Who is really to blame for the Olympiacos goal on Thursday?

There has been a LOT of discussion about the goal scored by Olympiacos on Thursday night, with the blame mostly being laid on Ceballos, Leno, playing-from-the-back, etc, but in my opinion there is only one person to blame.

If you look at this video of the incident from Polsat, the goal actually started in the Olympiacos half, where Gabriel passed the ball to Granit Xhaka in the centre-circle, with nobody around him at all.

He had many choices to pass the ball forward or sideways to continue our attack, but he inexplicably takes too long to make up his mind and instead sends it back to Gabriel running towards Leno’s goal. Yes I have no idea why Leno was so far out from his line, but the ball should not have even been in his half!

Have a look yourself and see what you think?

53 Comments

  1. McLovin says:

    Leno, Ceballos, MA and Xhaka all share the blame. But can we now move on?

    1. PJ-SA says:

      Watching Chelsea play out from the back. From minute 1 since Tuchel arrived they’ve passed superbly well out from tbe back….why….a experienced manager and players that can actually do it properly. I guarantee if the players couldn’t do it, Tuchel wouldn’t tell them too!

      FYI….Mendy playing identical passes to the ones Leno plays only difference is it’s too outfield players that are good enough

  2. Reggie says:

    People who understand football have seen for years the negative style and lack of real ability that xhaka possesses. He has been at our club for 5 years and in that time has been involved season in season out, management in management out and he has been, inexplicably, part of our demise. The guy is a total fraud and while he is here and while our incompetent management cant see his problems, we will struggle.

    1. DNT says:

      You mean people that DO know what they are taliing about, not like Wegner, Emery, Arteta and even Mourinho? I have never been a huge fan of Xhaka, but in the last 6 months he has been decent. I really doubt 3 managers would rely on the same man so consistently at a crucial position if he was a “total fraud”.

      1. Reggie says:

        DNT and he is our rock, yes or no or he is maligned by most, yes or no. The names you mention have done what in the last 5 years in the league ? Yes manager have stuck by him but how has he repayed them and why are they gone? I dont get your logic.

        1. Reggie says:

          Plus we paid 36 mil for him 5 years ago, would we get 20 for him now and would a top six team buy him? My answer to that is no!

        2. DNT says:

          My point is you are calling him a fraud, when multiple proffessionals have stick with him season after season. Even big names like WeNGer and Mou, so they surely will know better than the regular fan, but you don’t provide any reputable name that “understands football” that says he is lacking the ability.

      2. ozziegunner says:

        DNT it would help if people could spell Arsenal’s longest serving manager’s name correctly. “Wenger”.

        1. Reggie says:

          Ha ha like it Ozzie.🤣

        2. DNT says:

          LOL, my bad.

  3. Highbury Hero says:

    He was closed down in 2 seconds. This was not Xhaka mistake.

  4. Declan says:

    Xhaka’s fault, really? Stretching things a bit far, why not blame Gabriel for passing to Xhaka? Sheesh, we will be having an assists chart for mistakes next.

    1. Reggie says:

      It wasn’t xhakas fault as such but he initiated it as he has before by playing the wrong ball, unnecessarily backwards, without any good reason. His play and knowledge of play puts us in trouble every game.

    2. RW1 says:

      That’s right everyone’s responsible so no ones responsible so let’s just continue our decent in to to mid table mediocrity by playing the likes of xhaka week in week out … pathetic

  5. gotanidea says:

    Leno. But Odegaard and Luiz would’ve been the culprits too, if Olympiakos attackers could capitalize on their mistakes

    Nonetheless, we should stop blaming any of them now. The coaches just need to set a guideline for our GKs/ defenders to prevent similar mistake and encourage them to keep playing from the back

    We surely don’t want Leno to give the ball away to Spuds’ CBs by doing a lot of long clearances. None of our forwards is dominant in aerial duels, so we have to keep building from the back like other elite teams

    1. PJ-SA says:

      Mendy playing identical passes to the one’s Leno plays to players under pressure

      Guess what the difference is?

      1. gotanidea says:

        Leno didn’t use his common sense when passing to Xhaka and Ceballos, but I bet he wouldn’t do that in the Spuds game

        1. PJ-SA says:

          I’ll ask the same question again. Mendy plays identical passes to that of Leno to players under a lot of pressure…what do you think the difference is as to why Chelsea can do it and we can’t?

          1. gotanidea says:

            Not identical. Ceballos was surrounded by two opponents within a very close distance

          2. PJ-SA says:

            Go watch the Chelsea game please,you’ll see sometimes 3 players pressing a Chelsea defender and he still gets and gives the ball quickly and effectively.

            Your bias is affecting your honesty

    2. Mobella says:

      Leno didn’t give neither ball away. I don’t get the witch-hunt against him. If you have to blame anyone he is our number one then blame the coach that chooses him over the villa goalie. He made the passes to the intended teammates that asked for the ball. Xhaka decided to be himself and Cebellose tried to dribble instead of giving a one-touch pass back to him.

