More Arsenal mistakes but deserved victory all the same

Arsenal have earned an emphatic 3-1 victory in Greece to give them one foot in the next round of the competition, but Olympiacos goal will haunt us.

The Gunners started the game in top gear, piling forward in numbers and were putting our rivals under constant pressure.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang forced goalkeeper Sa into an amazing stop from close range, before Martin Odegaard also missed a clearcut opportunity to put our side ahead.

The game slowed down a little as we looked to take more time in the build-up, and after 34 minutes we had our lead.

It was some goal as well, Martin Odegaard picks up the ball just outside the box and gets it onto his left boot before blasting it home.

We were well deserving of taking a lead into the break, and it would have been tough to deal with if we hadn’t.

We came out in the second-half in control also, but with ‘Arsenal being Arsenal’ of late, we began to give the ball away in defence.

David Luiz gifts our rivals the ball inside our own penalty box, but luckily their forward puts it beyond the far post, but another costly error allows them to level.

Bernd Leno once again finds a pass to a midfielder (Ceballos not Xhaka this time around), but he is surrounded by Olympiacos players, and El-Arabi takes one touch away from the midfielder before shooting from distance, with all of our players out of position of course.

The team did pick themselves up after this however. The focus was returned, but we struggled for many clearcut chances in the mean time.

That was until we had some corners back-to-back, and Willian was given the ball from the short-corner while the players manoeuvred themselves into space, and the Brazilian midfielder found his international counterpart Gabriel who leaps high to head home.

The Greek side tried to open up and get back into the game, and five minutes later it was Arsenal who found the net again.

Substitute Mo Elneny picked up the ball in midfield, and while his opponents moved off him he steps up to shoot from long-range, and his curling shot moves away from the goalkeeper and into the net.

3-1 was very much a deserved scoreline for Arsenal on that performance, but these errors simply have to stop.

You can find lots of the key moments in our Arsenal Videos section including the goals.


Tags Olympiacos


  1. Leno shouldn’t have passed to Ceballos who was surrounded by two opponents and I’m worried he’d make another bad decision in the NLD. Partey was dispossessed two times and Elneny showed Partey how to shoot outside the penalty box, but maybe Partey was unfit

    The great header by Gabriel uplifted the team’s spirit and everybody did a good job to win the game, despite some brain farts. My MOTM is Odegaard for scoring the opening goal and for working so hard to intercept/ press up high the pitch

    1. Yes, Odegaard was my MOTM too. Not because of the goal but because of his willingness to show up for the ball, try to make thing happen, very calm and silky too.
      That boy is a talent. In a better team like City or back to Madrid he will shine. Such an entertaining player to watch.

      And our Smith-Rowe also looks very silky and talented. He is more of a quick give and go. Rosicky type.
      Both Odegaard and ESR together given time would be a sight to behold, together with Saka.

      Would be close to Cesc, Rosicky and Nasri combo.

      1. Midfield and the attack did ok today. team need to cut out the silly mistakes at the back. it is going to cost us big time.

    2. All i see it “Don’t pass to a player under pressure”

      You guys do know thats the whole point of playing out from the back right? Pass to someone thats marked and they pass it on immediately effectively removing 2-4 of the opposition from the current passage of play

      The fact that we do it when the players skill levels aren’t good enough is on MA and no-one else

      The whole concept revolves around being under pressure. You criticise when you don’t even under the tactic….GAI for someone that preaches tactics non stop you should know this.

      1. A lot of teams do it, including Leeds. I don’t think Ceballos of all people is incapable of playing that way.. it’s a mental thing imo, complacency

          1. Villarreal had a good 2-0 win and missed another three good chances away to Dynamo Kiev, at a difficult venue with home supporters.
            I agree with gotanidea, Villerreal are a club to avoid until the final stages.

  2. As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and Arsenal just keep repeating these defensive mistakes to give their opposition an easy goal. We just love making things hard for ourselves yea…

    Thankfully Gabriel scored the second goal and Elneny got the third.

