Match Report: Olympiakos 3-1 Arsenal

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Arsene Wenger’s 200th European game as a manager saw the Frenchman make nine changes from the team which beat Wigan. Only Thomas Vermaelen and Andre Santos kept their places as many of the big guns put their feet up back in London. What they watched in the first 45 minutes was something of a horror show.

Olympiakos raced out of the traps. Needing a win to stand a chance of qualification, they hunted in packs and cranked up the pressure on young trio Emmanuel Frimpong, Francis Coquelin and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. The youngsters battled hard, but were hardly helped out by some lacklustre performances from their more experienced teammates.

Arshavin and Chamakh had a couple of chances, before Frimpong hit the side netting with a good-looking drive from the edge of the area. The home side though continued to press high up the pitch and eventually the constant harassing paid dividends.

Taking advantage of a defensive mix-up between Squillaci and Djourou, Olympiakos striker Djebbour pounced on a loose ball in the area, nipped around Fabianski and slotted home calmly. It didn’t get much better for the Gunners at the back.

A poor back pass by Vermaelen saw Fabianski forced into a rushed clearance which was immediately returned goalwards. Only the trajectory of the ball saved the Pole’s blushes. It got worse for the luckless goalkeeper. Involved in a collision in the box seconds later he was forced from the field of play with a knee injury and replaced by Vito Mannone.

Fabianski wasn’t the only one in the wars. Francis Coquelin did his best platoon impression after a clash of legs with an opponent. After quite some time rolling around like a fish out of water he finally returned to the midfield. It was something of an Eboue moment from the young Frenchman. That his teammates showed little concern despite the histrionics, suggested they’d seen it all before.

Inside ten minutes of coming on Mannone ended his Arsenal career. Frimpong lost the ball in midfield, the Italian came out of his area, bravely headed the ball clear only for David Fuster to shoot again. Rather than catch the bloody ball, which was pretty much straight at him, he seemed to try and ninja-kick it clear. He missed and watched the ball dribble into the net. It was so farcical I actually let out a little laugh. Not even an 8-year-old would have done it.

Despite being on top the Greeks didn’t slow up the pace of the game. While Frimpong and Coquelin battled, the lack of support from Benayoun, Arshavin and Chamakh meant the midfield were given few options when attempting to move up the pitch. The half-time whistle came as a welcome relief.

A minute after the re-start and a poor header by Santos allowed Olympiakos a chance to get a third, thankfully Mannone got down at his near post and got his body in the way. Olaf Mellberg clipped the bar from the resulting header before Santos went off with a knock and was replaced by Ignasi Miquel.

Out of the blue Yossi Benayoun got a goal back. A cross by Ignasi Miquel found Chamakh who chested it back to the Israeli who lashed home a volley. It was a lovely finish and with a glass of wine in me I coined this little ditty: “Boom, shake, shake, shake the room…Ben, Ben, Ben a Youuuuuun.” I’ll be collecting royalties on Saturday.

Mannone immediately freaked out at the prospect of Arsenal mounting a comeback and tried to give the Greeks another goal. In fairness to the Italian, Squillaci was hardly a calming influence in the box as a cross came in and the two of them left the ball for an advancing striker.

By the hour mark fatigue was starting to take its toll on the Olympiakos pressing game and the game slowed dramatically. Coquelin was replaced by Rosicky before a scrappy five minutes of lofted balls into the Arsenal box. Arsene looked very frustrated on the touchline.

Great interplay between Benayoun and the Czech substitute nearly resulted in an equaliser for the Gunners and with ten minutes to go you sensed an unlikely draw could be snatched despite an insipid display from Arshavin. Yes we were horribly open at the back, but Chamberlain looked determined to make something happen on his own and Vermaelen was rampaging forward like a bull.

Two minutes to go and that hope evaporated. After two silly fouls by Frimpong the ball was swung into the box, headed against Mannone’s post and the rebound bundled in. I’ve no idea who scored it – someone in red and white. We though were playing in blue.

Olympiakos thought at 3-1 they were going through in second place. Amazingly in Dortmund, Marseille were in the process of scoring twice in five minutes to battle back from 2-1 down to 3-2 up. The atmosphere in Greece died, the French champions joining the Gunners in the knockout stages as the referee blew the whistle.

