Arsenal eliminated from the Europa League as Olympiacos win 2-1
So much was expected from the team that Mikel Arteta put out but sadly, there was very little from them in the first 45 minutes, in fact, neither team showed much in the first period.
The fact that both teams registered just one shot apiece in the first half tells you all you needed to know, to say there was a lack of urgency is an understatement.
Arsenal’s passing was poor, judgement on the ball was poor, in particular from Nicolas Pepe who was very frustrating, one minute he is going on dazzling runs but absolutely nothing at the end.
Alexandre Lacazette did grab a goal but it was rightfully ruled offside, Shkodran Mustafi was immense, again, Bukayo Saka was impressive to some degree and Mesut Ozil did try to get things going but overall, the first half was one to forget.
Hopefully, the second half would be better.
Well, that was soon a no from Arsenal, they never started brightly and kind of just picked up from where the left off in the first half, it was just far too casual.
It had to happen, didn’t it? Olympiacos took the lead and wiped out the away goal advantage on the 53rd minute when Pape Abou Cisse, left to his own devices, scored with a header from a corner.
Now, it was truly game on and the last thing Arsenal could afford now was another goal conceded.
Olympiacos was growing in confidence but Arsenal still had control of possession, the problem was there was still no urgency. Dani Ceballos for example when he got the ball was looking for runs and movement from the forwards, there was none.
Arsenal needed a hero, a game-changer but at this point, it was hard to see who that would be.
Pepe tried but got nowhere and Lacazette had a good chance but came up short, a pattern was starting to develop here. But Arsenal was starting to lay siege to the Olympiacos goal.
Mustafi, of course, made a crucial last-ditch interception to deny Olympiacos who showed they were still very much in the game and dangerous on the counter.
The game limped to the inevitable extra time and truth be told, Olympiacos did look as likely to score as Arsenal did.
At least with extra time it gave Arteta the opportunity to read the riot act because someone needed to, this was not the best 90 minutes from the home side in quite a while and that is saying something.
The first period of extra time was more of the same, Arsenal had the majority of possession but created no real clear cut chances while Olympiacos continued to look very dangerous when they had the opportunity to go forward and probably had the best chance.
The highlight of the first period of extra time was probably Mustafi getting a standing ovation when he went off injured to be replaced by Sokratis.
The second period of extra time finally brought Arsenal their hero and it was obvious who it would be, Mr Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
It was a beautiful scissor kick inside the Olympiacos penalty area and the celebrations, especially from Arteta was a wonderful sight.
The question now was, would Arsenal hold out?
The answer was no as Olympiacos scored the all-important second goal and drew level.
Aubameyang had a golden opportunity to send Arsenal through in injury time but he shot wide and Arsenal was out.