Report: Arsenal 0-1 Olympiacos (Gunners progress 3-2 on aggregate)

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Result: Arsenal 0-1 Olympiacos (3-2 on aggregate)
Competition: Europa League
Date: 18 March 2021
Venue: Emirates Stadium

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Elneny, Ceballos, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Aubameyang

Subs: Ryan, Okwonko, Holding, Cedric, Chambers, Mari, Partey, Odegaard, Nelson, Nketiah, Lacazette, Martinelli


Youssef El-Arabi’s second half strike secured a 1-0 win for Olympiacos at the Emirates but it wasn’t enough to stop Arsenal from progressing to the Europa League quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.

With a two-goal cushion from last week’s win in Athens, Mikel Arteta’s side were sloppy for large periods of a scrappy game but were unlucky not to secure a draw on the night after captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang squandered three fine chances.

Pre-game

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrived at the Emirates in plenty of time to secure his place in the starting lineup. The striker, in for Alex Lacazette, was one of five changes from the side that started the north London derby. Hector Bellerin replaced Cedric at right-back, Mohamed Elneny and Dani Ceballos took over from Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard in midfield and Pepe replaced Bukayo Saka who wasn’t risked after picking up a muscle problem at the weekend. The lesser spotted Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah made the bench, as did Gabriel Martinelli.

First Half

Stick or twist. That was the conundrum facing the Gunners who started the game with a two-goal advantage following the 3-1 win in Athens last week.

From the off, it looked like the directive from Arteta was to play sensibly.

We diligently maintained our shape off the ball with those in attack pressing high to keep the Greeks at arm’s length.

Olympiacos did enjoy spells of possession but they didn’t look overly threatening in the final third. They seemed content maintaining the status quo, presumably with one eye on a second half push against tiring legs.

While the game was undeniably scrappy, both sides did have clear chances to score.

Pepe, chasing a Ceballos through ball, nicked the ball past the onrushing keeper before trying to nutmeg a defender with his shot. It took a slight deflection a trickled just past the near post for a corner. Replays showed a pass to Aubameyang might have been the better option.

The captain, who was far from his best, also missed a gilt-edged chance. He too was played in by Ceballos but with only the keeper to beat he fired over the bar. One of his customary curlers would have done the job. Instead, he gave it a toe-poke.

In between, Leno made a fine stop to deny Youssef El-Arabi. The striker pounced on a long hoof by his keeper and fired low and true before the German stuck out a leg. It was a fine reaction stop that was followed by a rollicking for his defence.

Smith Rowe did attempt a curler in stoppage time but by and large it was a drab affair.

Second Half

As expected, Olympiacos kicked through the gears after the break. Three times in the first four minutes they might have taken the lead.

Kostas Fortounis, their best player, dragged a shot wide. Then he made the decision to cross when he should have had another attempt. From the resulting corner, a header flashed across our defence. Arteta, arms crossed, bowed his head and started muttering to himself. He wasn’t pleased.

Sure enough, with their next attack, the Greeks did get a goal. Ceballos took too long on the ball and on the counter, El-Arabi cut inside Luiz and fired past Leno with the aid of a deflection off Gabriel. (0-1)

It didn’t take long for Arteta to switch things up. On came Partey and Odegaard for Elneny and Ceballos. We briefly wrestled back control of things and were unlucky not to equalise when Pepe’s shot was accidentally blocked over by Smith Rowe.

As the game ticked past the 70-minute mark we went back to inviting pressure. Partey gave away the ball on the edge of his own box and the ball spent 10 seconds bouncing around in our area without anyone in red taking charge of the situation. Had there been fans present, it’s fair to say the players would have felt their wrath.

The North Bank would have been similarly exasperated when Odegaard, after neat interplay with Pepe, worked space in the box only to fire way over. Two minutes later, it was Pepe’s turn to frustrate as he stroked straight at Sa. The worst miss of the lot came from Aubameyang. On the break, Odegaard played the captain through on goal and he tried to dink the keeper but clipped wide.

Our lives were made somewhat easier when the visitors were reduced to 10 men following an impetuous reaction by Ousseynou Ba. The Senegalese fouled substitute Martinelli on the touchline and then beat the ball to the turf in frustration. By the letter of the law, he was always going to get done by the Spanish referee but it did feel a bit harsh. Realising the potential damage he’d done to his team’s chances of qualifying, he was in tears in the tunnel.