  6. VAGunner says:

    Leno is mostly to blame. He was the one who could see Ceballos was trapped. the pass should have been either a clearance (safety) or out toLuiz (top of screen) whe na player is facing his own goal he a very retricted vision while the keeper can view all areas espeically directly in front of him. MA is also to blame because this is obviously a well practice move again showing our lack of creativity.

  7. Danny says:

    The manager needs to take some responsibility for these mistakes its him that encourages the players to do it and after being caught out and causing us to concede stupid goals he must surely realise it’s not working and stop this immediately to me there is no benefit of playing this way it’s just fraught with danger and just asking for trouble!

  8. Eddie says:

    This obsession and dislike for Xhaka is really something else. Really an article to somehow and eventually put the blame on Xhaka? Not the two culprits involved, but Xhaka? Jesus,this one is shocking, I know the dislike for Xhaka is top notch no matter what but even this one is just screaming something else. You need help

    1. jon fox says:

      EDDIE have you ever asked yourself WHY there is so much anti XHAKA comment and opinion on here, I wonder! On the narrow point of THIS particular goal you are of course right.

      BUT fans will naturally react against a man who constantly causes problems, makes mistakes and is a hothead. AND who is essentially a RUBBISH player at the level we need. His sheer slowness ofmind and body will not endear him to those who have seen such as SANTI, and proper talented, quick thinking, quick acting, players in our midfield.
      To have to put up with this clot almost every game is too much for most of us, me included, to bear. THAT is why Xhaka is unpopular and rightly so, IMO!

      1. Defund The Media says:

        “EDDIE have you ever asked yourself WHY there is so much anti XHAKA comment and opinion on here, I wonder”

        Jon why are they right about this but not about arteta? You cant use that in favour of your argument if you disregard it in another and label people as juveniles.

        1. jon fox says:

          You avoided the question though I see Eddie! Cunning!

          1. Defund The Media says:

            Just like you avoided my question jon lol and which you do on here rather frequently might I add.

          2. Eddie says:

            Urmmm Jon I’m just seeing your reply.. I am in no way Define The Media.
            Xhaka’s not my favorite player but then even you can’t deny he’s been solid since Arteta became manager. I’ll name you two players with more errors than Xhaka since Arteta became manager. Also would you explain why three different managers stuck with Xhaka? One Elite manager in Wenger, one European proven Manager in Emery, and a promising Manager in Arteta, have you guys thought about that if Xhaka’s really terrible?

    2. RSH says:

      Because he’s not very good. I agree he has little to do with this particular situation though.

    3. Reggie says:

      Eddie, do you really need to ask that question, it isnt for any other reason but for what people see and the negative he has brought to this team since the day he joined. Ask opposition fans what they think of him and most Pundits come to that.

  9. Dan kit says:

    Just watched it again a few times and Ceballos as every opportunity to play first time to Bellerin ,nothing Leno can do about that .
    I’ve seen Elneny come and play that ball 100s of times without fail but Ceballos and Xhaka cannot implement the same tactic ,not sure how anyone can blame Leno for the shortcomings of 2 highly payed professionals

    1. Henry Lwanga says:

      Brothers , a person who is not supposed to be in arsenal team is ceballos, i don’t know why he makes many touches on the ball yet he is not a play make of the team ,he doesn’t know when to release the pass ,in that situation u need to hàve one touch back to leno and space yourself even when we are attacking he takes long to release the pass waiting for the opponent’s to cover up and our strikers to go offside, he is not a premier league player, he is a slow league player, like Spain and Italy maybe he cannot be important to arsenal team, Aubameyang need a person who does things quickly cos he is ever on the last man ìf u delay to release the pass he will be offside, which makes him discouraged, thinking that he is playing with bogus players ,but xhaka sofar is our best midfielder even up than Thomas ,he knows how to read the game ,space himself, long passes, a few mistakes just as football must be ,BUT AM NOT SAYING THAT IS THE BEST MIDFIELDER WE NEED ,NO, WE NEED PARTY THERE AND AOUR TO REPLACE CEBALLOS THEN BRING HILLAND TO ATTACK WITH AUBAMEYANG, GOALS WILL HAVE TO COME

    2. Mobella says:

      Thank you Dan. I don’t know why people think that football is so difficult that a player can’t be passed to because a player or two is closing him down. That Cebellos situation is just receive and release simple especially when he asked for the ball but he decided to dribble, lost the ball and Leno get the blame. I have seen the Burnley goal over and over again and Xhaka was 200% responsible. He was 2 yards behind Burnley attacker when Leno received the pass from Mari and he ran passed him, call for the ball when he was ahead of him. His first touch was so bad that it took the ball to his right foot and into our 16 yard box. Then he looked up saw the attacker yet he made the pass thinking the guy is Casper and the ball we go through him.

    3. Fire says:

      Dan…

      I agree with you! I have also reviewed some of the recent mistakes made in our defensive area, particular those that have led either to or not to a goal, and I find it difficult to blame Leno.

      It is clear that modern football is drifting towards the concept of playing out from the back. However, without a good first touch and great ball control, then it becomes dangerous to adopt such a style.