    Two goals from outside the box and a good header… we should be shooting more esp when the opponents are defending tight.

    Good advantage going into the second leg..

    Spurs next…. and Leno please know when to pass the ball to your team mate and when to just hit it long. Thank you

    1. Leno the Legend! Just like the past ones – Petr Chech, Manuel Almunia, Victor Manone, Fabiansky. Need Matt in the goal against Spurs.

  3. Great comeback after the error!
    A win in the blue kit – maybe it isn’t cursed after all!!! 3 excellent goals. Dominated for long periods, they just had to throw a heart in mouth moment in there, didn’t they?!
    3 away goals… just the job!
    Well done fellas!! And well done, Perry you said 3-1! Fancy helping me predict tomorrow? 😂

  4. Leno not reading the game well. He seems to put players under pressure whith those passes happened to Xhaka now Ceballos. Good response from the lads.

    1. Leno has to be dropped for his silly passes putting players under pressure. Sorry he has to take responsibility. And we got rid of a cracker keeper for him!!!!!

      1. This leno will never learn again you can’t keep repeating the same mistake over n over again and you wanna call your self a top keeper arteta please do the right thing drop this guy he is costing us alot.

    2. Leno is not the type of keeper that is comfortable with the ball. He always waits until there are opponents surrounding his teammate then passes the ball to them.
      And he makes it so obvious to who he’s going tk pass the ball to, the opponent just run onto it.

      Not another Martinez cringe citation, but, Martinez is the better all round keeper, he is so good with his feet, can do long accurate passes / quick counter throws, cross-field passes etc.. He seems a bit more intelligent than out Leno. If we want to play from the back then we need a keeper that is suited to it.

      Jus saying.

      1. Since Leno’s passes are reaching their target what else do you expect him to do? Ceballos ask for it he try to dribble pass a player but he failed how is that not Ceballos fault?

        1. Leno passed to Cellabos, when he was surrounded by 4 opponents. It was a poor option by Leno to pass to a player under pressure.

          1. Same happened in last match as well when he passed to Xhaka. For me Leno and Luiz are like pile of gunpowder which can catch fire any time. On their day they are brilliant but then they make such match changing mistakes that also too often. I don’t feel confident with Leno in goal like I used to feel with Martinez. We need new keeper in summer.

          2. PJ-SA, I understand the tactic; if Cellabos controls the ball and plays it forward, he takes 4 defenders out of play. The issue is the tactic employed by Leno was high risk, because Cellabos had just come onto the field. It was virtually his first touch.
            Leno’s judgement was poor.

        2. @Geo
          But that’s what they call being experienced and mature. You need to gauge the situation even if your teammate is asking for the ball.
          You weigh the cons and pros before you accept your teammates request.
          That’s what they call using ones maturity and experience.

          It’s called game management. For example, if you are winning 1-0 with 2 minutes left and have a corner, you try to keep the ball in your opposition corner as long as possble even if your teammates calls for you to cross it into the box. Get as many fouls, throw in and free kicks just to waste time. No need to cross the ball into the penalty box. A mature intelligent/ experienced player will try to keep the ball in the corner to waste as much time as possible.

          You have to gauge each situation individually. Vary your distribution as a keeper. But being a predictable one trick pony becomes easy for your opponent to learn.

          That’s my opinion of course.

    3. Leno’s errors are significantly devastating. He is being making the same mistake in almost every game. Most of the goals the team concedes is because of his errors. I wonder why he is not kept on the bench sometimes. He needs to ready the game and stop putting players into unnecessary pressure.

  5. Good win at the end.

    The harsh truth is, we were lucky again today and any half decent would have dealt with us. I didn’t like what I saw and I also don’t like the fact that I am still not confident despite the three away goals,this is Arsenal.

