After the gut-punching late goal for Olympiacos at the Emirates last night, it looked as if there would be no chance of an Arsenal comeback.

The Greek side scored in the 119th minute to make it 2-1, and with so little time remaining it appeared to be a done deal.

Football is full of surprises though, and an Arsenal side which had found it tough to create chances were suddenly presented with one via a ricochet off an Olympiacos defender. The ball fell invitingly for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose spectacular overhead kick had been the cause for such celebration just a few minutes previously, but remarkably he pulled the ball wide of the post.

Slumping to his knees in disbelief, he could make sense of what had just happened, but with that miss went Arsenal’s European campaign for this season.

To his immense credit, he fronted up for an interview on BT Sport in which his pain was evident. Asked how he summed up those final crazy minutes of the game, he said, “I don’t even know. I feel very, very bad.

“This can happen. I don’t know how I missed this chance.

“I was tired and I had some cramps as well, but it is not an excuse. I have to score this goal, but it can happen.”

As for our Europa League exit, and with it an avenue to next season’s Champions League, he continued, “What can I say? It’s very, very hard, very tough. It was a tough game again.

“I think we missed putting some pace in the game … that cost us a little bit. Then the last minute goal was unlucky for us. That’s it.

“We try to keep improving in the league and we’ll try to win as many games as possible, and we’ll see how many chances we have to qualify.”

With 20 goals to his name, Aubameyang has done more than most to add a sheen of respectability to this season, so the finger of blame shouldn’t be pointed at him.

In truth it was a poor performance overall, and one that Mikel Arteta and his players need to respond to in a positive way, not feel sorry for themselves.

Read today’s Arseblog: Arsenal 1-2 Olympiacos (AET): Gunners pay a late price for sub-par performance

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ankit raghav

Through thick and thin. COYG

Manganese

Should have buried the last chance. But it’s not on Auba or Leno. The team isn’t good enough. We should have done better. Players like Pepe still need serious one on one coaching of what to do with the ball in the final third. As usual , I think Ozil is a liability. And Xhaka is a very immobile player. Ceballos and Bellerin looked awfully off the pace. Arteta could have been wiser with his subs too. In game management wasn’t the best yesterday either. Laca? Don’t even get me started. He’s so desperate to score that he loses his… Read more »

Neil Bamford

It’s very easy to point the finger but it’s has been quite congested recently and you can tell some players were not 100%.

it’s upsetting as I personally thought it was a winnable competition. We’re still in the FA cup and are back to winning ways in the league. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but let’s not pick out individual performances

Booomer Gooooner

Actually, why is it unfair to point fingers when we’re not just talking about a match but over years of ineptitude?

From James Benge:

It has now been over a year since Mesut Ozil has provided an open
play assist in the Premier League.

His only open play assist in all competitions since 5-1 win over
Bournemouth on February 27 2019 was the backheel on the touchline for Maitland-Niles in EFL Cup 5-5 vs Liverpool.

Da Boss

I think it is quite easy to jump on some of the more obvious candidates from criticism. Like them or not, we need all of these players to finish as well as we can. Yes, Auba and Leno are probably our 2 best players of the season but it doesn’t exempt them from any criticism at all. It was a poor team performance. We are all aware of what needs to happen in the summer but nobody was any better or worse than anyone else last night. It was a bad day at the office for all involved. Hopefully Arteta… Read more »

Arteta's Hair Gel

He has been so massive for us. Without his goals this season we would have been closer to the relegation zone in the premier league than we are today. I absolutely do not blame him at all tonight. By far our best player.

Goontang

It’s no excuse for the performance at all. But they need to change the away goals rule for extra time. Yes they have to play an extra 30 minutes away from home, but the advantage of getting a goal is way too large. Tied after 2 x 90 minute legs, surely the away goals rule does not apply.

Manganese

Change the rules because arsenal got knocked out?

How about they change the rules so the winner of the first leg progress no matter what.

That’s just ridiculous.

George

No, he’s right. I’ve been saying it for years, as have many, many others.

The away goal rule is utterly moronic and the justification didn’t bear scrutiny then, nor does it now.

Con

Agreed. It has no place in the modern game. I expect it be removed before too long.

David

I think it shows our nativity as a team, to have been on the receiving end of this rule for years. To suggest the rules are changed because we got knocked out doesn’t make any sense. How about re-introducing the golden goal rule because we scored 1st in extra time. If you’re good enough, you should make the rules work for you not against you.

David

*naivety

Gobgo

The away goals rule is how teams like spurs wormed their way to a final. We’ve always been on the recieving end of bullshit rules. Like the one where Auba couldn’t play in the Europa because he had played in the Champions league. Funny how when a similar problem befell Barca how quick the rule changed.
Put simply why would getting a goal say be worth 1 on the score sheet but 2 in administration? It doesn’t make sense

A Different George

I said it as this match started, even though it was (then) to our benefit. The idea was that it would create more attack from the away team in the the first leg and so limit defensive snoozefests. Instead, it has evolved so that home teams in the first leg play very defensively, so the football is often even more boring.