Even with one less man to worry about, we continued to miss chances. Aubameyang tried a backheel from a Martinelli cross that was saved and then he volleyed over the rebound. He really should have had a hattrick.

Thankfully, it didn’t matter. We’re into tomorrow’s draw and will find out at midday what our route to the final will be.

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Jack

That was like the last 10 mins against Spurs, but it lasted for the whole 90 minutes

Anonymarse

It sucked massively

Flash

Well said! The moment when Martinelli arrived to the the pitch was better then the other 90 minutes combined…

Anonymarse

You know you are always going to get 110% with him

Adrian Drum

Make no mistake. It was an awful performance. Thanks to first leg, we are through but we were horrible to watch. I know we just wanted to sit and frustrate them but still.

Adrian Drum

On side note. Sp*rs might go out. They are playing against a team whose manager is in jail.

That’s crazy to read when you put it like that😂😂. It might be a historic night for Spuds for all the wrong reasons.

Tomaury Bischfeld

3-0!!!! Specialist in failure.

fmikael

Hahaha…….now at least I can have some genuine joy this morning ( its 6am here) Cant wait to see who we draw in the next round later in the day.

pom

Oh my god they’re out hahahahaha

VAgooner

BAHAHAHAHA

SirL

So fucking hilarious, those twats always make me feel better!

Urs Seiler

Ha, ha, ha, I like you.
And I like the fact they are out now.

Maniac

Well at least we’re through. That’s pretty much as positive as we can be after today’s performance. We really just can’t seem to get it right – whether that’s the final ball, the finishing or the lapses of concentration that cost us the ball in dangerous places.

Also hate to bring this up given how influential he’s been in past seasons, but Aubameyang looks a finished player right now. I don’t know why, and I don’t know how, but he’s completely lost that killer touch. It feels like he needs far too many chances to score just one.

magirlyeyes

Appalling finishing, why do we make it so difficult for ourselves? We could and should have won that about 5-1.
No clean sheet in 11 matches, now that’s got to be a concern. What Xhaka and Luiz give us in buildup sure isn’t helping us in defence.

Bergkamp2Wright

It hurt my brain

Ordnance Dave

Be professional we said. Score a goal, make it comfortable we said. Give us a break we pleaded.
No, said Arsenal.

Runcorn Gooner

Aubamayeng should have ended the contest in the first half. He has always missed chances but at the moment he seems to miss most and he looks sluggish.

HenryKamp

Talking about Spurs, they’ve been beaten by Dinamo by 3-2. 😅

Gunner08

Except at the an hour alter I see that Spurs have been eliminated WELL WORTH THE PAIN

A Different George

Not really. We didn’t play well, but there was never a moment when it looked like we might not go through. If tthey had scored a second, that would have been different. But the frustration was our inability to score, not their threat.

Johnny 4 Hats

Wow. We’ve made these two ties against super ordinary opponents frustratingly difficult for ourselves. And Sp*rs at the weekend was a timely reminder that we are a team that has a panicky temperament when the heat is on. I think a lot of the lads out there are feeling the pressure, especially in the Europa, or the basket full of eggs as I like to refer to it. If we had Benfica or Olympiakos in our group, we would’ve battered them. Blue sky thinking is that if we are going to drop a stinky performance, then the time to do… Read more »

myrtle

All penetration, no finish.

Johnny 4 Hats

Anyone else watching the Spuds?! They just keep on giving don’t they? Must be the most generous club in history. Would be hilarious if they went out…

Russ

I just want them to score now and watch them crash out of by a penalty shootout

Johnny 4 Hats

I think they’d go through on away goals…

Russ

Didn’t realise that… anyway, they’re out 🙌

Johnny 4 Hats

Best tweet I’ve seen. So far!

I am big Jose but to bottle in a Europa? Jose is indeed gone. Stiffles life out of this Spurs team countless times

Johnny 4 Hats

Pleeeeeeeeaase can Andrew do JoseOut tweets tomorrow?

Anonymarse

No we want him to stay

Johnny 4 Hats

I’m not sure Andrew reading out tweets has much of an effect on Sp*rs decision though…

Anonymarse

Probably don’t need much encouragement to get rod of him at this point

Aaron

No penetration, no finish.
More like erectile dysfunction

God, that was an awful performance…

myrtle

I mean, let’s be objective for a second. It was a bad performance but we had about 5 or 6 one on one chances in this game. Flaccid to say the least.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

For 90 minutes? A dream.