    Massive improvement is needed if we wanna win this tournament

  6. Let’s not kid ourselves ,we got lucky again against a really poor team ,as are all the teams in this competition until you hit the last 8.
    Arteta was about to bring on Elneny when the score was even ,to play out a draw ?because you don’t bring him on to push for a winner .
    Again I’m not sure why we are given minutes to 2 Real Madrid rejects ,when we have fit and able players waiting in the wings ,which brings me into Martinelli ,what’s going on with this kid ?im stumped to how he is not even getting on let alone starting .
    The good points ..
    Luiz easy MOTM and once again it was obvious to me that him and Gabriel are our 2 best CBS ,all the back line had a good game except form the silly passing out the back again ,best play came down the right tonight .

    1. Don’t agree at all, we dominated the game from start to finish that too an away game. They scored because of a School boy error again from our keeper. We played nice quick passing football and were in complete control. Martin Ordegard is not a a reject so you are wrong there again. Agree with why Martenelli is not getting time on the pitch when he is fit and seems to make it to bench, definitely worrying signs. I don’t think Luiz should be our first choice either, he is old and slow in top of that too error prone. He made a big mistake today as well, he was just lucky the dude did not score. I prefer holding or bring Saliba back as they both are young and rearly make match defining mistakes like Luiz.

  7. The usual Arsenal rollercoaster ride but a deserved win in the end.
    There are times to play out from the back and there are times to boot it and Leno needs to react more quickly to those situations

      1. That’d be unlikely since Spuds’ forwards are so good in pressing up high the pitch. I hope Arteta fixes Leno before that, as what he’s done to Pepe

        1. Yeah! A few repeatations of realtime situations with defenders being heavily pressured.. I think this will help figure out new tactics or atleast those who would be reliable in such situations.

    1. I said that two matches ago Sue and was crucified for saying to boot it long at times. booting it long when good passing option is limited is not a sin.

      1. Leno was doing that earlier in the season, when things started to turn around. I don’t understand why he’s reverted to “always pass it short”. It’s a good way to occasionally surprise them and bypass a press, I’d have thought (needs to be a good long ball though)

        1. I think you may have answered your question since he used to do it and stopped something must have happened like being told by the manager,last night when asked about those mistskes MA said he was responsible since he is the one asking them to play that way.

  8. Got the result. Passable performance. So I’ll let that be that and move on to Spurs. Thank goodness the players were in the mood to take some long shots today!

  9. COYG

    We played with 9 men against 11 Olympiacos’. Aubameyang and William were not in the team at all.

    I do not blame Ceballous for the equaliser, the fault was Leno’s once again. He had Bellerin out wide, instead he left post open and then decided to play dangerous pass into the middle.

    Odegaard is good with his feet, but there is something special about Emily Smith Rowe’s playmaking. If only he can stay injury free!

    Good away win at the end of the day❤

    1. If we see Aubameyang’s heatmap and his pressing in the game, he chased the opponents all over the pitch. Willian made an assist, won some aerial duels and he was also taking on players to cut inside

      1. Heatmap doesn’t tell the whole story – I watched the match. Aubameyang was all over the place, just as you said.

        William? Yes he did, but not good enough.

    2. That’s a cracking spelling mistake for ESR – most probably predictive text and it was a great win

      1. Suep, it was really a great win. And I can’t see Olympiacos coming back upset us after this, like they did previously.

        The spelling error was me 100%, as I cared little about it than trying to make my point. I knew it was easy to recognize who I was describing.

    3. we also forgot that luiz nearly gifted olympiacos one as well. too many unforced errors at the back that are gifting the opposition chances. if it was a top team we were playing we would be slaughtered with the poor decisions in defense.

  10. Nice to see us get 2 goals with shots from distance rather than trying to score the perfect goal all the time. Also you don’t have to play out from the back all the time, sometimes a boot up the field from the keeper is the right thing to do, even Man City do that sometimes.

