly they had a two-on-one against one of our players. When we started to move to close them down, gaps appeared everywhere in the box and Fuster had a completely free header.

Really, Arsenal were a bit fortunate to go in 2-1 up at half time. Defensively the performance wasn't good enough, while offensively we couldn't keep the ball in the Olympiacos half. We really needed half-time to regroup.

Tighter defensive display in second half
Thankfully, Arsenal sorted some of these issues out in the second half. The strategy seemed to be to see the game out and not try and kill the game off and it worked.

Most tellingly, both full backs rarely went forward and Frimpong played deeper in a more traditional holding role and opposed to the ball-winning CM role he had in the first half. The gaps between defence and midfield that were their in the first weren't present in the second, and Olympiacos' threat was lessened.

There were still problems from set-pieces, but baring those and one outstanding shot from Tosoridis, the second half was relatively comfortable. Szczesny didn't have to make a save.

Arsenal did had have a couple of opportunities to wrap the game up, but failed to make the most of them.

Good win considering state of team
It wasn't the most convincing of wins and inevitably the media vultures are going to try and make it seem like we played worse than we actually did, but all things considering it's a good win.

There were only four players out there who'd we consider to be actual first choice players, which were Szczesny, Sagna, Song and Arteta. Santos is still bedding in and the left back spot is a toss up between him and Gibbs, while we can't say that Mertesacker is first choice with Vermaelen and Koscielny both injured. Frimpong, Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamberlain and Chamakh are all fringe/back-up/rotation players.

So we can't really judge how well we'll perform from here on based on this performance.

Fact: We were the only English club to win this week. City got thumped while Chelsea and United both blew leads.

Another fact: We have more points at this stage in the Champions League than City and United combined.

And this is our third win on the bounce, fourth at home.

So how much can we really criticise the performance tonight?

Player Ratings
Wojceich Szczesny - 6. Did not have much to do, however one could argue that our poor concentration and organisation at the back may be attribtued to Szczesny.

Per Mertesacker - 7. His best game as an Arsenal player so far. Was composed at the back and did something that not many Arsenal defenders do; he hoofed up the field to relieve pressure. I really enjoyed that about his performance tonight. No fuss. Just got rid.

Alex Song - 7. Looked like he had been playing centre back all his career. Didn't put a foot wrong. We should actually realise that Song actually is good defensively when he's playing purely defensive roles in the team.

Bacary Sagna - 6. I thought he was a bit off his game tonight. Looked a little lathargic and gave the ball away one too many times.

Andre Santos - 7. Good all-round display, capped off with a goal.

Emmanuel Frimpong - 6. Typically energetic, but did give the ball away a few times. Otherwise pretty good.

Mikel Arteta - 7. Very good all round performance. Passing typically accurate, and he was more than useful defensively. Also cleared a shot off the line.

Tomas Rosicky - 7. A bit of a mixed performance, but he was actually good.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 7. Took his goal well and looked promising on the night. Forced to do too much defending, however.

Andrey Arshavin - 6. Decent showing.

Marouane Chamakh - 6. Again, a decent showing. Better than what we have seen recently.


Last edited by GoonerJay29 on Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:36 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by The Verminator Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:50 pm

I was upset to see that we weren't passing the ball around and trying to create some space. But i was happy to see that AW was tactically aware. He knew that Olympiacos could score at any minute, so he threw on Gibbs instead of just hoping for the best. I like Very Happy
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Post by MJ Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:51 pm

Great start, but typical Arsenal play later, getting pounded and had we played a better team, we surely would have lost.
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Post by RealGunner Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:55 pm

haters gonna hate,

winners gonna win Very Happy

song :bow:

Frimpong :bow:

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Post by The Verminator Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:59 pm

Chamberlain :bow:

Was really impressed with Santos. Or was i the only one?
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Post by RealGunner Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:02 pm

Emmanuel Frimpong had more tackling attempts (11) than Olympiacos' whole defensive line managed to rack up in total.
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Post by djoe26 Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:03 pm

Mertesacker :bow:

Song :bow:

Szczeny :bow:

AOC :bow: Also he became the youngest englishman ever to score in CL Very Happy

Santos was really impressive and so was Arteta. Rosicky and Arshavin didnt impress me at all. Rosicky had one or 2 moments but other than that he was just useless.
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Post by The Verminator Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:07 pm

