Wenger: Our defence exposed the keepers

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Arsene Wenger has reflected on his side’s 3-1 defeat in Greece and claimed that his side’s poor defensive performance too often exposed goalkeepers Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone.

Polish international Fabianski started his first Champions League game since recovering from his long-term shoulder injury but only made it just past the half-hour mark before being taken off with a knee injury.

Italian under-21 international Vito Mannone came on as his replacement, but struggled to cope with the pressure of such a high profile clash in his first game in over two years for the Arsenal first team.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Wenger reflected that while the result did not matter, it was still a cause for concern.

“We never like to lose,” said the Frenchman. “I have some regrets, although we must give some credit to Olympiakos who played a very physical gane. In the first half it was very difficult for us.

“I don’t think we had the right tactical approach. We played too many short balls. We were unlucky as well to lose Fabianski.

“In the second half at 2-1 it looked like we might come back. They were always dangerous and in the end they deserved it.

Responding to suggestions his side lacked communication at the back, Wenger was quick to point the blame at his experienced defenders rather than raw keepers.

“Particularly in defence. We looked at each other many times. These players haven’t played a lot together and some of them have not played in the Champions League much and were a bit surprised by the pace of the game.

“I felt tonight we didn’t help our goalkeepers because when we could give them clean passes we didn’t. We exposed them our lack of quality in the pass. They [the keepers] were quite brave.

“Of course, it was not the best of starts when you come on and concede like Mannone did.”

“Unfortunately in Europe if you’re not 100 % from the start of the game it’s very difficult to win. I must say that tonight Olympiakos had a good chance to qualify, they were up for it. We had the early chances in the game and we didn’t score. Physically Olympiakos gave everything.”

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Ghostofgoonerspast
Ghostofgoonerspast

Also injury news= santos has ‘bad ankle injury’… Not good 🙁

Witoldo
Witoldo

Well, after Wenger was criticized last year for not having enough center backs, it looks like we’ll line up against Everton: Djourou – Merte – Koscielny – TV5 with Miquel and/or Squillaci on the bench.

What a turn of events.

HR
HR

Best thing will be to pick ourselves up, learn from the mistakes, and move on.

James
James

Wenger has never learnt from his mistakes, that’s why we’re a mediocre team fighting for fourth place every year.

Bunburyist
Bunburyist

Hi James, you silly little nincompoop.

All your comments are the same.

Anon
Anon

The same and illogical.

After practically admitting that the “Cesc experiment” was a mistake, he didn’t hang on to him like a crazy cat wishing for one final life, he thought,”Fuck it.” and went off and sold both Nasri and Cesc for the futures of Ramsey and Wilshere while bringing Arteta like a badass.

You are just a moron in that respect.

Master Bates
Master Bates

I am glad OlympiaStoke are no longer in the UCL .

Bunburyist
Bunburyist

No doubt. Though they severely ran out of steam in the second half, and a better team would have beaten them in the last 30 minutes alone. They were also highly profligate in front of goal and relied time after time on the gifts of our second string players. I think our first team would have won comfortably tonight. All we had to do was absorb the early pressure until their legs and lungs inevitably gave way, and I now believe our first team is capable of doing that. Arteta and Song work so hard in our midfield.

Gooneropolis
Gooneropolis

Thank God for SZCZ. You could see the massive difference between our first choice and reserve keepers and how they commanded their back line.

Hope Santos is ok. He was starting to come good.

bigguns

Arsene is 1 of the biggest clowns in football management

bob
bob

Jog on mate, jog on…

AR
AR

There should be a list of trolls that you can nominate posters to and after every week there’s a new winner (loser) who gets banned from the site. Some of these guys make the perennial moaners look like optimists.

tomARSE
tomARSE

There’s always one….

Take into consideration the fact Wenger rested 9 first team players. Also, the fact the youngsters were facing an Olympiakos team that still had a clear cut chance of qualifying, I don’t we did too bad. Average at best, but no way shocking.

Bunburyist
Bunburyist

Wenger is partially right, but the second goal was a goalkeeping comedy show.

Admit it, you laughed. I did. Him running out to head the ball IN HIS AREA when he could have caught it. Then heading it straight to an Oly player. Then attempting a drop kick IN HIS AREA when he could have caught it. Karate kick hits nothing but air, ball flies in.

I was in stitches. My stomach still hurts. Thanks for that, Vito!

Sorry. Please don’t give me a thumbs down. Please? It was a moment of weakness. [face trembling with the suppression of laughter]

11 cannons

I laughed too Bunburyist, rather loudly. If not I would have been crying.

I don’t know if there was any way to get the team believing the result mattered and it showed in the performance.

Our goalkeepers let us down, however much pressure the home side were applying. Fabianski got caught in two minds on the first goal and was rounded too way easily. If I’m honest when he went down later I thought he might see it as a chance to get out of the game, because he looked anything but assured up to that point.

Mannone just bottled it spectacularly. Good thing we recalled James Shea huh?

In the end this opportunity to blood some youth in Europe backfired spectacularly and you just hope it hasn’t done more harm than good. Especially where the injury to Santos is concerned.

Still, it was sort of amusing to see the dejection on the Olympiakos’ players faces when they realized Marseilles had won.

shehzad
shehzad

why on earth were any first-teamers out there? the game didn’t matter at all. now with santos out, it means a central pairing of mert and djourou with verm and kosc on the flanks. not a disaster but not good either. really annoyed at arsene for picking santos but what can you do?