      The mistakes made by Xhaka, Cebalos, and even Luiz were all down to poor first touches. On the flip side, in the same Burnley game, we all saw how a great first touch by Partey made it so much easier to bypass a press, which ultimately translated to a goal. It’s all about the emphasis on sublime control of the ball and the ability to protect and play the ball in tight spaces.

      Summarily, until we acquire real quality players with the natural ability to play in tight spaces, then such a scheme will always produce errors. Nevertheless, I hope such mistakes are avoided going forward.

      Wishing us all a great weekend! Please stay safe!

      Cheers!

  10. SueP says:

    It might be called negative by Xhaka to have made that pass but to blame him for the goal a few moves later is a bit far fetched. Why not blame Gabriel for passing it to Leno? Leno should have done much better

  11. Godswill says:

    When you have a son making the same mistake repeatedly under the watchful eyes of the father who do you blame?
    I BLAME ARTETA that doesn’t know that Leno has a weakness in ball distribution. The same mistake keeps repeating and yet nothing is done.
    We keep assisting teams. Annoying. Why can’t we allow teams to beat us through their effort?

  12. Sue says:

    Omg, does it really matter? We have a huge week coming up and we’re still harping on about Thursday and last Saturday!! Sorry but we can’t change what has happened. All I’m thinking of is picking up 3 points tomorrow and finishing Olympiacos off on Thursday.
    Come on boys, I’m right behind you!

    1. jon fox says:

      SUE YOU ARE OF COURSE RIGHT. But where would this site be without real, ahem, cough cough, “NEWS” like this!

      After all, this is called Just Arsenal News. Only the word Arsenal in that trilogy is accurate. It should be more accurately called Mostly Arsenal Opinions(MAO).

    2. Perry ames says:

      I blame ozil and anyone else who wasn’t involved in it but in all honesty I couldn’t care less now as the game is over and while I understand everyone’s frustration it wont change anything and we will continue to do the same thing week in week out. I just hope we dont drop a bollock tomorrow against spuds
      2-1 to the arsenal

    3. Joe. S says:

      Due it does matter. This guy will be playing again today, and then again and again. When will it end?

      1. Joe. S says:

        Sorry Sue!

        1. Sue says:

          Joe, all I meant was as far as those 2 games go, they’re water under the bridge. I’m looking ahead…
          I think only MA can answer your question as he clearly sees something in him that we can’t!
          However, if something similar occurs tomorrow, I can assure you I won’t be feeling as charitable!!

          1. Joe. S says:

            Good point 👍 Sue.

  13. jon fox says:

    “XHAKA “inexplicably” takes too long too make up his mind.”

    Ad Pat, surely for “inexplicably,” you meant “typically”!

    Not really Xhakas fault for the goal, BUT it cannot be denied that had he had the ability and desire to pass it forward and not back – not without TYPICALLY taking half an hour to make up his snail slow mind – then Leno would not have had the ball that time.

    LENOS FAULT FOR THE GOAL but without Xhaka at the club at all, we would make far fewer mistakes. Is that not nearer the whole truth!

  14. Jo-Gunz says:

    Most importantly, we won by 3 goals to 1

  15. RogerMoore says:

    Not sure why some fans take time to read football websites and then criticize them for analysing the game. You can do other things…

    Anyway, appreciate this look at the match. I had totally missed Xhaka’s hesitation in thought, even with Ceballos pointing to where the ball should go. The mistakes are happening in EVERY match, from different players.
    It’s like they can’t smell danger… Covid side effect? 😀

  16. Simeon says:

    The selling of a lucky goalkeeper,Martiness to Aston villa caused the whole problem we are facing at arsenal.Only a wicked coach would have done what arteta and Edu did to sell their best goalkeeper and keep an inexperienced leno.

  17. Joe Allysons says:

    Which are these many passing options? Looking at it, he has Ceballos coming, but being closed down hard, and Willian who’s passing lane is cut. What other clear passing option is there?

  18. Joe. S says:

    Watched the first half of Leeds vs Chelsea last night.. Boring game without the fans, but it struck me that Leeds don’t even know what a back pass is. They are always looking forward. Looking back at the above clip, it’s clear there was no reason for Xhaka to pass it back he had acres of space in front of him. A terribly negative player, but perhaps he is only a reflection of his manager’s negativity.

  19. Sue says:

    It will be criminal if a b*****k is dropped tomorrow, Perry!!
    You were bang on with Thursday’s result, so….. 🤞

  20. Bad Ebening says:

    Against burnley, Xhaka because he wasn’t under pressure and still he made the error.
    Against olympiacos? Leno. Ceballos was surrounded by at least two opposition players and Leno played the pass to him

  21. Zizzyboy says:

    Bla bla bla , when Xhaka had the ball he passed back cause there was no forward pass to be made to the left of him ,Willian was to far forward and no left back returning to give Xhaka options,

    End of my opinion, he looked up, had no options from that point, when Leno ended with the ball he should of gone over the top or to Bellerin,

    It did not go that way, but the players need the triangle of options, who ever has the ball must have 2 options to pass too at all times, it’s the law of Pep

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