RealGunner wrote:Emmanuel Frimpong had more tackling attempts (11) than Olympiacos' whole defensive line managed to rack up in total.
So then what does that say? That he was going into challenges alot or we were just s*** going forward?
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Post by RealGunner Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:09 pm

that means frimpong is a BEAST
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Post by Wilson37 Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:10 pm

Happy with todays performance.. But could have been better.. I thought we are gonna score atleast four when i saw the game at 20 min..
Happy that we rested players inspite of many injuries and got the result... But we wont get through with a result against Spuds if we play like this.. Defence again.. And who is playing next game.. Will Kos be back or its going to be Met-Djurou ? It will be a really difficult match...
Chamberlain was excellent and we need some more players who are willing to take chances rather than Chamakh who stops and passes back...
Chamakh had a better game.. He is putting in a lot of effort.. Arshavin was also good.. Arteta was great..
Frimpong had a good game but he lacks some pace...
Sczeny as usual awesome..
Met i am not sure its good or bad.. But better than his previous games..
Song did well.. Santos good.. Sagna not as good.. Rvp didnt get the ball.. Rosicky also didnt do much..
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Post by RealGunner Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:10 pm

Arsenal are the 5th club to score 200 goals in the Champions League
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Post by Wilson37 Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:13 pm

The Verminator wrote:Chamberlain :bow:

Was really impressed with Santos. Or was i the only one?
right from his first match i too feel he is better than Gibbs in defence and almost equally good in attack too.. So for me he is the first choice LB atm..
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Post by KMD Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:17 pm

most important is a win, but marseille is on fire right now!

i only saw the first half, and by the looks of it, our game decline after 2nd goal, is it complacency?
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Post by Jay29 Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:36 pm

First post updated.

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Post by Raptorgunner Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:23 pm

GoonerJay29 wrote:First post updated.

Thanks Jay.

I am so happy we got the 3 points, we have a promising future. This team every game becomes stronger and better, we made mistakes, and so does every team, we must learn from it.

Wenger is looking like a genius again, now we must beat down the Spuds.
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Post by Twoism Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:18 am

I like Santos & Ox performance, they were solid and both handle their goals extremely well, not the easiest ones.
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Post by getdarker Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:43 am

would love to see a video of the highlights if anyone has them?
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Post by Red Alert Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:58 am

RealGunner wrote:Arsenal are the 5th club to score 200 goals in the Champions League

Quite an achievement. Do you have the other 4? Thumbs up

Guessing Madrid, A.C, Ajax and... scratch I'll just go with us. Razz
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Post by Sri Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:35 am

Rice: 'We had to knuckle down and fight'
Pat Rice faces the media after the Olympiacos game

on the performance…
I think in the first 20-25 minutes we were really in it well. After that for about 15-20 minutes we maybe lost our way and they came back into it. Second half we had to knuckle down, fight and get our shape right which I thought we did better in the second half.

on Arsenal's goals…
It is unfortunate we didn't get the third but we also had opportunities on breakaways in the second half. They came, they waited for us, they broke us up in the middle of the park and in fairness they did well. You can't turn around and say we had all of the game because that would be unfair.

Needless to say I think we will be very, very happy with the three points.

on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain…
He can go inside, he can go outside, he's got that injection of pace and I think what he needs now is to be consistent in his play. I am sure that is something he will be working on because he's certainly not a stupid boy. He has good people around him and they are telling him all the right things.

He is a very confident boy, a strong boy and he listens to what people tell him. I think he makes his own mind up because when you are a professional footballer loads of different coaches tell you lots of different things. What you have to do is pick out the best things that are applicable to you. That is something Alex will no doubt actually do. He is very friendly with Theo and no doubt he will give him the benefit of his experience as well.