11 cannons

Miquel did well enough tonight and last week against City. Would rather have him at LB than the scenario you propose to be honest. Still unlucky on Santos, but to be fair it looked like one of those freak things that could have happened in training. Just got his leg stuck in the turf.

shaun
shaun

agreed dejouro must not be allowed near the training ground and fabianski exiled from london and never allowed to return unless he is between the sticks for the spuds

CAGooner
CAGooner

When I first saw the score my initial thought wwas that Almunia had been in goal.

Cygan's Left Foot
Cygan's Left Foot

“Arsene Wenger has reflected on his side’s 3-1 defeat in Greece and claimed that his side’s poor defensive performance too often exposed goalkeepers Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone.”

Of course Arsene, just like in the past our poor defense was exposing Almunia for three seasons. Since Shezeny got in goal our defense stopped exposing him, which made him look good. Nothing to do with Shezeny being a great keeper and the defense trust him to bail them out if they made a mistake.

alx96
alx96

Seeing performance of Fabianski and Manone last night, make you appriciate SCzycny even more eh?

TeeCee
TeeCee

Too right. The only reason Flappyhandski ended up crocked was ‘cos Vermaelen didn’t trust him to stop the ruddy ball.

If SZCZ had been between the sticks, the verminator wouldn’t have come haring back at warp speed to get a foot to it. Well, not if he didn’t want a serious 5-minute bollocking anyway.

Cromulus
Cromulus

Whe you see Vito playing, you’ll still think Almunia was playing. Except that Vito’s haircut might be even worse. Not sure yet.

Steve
Steve

My first comment is always “look at that nose!”

DCGooner
DCGooner

Why the FUCK were Andre Two Saints or Super Tom even out there?! I don’t care if Arsene was trying to ‘save face’ and go for the win to show we were still taking it seriously, for fuck’s sake we earned the right to sit them both.

FAAAAACK!

COYG

The BearMan
The BearMan

What we learned from this game: Wenger cannot halt in his efforts to bring in a quality striker in January as Chamahk appears to have lost his metal. It is important to get back and seriously consider our second squad as the buisness end of the season is fast approaching, Wenger now needs to think on his feet. Our young players have shown, they can come in for one game and impress, the same is not so on a consistent basis. The opportunity to prune and add a few quality players is NOW (January). What he cannot afford to do is nothing.

Steve
Steve

You mean lost his metal despite being starved of the ball and when it was put in a dangerous position, he knocked the ball down, while taking a boot to the chest, for Benayoun who scored. Or took on 2 defenders at the start of the game only for Arshavin to shoot straight at the keeper from Chamakhs pass. Except those times, then yeah. The guy is bereft of confidence not metal. He would have got some back if Arshavin hadn’t missed as it would have let him push on as the target man he is trying to be.

Moses
Moses

We lost yes but l dont think it was a poor show. Of course squl should not be at arsenal. I still think vito is better than fabianski. Anyway we are now in the mix at the epl top!

Runcorn Gooner
Runcorn Gooner

I had this wonderful dream that Arshavin did
a Tevez and refused to come of the bench
and the crowd cheered for ages .
If only life could be so perfect .

Hashkibob
Hashkibob

As much as anything santos played to continue improving his match fitness I would guess. And without hindsight that does make at least a little sense. Still, nasty backfire. Id start miquel if he doesn’t make it.

GoonerNugget
GoonerNugget

Let’s just make sure we look at this with some perspective. Santos played to improve his fitness, Vermaelen played because we needed a leader at the back.

We faced a determined team that had much more riding on the match than we did. It was a hostile atmosphere and most of the younger players failed to cope.

This is NOT a disaster. Young players learned some valuable lessons about CL football. I think Wenger may have been trying to put Arshavin in the shop window – but that backfired. Chamakh needs to stop partying.

Apparently Goetze is a done deal with Dortmund’s CL exit. January window needs to get here.

TeeCee
TeeCee

“Wenger may have been trying to put Arshavin in the shop window”

Ah well, there’s always Oxfam…….

Steve
Steve

His shirt may sell for as much as £2

Jim Deen
Jim Deen

Monday morning quarterbacks will always bitch unless we win the game.

With jazz hands and a high-pitched voice:

“Why was Santos playing? Why was Vermaelen in there? Why doesn’t Arsene make what I now see to be the perfect team selection? Why does one of my nuts ascend when I do this voice?”

The team selection was fine – we just got outplayed by a team that wanted it more and that had more to gain from a high-paced, crunching game.

the only sam is nelson
the only sam is nelson

precisely

we won our group, better than we did last year. woops a fucking daisy, i don’t think. imagine a determined olympiakos knocking seven shades of shite out of RvP if he’d had to play, we’d all be looking forward to saturday then, eh. and instead of being thankful for safe passage to the knockout stage there’s the usual suspects whingeing away.

ah well

Merlin's Panini
Merlin's Panini

maybe we should *smirk*, veto Mannone.

sorry.

Steve
Steve

Out!

Merlin's Panini
Merlin's Panini

heheh. sorry. I just couldn’t believe I got there first. Someone had to make the joke.

CAGooner
CAGooner

Course you might want to be careful punning on someone whose name is “Vito”.

Steve
Steve

Lehmann again anyone?