  11. Let’s not kid ourselves indeed. To be honest there are only four or five decent teams remaining ,us the Spuds, Roma and the winner of the AC Milan vs Man. U. game. We’ll probably meet one of those teams next, which should define Arsenal’s season.

      1. 👍 Ajax, with a great history in Europe and Villarreal managed by a three time winner of the Europa League.

  12. Good win after a somewhat insipid performance. I thought MA might give Chambers a go here but HB was fine, just his crosses were kinda ineffective. Same with KT. Our FBs need to start practicing lol. Another goddamn mistake!! I think MA should run simulations of these situations on the playing field again and again(I think he does do it but we always make a mistake now it seems!)
    Great goals by Martin(slightly fortuitous), Gabriel and Mo. Nice lead to take home.

  13. Odegard is a special kid. Cant wait to see him patner partey nd smith rowe n midfield. It will like inieste, xavi, keita

  14. I seem to be in the minority, but I thoght we were atrocious tonight. Very lucky win against a poor side who were frightened of us. So many errors, and almost all of them involved players passing backwards instead of forwards – Odegaards, Luiz, Ceballos, Leno. IMO only one plyer comes out with credit – Gabriel, who was immense, even discounting the goal. Low marks for eveyone else, but lowest of all for Arteta, because its impossible to believe that so many players could play so negatively without being told to. Hasnt he realised yet that to play well this team has to play a fast, positive tempo and just go for it? When we don’t we are awful. And bring ESR and Pepe on suddenly gave us positivity and made the game safe. He gave them EIGHT MINUTES. pOOR GAME Mikel, but you were lucky tonight.

    1. I saw it the same way Guy. Second straight game that we came out flat as a pancake for the second half. Worrisome. I did like the way we played once ESR, Ceballos and Elneny were on though. Much quicker moving the ball compared to Partey, Odegaard (who was still good) and Willian.

      1. Hey Trudeau (;-))
        Willian has such bad body language he depresses me even when he has a good game. Partey is certainly not yet the player we thought we had bought. He seems to be so easily disposessed. Odegaard has talent but he’s too cautious – not sure if he’s acclimatising or been told to play safe. Ceballos needs to play further foward. He can unlock teams but he’s a liability as a DM.

          1. Me too Guy- I was not that impressed at all with most of that performance. We dominated the first half, as at Burnley, but only having a one goal advantage may always come back on us, just as at Burnley. We then gift an equaliser, just as at Burnley, and spend most of the second half looking unimaginative, lethargic and half asleep, just as at Burnley, before waking up in the last 10-15 minutes, just as at Burnley.
            The difference tonight was we actually scored late on.
            Arteta now has the NLD.He has played in enough of these games to know that there will be no excuses for not winning. Anything other than 3 points will not be acceptable

    2. On the mark with that verdict…this game was so Wenger 2017…lots of possession with no sense of purpose whatsoever…how can you not get Auba on the ball more with Sokratis on that side all night…just imagine what odds you get in Vegas for us scoring two goals from out side the box and getting a header of a set piece in the same game…we definitely should have won as they made Benfica look like an offensive juggernaut, but it certainly wasn’t “deserved”…let’s remember they should have scored for fun on that atrocious Luiz giveaway…they had only manufactured 1 shot on net, yet they should have had 2 goals…miss you EMI!!!

    3. I agree with you, we were poor, static and playing backwards at snail speed. The only player that gives us a consistent above average performance every game is Tierney and Saka. The rest are full of up and down. Partey was so poor today as was Auba. We were lucky to win. We gave them 3 goals but they only scored one. If we try that against Spurs, we’re done. I don’t know what they are doing in training, at this point I will have to question the manager, he’s been here long enough, everytime he comes out to say we need to stop giving gifts only to give even more in the next match. Leno is to a great extent the reason for the defensive errors. City got rid of Hart who was a great shot stopper for that reason. If we must continue playing out of the back, Leno must be replaced.