George

Exactly.

David

You wouldn’t be saying this if we benefited from the rule, Rules are rules, we knew about the away goal rule before we kicked a ball against Olympiacos.

George

Oh, blow it out your arse and take your straw man with you. Infant.

Mentalista

If we’re talking rules, what about the blatant ref mistake after the foul on Pepe.

The latest rule change has made it very clear: if the foul is in the box, penalty and yellow card. Outside the box is a straight red.

Unless you think it wasn’t a clear goalscoring opportunity. Then you’re a moron.

A Different George

Two points, which sound contradictory but aren’t. (1) I thought it should be a red for the foul on Pepe, but in my opinion it was not an outrageous decision–there were two defenders trying to stop him, not one. I thought that without the foul he would have been clear through, but that’s not indisputable. (2) The referee was very good in general. As are most of the referees we see in Europe–though, yes, more so in the Champions League. Yes, they are the elite from each country, but the English elite is nowehere near as good.

Dave

They should just get rid of it entirely.

George

Agreed.

C.B.

FA Cup or 5th place in the league. Still some things to concentrate on but both harder than the EL in my opinion.

Crazy that Auba scored the one he did and missed the last chance, but the game should have been out of Olympiakos’s reach by then.

Mo mo mo

5th won’t be enough, City’s appeal won’t be finalised before next season’s CL qualifiers begin, their punishment (if they get it) will be 2021/2.

Joseph Kawooya

No need, though unprofessional, but we seem to have sacrificed the El.
The squad has turned so thin, Martinelli is not starting, Nketiah. Saka was basically preying. Ozil Laca all aged, we did not deserve to run down a triple Europa disappointment, therefore clearly dropping out was the better option.

Joseph Kawooya

Seriously, the dislikes are overstated
Explain the Willock not Guen subs or the late Laca sub. But let me uphold the diplomatic nature of our football club and be more ‘water is wet’ Give me back St. Torringham n 2019/20 shall be a proper foundation for a future

Fooqyb

Listen, what’s happened has happened, I’m as gutted as anyone but it’s time for us to unite as fans and get behind the players, because they need us now more than ever and it’s our job to become the 12th man that the players desperately need after the devastating and debilitating loss last night. COYG

OdalGooner

This!

Joe

Don’t know why Arteta doesn’t want to play Martinelli. He’s surely deserves it more than Laca.

Gunnerboreus

Pure Auba – he’s gone now in the summer I suspect

A minor point; and definitely looking for a silver lining here but….Martinelli’s reaction to the miss is pure class. 18 years old (and don’t get me going on how Lacazette starts before him), just on and picks his captain up off the ground when it’s all gone to s**t

bob

That’s the mentality I love to see. We are in need of a serious rebuild, everyone can see that, and there are going to be setbacka along the way, but to see this sort of reaction, and from a lad so young, is top class and is exactly what we need to be instilling throughout the team. If we can do that while we rebuild, and inject some more quality in the spine of the team, we will definitely be able to get back into the CL bracket of teams.

Carlos Fela

Martinelli needs to be starting games of football for Arsenal

Nosferatu

Nothing against Lacazette, but I really do wish Arteta had put Martinelli on earlier. It’s his type of youthful exuberance, his willingness to just attack and go for balls–too young or unspoiled to be as careful as so many of the veterans were–that feels so useful in trying to break down a team that sits so deep and defends with tenacity like Olympiacos did today and a number of PL teams do. I’d even suggest that Pepe learn a little something from that attitude. He was so cautious today, dribbling with and holding the ball way too long on so… Read more »

George

I’d be worried if he didn’t feel bad, not that he needs to admit it to us.

The game was a shambles from the get go. At this point I don’t care about anything other than 5th – assuming the oil cheats don’t get off.

Naija Gunner

Didn’t watch it, I was following it via the internet couldn’t sleep when I saw the final score

Assshavin

Everything that went wrong yesterday, Aubas missed chance is the least of those things. We have too much of a friendly culture in this squad. We need some nastiness within the squad, we need our players to be able to yell at eachother if necessary. I get that a positive atmosphere is important to a squad, but sometimes you need there to be a bit of cold air between all players, so they can speak freely to eachother. So many times yesterday i thought someone had to tell Ozil, Laca to step up, yet nobody did. It seems that the… Read more »

Dan Nichols

Auba and Leno are our players of the years and arent responsible for us needing to win a notoriously tricky cup competition to be where we should. Thats down to Raul, Emery and perhaps the Kronkes

Ashburton

You forgot Gazidis & Wenger /s

Dan nichols

yes

Con

He’s carried us this season. Misses happen.