From Arsenal supporters' point of view, they are going to be seeing a lot of this boy. Whenever he breaks in permanently he has a big, big challenge to now get in front of Theo. I know that Theo is a very strong-willed guy as well and he won't give in easy. It all bodes well for England anyway.

on a nervous night for himself…
I said before we played Dortmund that it is not the kind of evening I particularly want. It's never actually been an ambition in my career to be a manager. I'm quite happy being a coach. But when decisions go against the manager, which in my personal opinion wasn't right, we have just got to get on with it.

on defensive performance…
I thought that in general they battled very hard. I think that as we went into the second half we were tighter in the second half than we were in the last 20 minutes of the first half. People can have the ball right and left but it wasn't really causing us too many problems. They have actually got a lot of the ball but in actual terms of what Szczesny has had to save I don't think there was all that many chances.

on the goal conceded…
It was soft, yes. From a defender's point of view it was really poor.

on Robin's omission…
Robin's been playing a lot of games lately and it was just a question of Chamakh needing games. We just thought that we would give him a go. You can't say that Marouane didn't try. If he had a little bit more luck he perhaps might have scored a third goal. But you cannot fault him for his work ethic.

on Olympiacos' performance…
I thought Olympiacos played very, very well and whenever we go over there to play, one would like to think we would have qualified.

on whether Oxlade-Chamberlain & Walcott could play together...
What you have to do is see whether the two of them can compliment each other - that is something I don't know, the manager does not know and the England manager does not know either because we have not seen them together.

You can think as much as you like, but until it actually happens you are only formulating an opinion of your own. All good players can play together.

on Tottenham...
That is a completely different ball game at Tottenham The most important thing for us was to win, because it takes us closer to qualifying. We will think more about the Tottenham game when we all get together again on Friday. I am losing track of time - when you get older, that is what happens to you!

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Post by SamuelJayC Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:50 am

Rosicky rating too high. He was ok, played a great part in the goal, but overall he needs to do better when he starts.

As for Arshavin, this guy is getting on my nerves. Needs to improve quickly.

Chamakh had a good game, even if he didn't score.

AOC great player already, will be excellent in the future.

Song MOTM
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Post by MJ Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:19 pm

Chamberlain had a few inspired runs and then didn't impress too much. Obviously once he's more seasoned he'll be a top player. Rosicky had a few close near break away runs but played solidly. Ramsey too. Chamakh was down on luck. Arshavin seems lazy and either doesn't have the burst of pace he used to or the hunger and electricity. Song and Mertesacker performed admirably. Santos proved his worth whil Sagna had a bit of an off night but was still decent.

Thanks for posting the transcript btw!
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Post by Nishankly Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:07 pm

I saw the match.. My main thoughts -

1. Song was a beast.
2. Mertesacker looks slow but you can't beat him that easily.
3. Frimpong had an on off game. He won good tackles but lost on pace 1v1 many times .. And he has a bad habit of shirt pulling.

4. Ox - Great going forward, Very poor defending, Lost the ball often at defensive threatening positions .. It was his first match. Nerves would be there.

5. Chamakh - Should have scored. Did everything right in the game. Ox wouldnt have scored if Chamakh would not have put Melberg oftrack.

6. Arteta - Very good display, I thought he was going off when he jumped at that tackle while he was on a yellow, But fortunately that player stayed on his feet.

Good result for you guys. Smile
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Post by Guest Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:23 pm

Getting results... that's all that counts while we have injuries and until we hopefully get a player or two during the winter mercato. Could care less about how Arsenal looks aesthetically.

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Post by REWB Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:41 pm

Nishank wrote:I saw the match.. My main thoughts -

1. Song was a beast.
2. Mertesacker looks slow but you can't beat him that easily.
3. Frimpong had an on off game. He won good tackles but lost on pace 1v1 many times .. And he has a bad habit of shirt pulling.

4. Ox - Great going forward, Very poor defending, Lost the ball often at defensive threatening positions .. It was his first match. Nerves would be there.

5. Chamakh - Should have scored. Did everything right in the game. Ox wouldnt have scored if Chamakh would not have put Melberg oftrack.

6. Arteta - Very good display, I thought he was going off when he jumped at that tackle while he was on a yellow, But fortunately that player stayed on his feet.

Good result for you guys. Smile

this is why we were getting raped, ox is even poorer then arshavin defensively, thats amazing. he really needs to work on that. but part of the reason why he was poor defensively is because he was tired imo. i understand why wenger says he still needs to work with him.
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Post by RealGunner Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:51 pm

ynwa wrote:
RealGunner wrote:Arsenal are the 5th club to score 200 goals in the Champions League

Quite an achievement. Do you have the other 4? Thumbs up

Guessing Madrid, A.C, Ajax and... scratch I'll just go with us. Razz

I think its just the new CL format, since early 90's i believe ?

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