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Mooro

Pray with everything you have that SZCZ never ever gets injured.

MJB

Isn’t it time to invest in a back up stopper as well as another striker?

Just a thought.

Steve

We have younger ‘keepers who are better than Fabianski and Mannone now but they are still fairly young. Might be worth having them deputise anyway though to get a feel for the standard of the EPL.

Witoldo

Don’t we still have the ever-reliable Almunia?

Steve

I don’t know whether to take this with a pinch of salt or throw you into the salt bowl…

MJO

We need to ditch Djourou (always looks out of position), Arshavin (no heart), Scillachi (not good enough) and Fabianski (a rabbit in the headlights). Chamakh (got him for free, give him a few more games).

Frimpong, Chamberlain and Cochlain into the first team ASAP. Miguel looks almost ready and is above Djourou now IMO.

If RvP, Verminator and SCZ get injured expect a similar end of season run in of disappointment.

That is all.

AR

The mindset just didn’t seem right from the start and the lads looked nervous for the most part but the result doesn’t matter and I think some of them tried too hard to make an impression unlike in the CC where we played without fear. A great goal by Yossi though and Rosicky added a little spark towards the end but another poor game from Arshavin which is so frustrating. I know people criticize Chamakh a lot but the guy at least tries even though his footballing skills seem to have disappeared, with Arshavin he’s just stopped trying as well!… Read more »

SmokingGunner

Maybe if we combine the two we would have someone as backup to the ox.

Steve

I couldn’t understand the substituition of Rosicky for Coquelin. Rosicky for Arshavin would have made much more sense defensively, especially if we were trying to go for the draw.
On another note, what was Coquelin thinking when he flailed around like a caught fish stuck on a boat??? Ridiculous over-reaction considering he got up and was fine to run around about 2 minutes later.

jay

Can’t help but feel dissappointed after that performance, but couldn’t resist a smirk at the end when Marseille qualified instead. That shut them up didn’t it?
They beat what was basically a 9 man team.. Arshavin & Chamakh forgot to turn up.

PLEASE GOD LET SANTOS BE OKAY.

Plev

Why oh why did Arsene play Santos and Vermaelen?!?!? Santos has played an awful lot lately and I don’t think we should be risking our best defender (TV5) with a recent injury history.. I feared the worst from the start and surprise surprise, one of them got injured. Lets hope Santos just has a knock and didn’t do his ankle, otherwise Vermaelen has to play left back with some big games coming up. Surely Miquel and Yennaris couldn’t have been worse than Squillaci in this game.. Bad performance from the team today. Our keepers go all Basil Fawlty on us… Read more »

Steve

It was for game time but has backfired.
Santos struggles to finish 90 minutes without looking like his lungs are about to fly out of his chest, so getting game time is a good way of improving stamina and Vermaelen because he’s coming back from injury and didn’t have a pre-season, so needs to continue gaining match fitness.

gooneriffic

i swear fabianski and that arseface mannone must leave in january! FUCK THEM. WE NEED A MASSIVE CLEANSING OF THE SQUAD – FUHRER STYLE- SQUILLACI, ARSHAVIN, CHAMAKH, MANNONE AND FABIANSKI MUST FUCKING GOOOOOOOOOOOO. So pissed off, sure we won the group but that was a fucking pain to watch!

ps. first.

garyfootscrayaustralia

My thumbs down was for the Fuhrer related comment. I’m sure Yossi would agree.

gooneriffic

I agree it was out of line, but seriously the defending was atrocious. Also I’ve had one pint too many. My apologies blog!

garyfootscrayaustralia

no worries gooneriffic. We all slip up on occasion. Unfortunately Mr. Chamakh seems to be doing that on a fortnightly basis at the moment. Time for him to lay off the booze, the smokes, and the nightclub girlies.

Highbury

Führer means manager in german.

Steve

It was also the name given to Adolf Hitler who cleansed millions of jews, so saying it means manager, when fuhrer-style is in that context, means nothing.