  15. That 3rd goal was absolutely huge in the context of the tie and potentially our season!

    Confidence booster ahead of NLD and possibly rest a few players in 2nd leg (can bring on 5 subs to turn things around if needed). That should mean a relatively fresh and confident team to take on West Ham!

  16. I’ll still pick ESR over Odegaard at the moment to be honest. He provides much more to our overall game. Great comeback.

    1. Agree Twig. He’s all over the front line, he harasses and cretes overloads everywhere, and he makes things happen. Odergaard has pretty feet but he is playing too negatvely at the moment. I really hope he is given license to take more chances.

  17. Hahahaha
    he reveal our secret to them (passing ball in opposition’s 28 yard)
    So then, we changed pattern and scored outside 18 yard.

  18. Re u kidding? Odegaard was d man of this match. He was d only one trying to make things happen today

  19. It appears I am in the minority in believing that Odegaard was NOT very good today. To me he looked and played like a poor imitation of Guendouzi. He ran around a lot, but many of his passes were too soft or misplaced. He is still lightweight in my opinion. He made himself available because that is what Arteta told him to do. My biggest concern is the way Arteta is playing ESR. He has him stuck out on the wing to accommodate the big O, when I think he should be playing him in the middle. Under the current structure Odegaard will always see more of the ball than ESR. I have stuck with Arteta so far, but I am beginning to doubt him! I will wait until seasons end before my final appraisal, but I fear Arsenal will not be playing in Europe next season for the first time in 25 years.

    1. Agree on both calls JW. I thought it could work because I rated MO highly and knew ESR can play wide. Problem is if you put him there it doesnt allow him to drift across the frontline. He becomes predictable, less mobile or effective. But Odegaard can’t play wide, hes not quick enough. As it stands Odegaard is not positive enough in the middle. He CAN do iy but he doesnt do it often enough. Most of the game he plays like Willian. So I was wrong. Only play one at a time, and if fit it has to be ESR because he pulls defences all over the place. Im having Arteta doubts too JW, because in such an important game he is missing very obvious things. He came up with a great line up, tempo and tactic and then discarded it as if he didn’t even realise how good it was.

  20. We deserved to win after giving Olympiacos our customary gift goal. We played well at times and Gabriel scored a dominating headed goal. That’s what we need….to dominate assertively. Leno is dodgy too many times. Ceballos looks a little lost. Willian was OK, but he has little strength. Tierney, Gabriel, Saka and ESR are the future of our great club. Arteta, to me, makes some strange team decisions. Any one else think the same.

    1. Correct for me on all counts Sean. But for me, except in the last few minutes when ESR and Pepe came on, we didn’t play well, but rather Olympiakos were poor and gave us respect our performance didn’t warrant.

  21. Lots of negatives, which we will skip tonight and be positive because the result was brilliant and we look like the tie is all but over. Brilliant result!

    1. Elneny saves his best moments for Europe!! And look at our goals, Reggie – 2 from outside the box – very uncharacteristic 😄 Brilliant!!

  22. I might have missed the final score
    line but didn’t Arsenal win and
    somewhat comfortably?

    Odegard sucks, ESR is better, Xhaka
    blows, Leno can’t hold EM’s jock.

    Honesty do you supposed Arsenal
    fans on this site actually care if
    the club wins or rather bitch and
    moan about what could of or
    should of been?

    We played a difficult fixture in
    Greece and won COMFORTABLY.

    WTF do you supposed fans actually

    1. ACE, yes we won and yes we were the better team. When we play well and lose I am pretty upbeat and only want to talk about the positve things.
      But in my opinion we played poorly and could have just as easily lost.
      In answer to your question. This “supposed” fan would “f***g like” to win in style. Second choice is to lose in style. Third is to win poorly, which is what I saw tonight, and whilst relieved we won, I enjoyed the goals but squirmed at the performance. I had enough of winning poorly under Emery thank you!