Pat Rice and Beans

And last season.

mrugunner

we seem so entitled to think that we were gonna win EL.
our decline is obvious, from cl to el, to not even making it past first round of knock out stage.

karl

He already did his job with 5 minutes to go and the defence found a typically Arsenal way to lose the game. He has nothing to feel bad about.

This still shows that investment in the central defence is still needed, regardless of the Mustafi renaissance.

Stephen

What a pity his first goal did not get the platform it deserved. It deserved to be a winner. The emotional response – it meant everything. Then suddenly it meant nothing. So cruel.

I also second the motion on away goals. We stopped them from scoring in their house but it counts for nothing. The tie was 2-2. Should’ve been penalties to decide.

Dave

We know the rules, we should’ve deaded the game after scoring.

We got over-excited.

Very naive.

I agree rule needs to be changed but that’s not a discussion for today – just looks like sour grapes.

We knew the rule when we went in to the game.

Oregoon

Yes. Sorry ,but no fan of penalty shoot outs. The number of these would rise without the away rule or a golden goal rule.

Adnan

Absolutely gutted, I imagine if we are as fans, the players would be worse. They are gonna need a lot of support and I am up for it. Misses happen. This aint all on Auba’s miss. A lot of variables added up to this sad sad conclusion. Talk about emotions in those 5 minutes, felt like some body gave me a free pass to Burj Khalifa and then threw me off it 5 minutes later. As ever, COYG. Let’s finish the season strong, give it your best shot.

Torterrier

This isn’t on Auba. He’s saved us more times than I can count and he almost did last night. He shouldn’t have to save us like this over and over again. I think he will leave in the summer and I am absolutely gutted about it, he’s such a great player and such a good man.

Xhaka kaka

I really feel for him… Feels like he’s being let down time and time again by what seems to be a mediocre team. Even if we qualify to next year’s CL i cant see him staying. Surely he’ll want to add some trophies to his cabinet in the final years of his career, and who can blame him?

Danno5

Massively disappointing. We didn’t play well but we still deserved to win. They should have been down to 10 men for starters and the toe-poke finish for their winner was pretty fluky. That’s football right – sometimes it just doesn’t go your way I guess. Let’s stay positive, no European football and this kick up the arse may be what we need to go and do it in the EPL. I’m still cautiously optimistic we can get 4th. COYG.

Torterrier

I would love to have your optimism, while it would be incredible to get 4th even if the teams around us have disastrous spells we are bound to drop points here and there. We are competing with Chelsea, Man Utd, Spurs, Sheffield United and Wolves, it’s just too many teams to rely on having bad patches. I’m afraid we’ll be lucky to get 8th at this point.

Renwahh

Chin up sunshine, there’s only a few points between us and the CL spots, we have some beatable teams coming up in a row, and the league is really hard for everyone to achieve consistency except L’pool. We need to let go of this moment, let go of that elusive CL spot from the Europa League, and channel that rage into destroying all before us in the PL. Think of it as an extended preseason for next year when Arteta has rebuilt this team in his image. Cheslea, ManU, Spurs, ShefU and Wolves have all stumbled many times this season,… Read more »

#define

The lack of pace suggested that the players were not up for the tie, or were tired. Perhaps a younger team with Martinelli, Willock etc. to start and then put senior players if they were not getting it done would’ve been a better strategy. A classic (Wenger) strategy of playing the same first team players too often can backfire sometimes. Of course, hindsight is always perfect and the light of obviousness is blinding after the fact 🙂
I hope the team can pick themselves up and give an accounting in the PL.

Santori

Can’t blame him for missing it even if he needed to be more composed. BUT the real issue is not defense alone, the real issue is we have still struggled to find balance between offensive enterprise and defensive prudence. And we created very little yesterday. They right side was tepid at best with Bellerin struggling in defense and Pepe struggling to not over complicate things. Saka ditto quieter (And they know he is our main threat) which is why it is critical to be able to have threat from both flanks. BUT we also were rubbish at crosses (few beat… Read more »

Evanceaward

Pointing fingers at some one is easier but think of the past. If it wasn’t his ability we would be closer to the religation zone he should not be criticized.
on Gunners

Up North

Auba has nothing to be ashamed for. Without him and Leno we would be right down in the relegation battle. We brag about our offensive firepower,in reality this is Auba, a 72 million flop and some young talents. After we geniously let Ramsey go for free,we’ve no offensive power from midfield either and Mesut is a shadow of his former glory. Defence? Mustafi is now our best player there, sau no more. This squad need a serious overhaul and long time rebuild. Our position in the PL for the coming seasons is to fight for EL and hopefully Arteta get… Read more »

kabuba

Auba did his best. No way could i even think of blaming him for the loss.