In terms of the match, i actually felt sorry for Chamakh as his supply was severly limited due to Arshavin. When he got the ball properly, in a good area, he knocked the ball down and Yossi smashed it in.

garyfootscrayaustralia

no, it means commander, leader or dictator. I’m of Austrian heritage, so believe me when I say that word, especially when coupled with the word “cleansing”, has seriously off – colour connotations.

johnnyboy

pps. you weren’t first

Voldermort

Arshavin and squillachi should never play for us again I begrudge that my season ticket money could go to them, woeful, Chamkh not great the youngsters il forgive but fuck me If arsene really thinks arshavin can step up when the African nations cup comes up then we could be in trouble. No effort from some is unforgivable

Ajax

Fair comment this, I thought Arshavin disgraced himself tonight. How a professional footballer can turn up and put such little effort in is beyond me, he should be out in January and for once we should bring in someone worthwhile like Podolski or Ayew. Following Arshavin out the door should be Squillaci and Mannone, two players who are hopelessly out of their depth. If I recall correctly, Mannone was the one threatening to leave if he didn’t get game time last month… see ya then. Furthermore, what the hell is the point in signing Park if he is going to… Read more »

garyfootscrayaustralia

True. Park should have at least been given the whole second half. Chamakh was awful….again. I had such high hopes for that guy after the way he started. What a waste.

AR

I think if we weren’t forced into the 2 early changes, Park was probably going to come on in the second half. Yeah but agree with you otherwise, I just feel that Park should be given the few chances that keep going to Chamakh before we can all decide whether to write him off or rate him, because frankly we haven’t seen enough of him to even have a proper opinion on him. I don’t think he can offer less than Arshavin and/or be less confident than Chamakh surely?

MJB

Arshavin seems to be on a completely different planet these days. Have you seen his website? What is THAT all about???!!!

Jake

Good game and great goal by Benayoun. Would like to see him get some game time this december. Arshavin was horrible, Vito even worse.

Nubbles

Time to promote Damián Martínez as our goalkeeper substitute.

Sikay

Absolute rubbish, like stepping back in time 3 months! Back to proper business Saturday.

garyfootscrayaustralia

I’ve defended Arshavin and Chamakh in the past, but after that non – performance from the pair of them, the well of goodwill has run dry.

Runcorn Gooner

I have had enough of Arshavin.Why does AW select him?
He doesnt seem to give a toss about playing.
Tonight he was appalling.He lost the ball that led to the
first goal and if ever a player was earning money (a lot of it)
under false pretences its him.
The final straw for me came on Saturday at Wigan.Towards
the end as we strung 20 plus passes together with loud Ole’s
from the fans the ball was given to Arshavin who not only lost it
but did not even try to recover it.
Why does AW keep picking him?

Mooro

Time to cash in I think. If Anzhi Howsyafather want to throw dopey money at us for the Russian skipper, take it and reinvest wisely.

Ajax

Absolutely, we could get 8 million for Arshavin and that could go halfway towards a new signing.

For the record I hope everyone hasn’t forgotten all the money we made from the Nasri and Fabregas deals, that still hasn’t been spent and I would like to see it re-invested in this squad.

Scribblers

Anzhi Howsyafather….

Brilliant

Adopted.

Frog

Ya I’ve been saying that and getting mad thumbs down for about 3 months now.

Anon

Because no one was convinced yet, obviously.

Cygan is a snowman

I think why Wenger keeps picking him is for the January shop window.

Witoldo

Because he wants his value to drop even further?

Spooner

Did you cut & paste from a PDF or has Twitchy himself muddied ABN pages?!

Back to point, surely the Ox must be ahead of Arshavin now.. Thumbs up if you agree, down vice versa?

Cygan's Left Foot

If I dust my boots off and start eating healthy and do few push ups for 3 days I would be ahead of Arshavin. at leash I would have pride on wearing The Arsenal shirt unlike him.

Goonarmy

Someone reassure me that I am not the only one unconvinced with Frimpong?
I know there were other factors which resulted in the loss but, the way he throws his body about mindlessly leading to fouls is annoying to say the least. Twice, in a row, he gave away fouls at the end, which lead to their third. I thought he was supposed to have learned from these mistakes!
Frustrating and embarrassing defeat.