  23. Great win, marred only by sloppy individual errors, not tactical ones, as I eluded to before the game. Very happy though, as we are now pretty much through to the next round.

    Cannot wait until Arteta gets another transfer window under his belt.

  24. In every code of football there are two maxims that every player has drilled into them from a young age:
    1. Do not pass to a team mate in a worse position than yourself, ie don’t put your player under pressure; and
    2. Do not play the ball across your own goal mouth.
    Leno has to kick long, when that is the safest option.
    Arsenal under Arteta appears to not follow these maxims, with an approach of don’t think, play out from the back regardless!
    The positives from the game were:
    1. The dead ball coach is having a positive effect with another great headed goal (Gabriel) from a corner;
    2. Two goals resulted from midfielders shooting from outside of the box. More please; and
    3. Three away goals away from home in the first leg.
    Cynical cyclical fouling of Saka is becoming too prevalent in Arsenal games, without referees taking action.
    I am concerned about the impact of this targeting of a young developing player. Arsenal needs to protect Saka and so do officials with all such players.

  25. Had to wake up my son who was snoring besides me, just in time for the Gabrielle goal. Don’t kid ourselves. Elneny was brought on to save the draw. It was Smith Rowe who got things moving again. As good as the goal was Odergaard had run out of ideas and going sideways. I think he and ESR could make a good pairing but that would man dropping Xhaka. Arteta would never have the guts to try it.

  26. So Guy, you would rather lose in style than win poorly? Can’t take you all seriously anymore.

    1. I men VERY poorly Oko, and I’m talking about patterns, not one off matches. With a run of good displays, regardless of the result, I have hope for the future. With a run of very poor displays, even if we somehow get a result, I can see the wheels coming off, and dispair for the future. In Emer’y’s first season we had a long unbeaten run, but we were performing worse and worse. The performance issues were largely forgiven over that period by fans because of the results. Then we imploded and the rest is history.

  27. Leno is a good passer. He didn’t make a mistake, he did what he was supposed to do. Playing from the back means you pass to a player under pressure so he can in one touch pass it to an open player thus cancelling some opposition players and openning space. Xhaka and Caballos were supposed to be an hinge immediately passing to the flank, but stupidly they kepy the ball and lost the passing opportunity. Leno was ok and did what he was supposed to.

    1. Cebalos has that opportunity Xhaka didn’t. Cebalos was more at fault than Xhaka was. If you analyze the 2 mistakes, I’ll blame ceballos totally for yesterday goal, he don’t need to dribble, NE only had to pass with one touch either back to Leno or Bellerin wherea Xhaka only had Leno to pass to in the bullet game

      1. Ceballos shouldnt be allowed to play as a DM Ada – he tries too many tricks. Im happy with him further forward, but another miscalculation by MA in my opinion

  28. The result was far better than the performance.Leno may be a good shotstopper, but every team in Europe will now be aware of his shortcomings with the ball at his feet.The time has come for Arteta to recognise that we simply do not have the players with the ball skills nor the confidence to play out from the back and he should revert to a more practical approach aimed at cutting out the mistakes which may well cost us the Europa Cup.While I have been fully aware of the benefits of this tactic since it became the norm at Barcelona about a decade ago, it is a high risk policy which does not suit many sides of the truth be told.With centre backs instructed to drift out wide to make space and create angles, all it needs is one mistake from the GK or the receptive player and the opposition is immediately through on goal.Luis was very lucky last night when his appalling , schoolboy type error went unpunished, yet someone suggested he was our best player?.On a brighter note, Gabriel did very well and his fury with Leno and the hapless Ceballos was a joy to behold.We need defenders with this tough no nonsense attitude which Gabriel and Holding both have.I hope Arteta realizes that tactics have to suit the capabilities of the players available to him at Arsenal, not those that surrounded him at Man City.I remain an Arteta fan, but if he does not learn from the Burnley match and last night he will go down in my estimation.

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