Spooner

He’s still young mate. The Frimster is twice the player Song was at the same age, and look at him now.

Steve

Last season Song threw his body around leading to fouls and this season Song is top of the discipline table with the most yellow cards. Give the lad some time and look around before making sweeping baseless statements.

loveagunner

Shocking performance from some and stand out performances from others. Bear in mind it was never going to be a walk over against the greek champions when they were playing for a knock-out spot, in Athens.

ramgooner

i thought when fabianski was injured vito will come on and do his best to reclaim the 2nd spot and BAM he fucked it up!!!i loved the way verminator was eyeballing fabianski and mannone like they didn’t deserve to be the no.1….time for fro the mexican dude damian martinez and james shea to step up!!!!check out mark shcwartzer against liverpool….he is fuckin brilliant…when u talk about goal keepers he is one of the top top guys around.he should be an inspiration to all the young goalkeepers around the world.i can’t wait to see our 1st team!!!!

Tino

On another note have a look at some BBC bloke’s team of the week. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/15920415.stm
First I have no idea how Arteta isn’t on there, but even with vermaelen and van persie he can’t fresher talking about the own goal and contract/ injury situations respectively. Absolutely ridiculous. I bet no-one will mention drogba potentially getting injured despite him clearly carrying the team on his own … Also yaya touré player of the year? Sorry, who has scored 32 goals this year? Stupid press

Tino

*can’t resist

Phil

Lovely chipperoon by Chamakh in the dying seconds that was incorrectly ruled offside. Doesn’t have much luck that lad.

Ajax

I couldn’t believe it when I saw the (one) replay and the commentator shrugged it off as being offside when he was clearly 2 or 3 yards on!

garyfootscrayaustralia

His luck may be linked to his work rate.

garyfootscrayaustralia

agree with you both about the offside call though, a real home decision.

Chris

Ok, the result didn’t matter, but that was a hugely disappointing showing from our second string. They were poor last year and Wenger got rid of some of the driftwood – Bendtner, Eboue, Almunia and Denilson – but Arshavin, who was an embarrassment, Chamakh, Djourou and Squillaci need to be shipped off as quickly as possible. Fabianski and Mannone were all over the place as well – Mannone certainly needs to go too. This was an opportunity to impress Wenger, and they failed miserably. Only Oxlade-Chamberlain looked up to it, but such was our incompetence in midfield, he barely had… Read more »

Scribblers

That was kinda shit. COnfused by the team selection, felt Arsene could of gone a bit further, tried Ozzy and a reserve striker, really given the young uns something to rage and fight for by themselves with of these frazzled and useless fringe players.

If we can chuck Chamakh and Arshavin in Janurary, no great loss.

Scribblers

Oh and a Santos injury would be a disaster, really worried about that. Just hope against hope it’s nothing big. No idea why he played or even travelled.

Same with Vermaelen.

garyfootscrayaustralia

yep, I thought Ozzy, MIquel and Park from the start might have been a more useful excercise.

GunnerDareMACEDONIA

Bad ankle injury, It’s wenger fault why he played him I’m confused now he is out for a month an gibbs is out for 3 more weeks and our best CB will be deployed on the left .

Arsenal

Terrified for a potential santos injury
Hope samba beats is ok though
no idea why he even got on the plane b/c he was in the “red” fitness zone

dejilinho

As horrible as it sounds, many fans might have to deal with having those unwanted players in the squad for another 6/7 months. They add to the number of the squad which the team need as the season progresses. I can’t really see us doing any deal in January except for loaning out young players. Wenger is too nice of a man to offload players due to irrelevant results.

Seb

The ONLY person I feel who came out of this better was the replacement left back miquel. Djhouo, vermealen, squill frimpong arsh chamank and the two goalkeepers were shocking, at least this game didn’t matter.

Like someone above said, I’m kind of glad though as at least we have got our bad game over with, and we can focus again at the weekend

Steve

Not quite sure how you can say Vermaelen was shocking considering he had to drag the entire back line around despite it being full of international players. Djorou – Switzerland, Squillachi – France, Santos – Brazil, Fabianski – Poland and Mannone – Italy under 21’s. If Mert or Kos had been next to him then no problem but he had to do it all himself, as shown later on when he was suddenly trying to score after running up the field. Mannone was far too slow off his line, at times, which made things worse and made it look like… Read more »

Gunnersaurus

Let’s not over react. Olympiacos played well, pressurised us and made us make mistakes. This will have been a good learning experience for FrimCoq, Ox and Miguel.

Frankly Arshavin no longer deserves to wear the Red and White of Arsenal. He seems devoid of any spark and lacks any form of commitment.

Bunburyist

If experienced heads are around to lead by example, I shudder to think of the damage Arshavin is doing to the youngsters around him. How many times did he lose the ball and then, instead of chasing it back down, look up to the heavens in exasperation? Sad. He keeps admitting he’s not playing at his best, and then seems to do nothing about it.

It may have been a great learning experience for Ox Coq-Pong, but it was Olympiakos who did them the favour of mentorship. Arshavin must be sold in January.

Arsenalkid700
Dave Gooner

Holy Fuck!!

Why is Carlos out on loan? He is at least as good as that bloke who plays for JamU. Can we not change the shape of our game when he’s on to accommodate him? He is special.

Steve

It’s clearly down to the haircut. He’s like the anti-samson

bigguns

Wegner ideas at times sucks, sometimes he thinks with his ass.

MJB

who is ‘Wegner’?

Steve

Wengers evil twin brother who has terrible ideas and not a manager who is the most successful in Arsenal history

Bunburyist

Meanwhile, the FA plan to “finger Suarez”.

http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Liverpool-Luis-Suarez-to-learn-Wednesday-if-one-finger-gesture-at-Fulham-will-bring-fresh-charge-article840108.html

I like the creativity in punishment. I mean, we all know fines don’t really hurt players, so I think having the members of the FA take turns fingering Suarez is a step in the right direction. Well done, FA!

MJB

He won’t like it up ‘im!

AR

Can we not first complete the Evra investigation and ban Suarez for 10 games and then ban Evra for 20 games just for marauding as a human being? And while we’re at it, what’s happening with the Terry the racist? Why is he not in some prison/mental asylum/ex-footballers who weren’t really footballers scrap heap?

It’s all off topic but how long do these guys take for an investigation? What exactly are they having trouble with? I am willing to provide Terry with a character reference, most of us know there’s not much to reference anyway! 😀

Cromulus

Santos traveled precisely because we’re short on the left and because he still needed games to improve his form.

Wenger doesn’t have a crystal ball any more than anyone else.

Plev

No way he should have been risked when he is the only player we have in that position at the moment. Miquel played well against Man City and deserved his spot, and was good when he did come one. True Wenger doesn’t have a crystal ball and all that, but Santos’ selection was stupid. Now Vermaelen has to play left back til he or Gibbs returns (hearing a month already?)

Plev

And don’t even get me started about Vermaelen playing. That boy is vital. If he’d have been injured we all would have lost our shit!!

Implex

This is the reason why Shea might have been recalled from loan. horror show from Fabianski and Mannone. I felt sad for marseille/dortmund if they went out because of the mishap created by our keepers.

Oleg Luzhny

If Marseille won (and they did) they’d have advanced regardless of this result…

[…] Match report – Video (via @arsenalist) […]

Timmy

Will someone tell Emmanuel Frimpong to bring his head down. – Arrogance won’t do him any good

Steve

If you don’t convince yourself you’re the best, how can you convince the manager? Also, there is a difference between arrogance and confidence. I believe he has confidence in his own ability and not arrogance that he’s already the best. Two sides of this are Bendtner who never turned potential into reality and Wilshere who did the opposite. You can see that Wilshere plays with the belief that he is one of the best midfielders in the modern game, as shown against Barca when we wasn’t over-awed taking on Xavi and Iniesta and actually came out on top in most… Read more »

totalfootball

almunia should be our 2nd choice keeper at least he has bags of experience.

Steve

Hahahahahaha!!!!
I think that sums it up quite nicely

Ahmed N. Ibra

Where was Park ?!?!