Jules

Here’s hoping Dinamo Zagreb kick spurs out in the next 30 mins!

Blahblah

COYDZ!

Anonymarse

I’m watching it now, which I never normally would

Maniac

Knowing Sp*rs they’ll score a jammy goal in extra time that will count for 2 because of the idiotic extra time away goals rule, and go through on that.

Sully Taylor

It say a lot about this sp*rs team when you are genuinely rooting for the team whose manager went to prison for fraud.

Anonymarse

He sounds like the better of the two

Anonymarse

They are playing even worse than we did. I think we messed them up at the weekend 😁

Blahblah

Holy Fucking Shit!!! What a screamer!!

Anonymarse

I’m enjoying this a lot more than our game

Blahblah

It’s a proper nail biter!

Oscandwarf

Me too, especially as they’ve just gone down 3-0 and are out.

C8Jones

And that is exactly what they did!

Zenithreptile

Who didn’t have their cockles warmed by the Sokratis cuddles at the end there? Best part of the match.

Ealing

And he had a good game, i d say he was better than any of our players

Naked Cygan

Absolute dog sh*t performance. Awful bollocks. How on earth did Auba stay on with such an awful display????????????

Baichung Bhutia

I couldn’t watch the game due to work. Looks like I missed nothing.

Baichung Bhutia

I definitely missed something. Serial winner Jose doing his magic. 10 year contract incoming.

Kostas

Are you entertained?

Anonymarse

No we are not entertained

I love wenger

But least there is spurs

HenryKamp

Yes. Dinamo 3-2 Spuds

Mentalista

One word describes Auba: Flaccid.

Same could be said for Laca in front of goal but at least he’s good at link up play.

Our best goalscoring option right now is Martinelli.

Anonymarse

Didn’t seem happy at all

Qutubkhan

Biggest takeaway from this game: Ceballos and Elneny just aren’t good enough.

Vonnie

Elneny did what Eneny does, reasonably solid, Ceballos was terrible and Aubameyang is a waste of a squad place at the moment.

Qutubkhan

Elneny rarely gives the ball away which is why we think he’s decent/solid but almost every pass is sideways or back. It’s frustrating to watch.
Auba just had a bad game mate, he’ll be back amongst the goals soon enough.

Vonnie

Elneny scored the goal that got us through.

Unfortunately this wasn’t a great watch but we’re through despite losing today. Currently Zagreb are battling it out with the Spuds in extra-time, so we’re aren’t the only ones struggling.

The big talking point was that it wasn’t a great night for Auba. He did everything right but score. Some matches are like that I feel like Martinelli should have been subbed in for him right after their red card. A hungry Gabi breathing on the necks of thin Olympiacos defence might have forced an error.

Fix The Cannon

Aubameyang was horrible. Sum up his whole season. Could give 2 fucks about what he’s gone the last few years, this is 2021 and he’s been awful. Not even worth having in the team when he plays like he did today. I’d rather have Martinelli out there

Fatgooner

A boring rubbish game, and a lacklustre Arsenal performance, but at least we got through. Auba had his worst-ever game in an Arsenal shirt and will be embarrassed by those misses.

Arteta picked the wrong team. We should have started with Partay and Odegaard, instead he went negative and we had no creativity. At least we defended well, apart from David Luis for their goal.

We’re through, but again we made it hard for ourselves.

Simone

If El Arabi played always against Arsenal the list of ballon d’or would be completely different

WENGARTETA

Talking about we need an attacking reshuffle in the summer is an understatement, all the chances we’ve missed all season is the reason we are where we are. Attack has failed us this season as well as silly mistakes. Auba Laca Pepe Willian have been terrible this season

WENGARTETA

TO all you arsenal fans who keep saying play Ceballos further up well there you have it

Ealing

He will make a mistake further up, but we still concede a goal, lol. He’s useless . The other loan player on the other hand is excellent. If stayed with us Arteta will get him to score more about 15+ a season

WENGARTETA

But don’t worry some fans are going to say he’ has so much passion, don’t you see he jumps up and down and punches the ground when someone else scores see he must be good because of all that passion right?? such an overrated player in his mind he think he’s too good for arsenal and should be playing for Real Madrid if only he knew his real level is championship level I don’t think he can make it into any top 6 team lead alone any top 10 team in the PL

Kostas

Arteta trusts Ødegård and that’s a good reason for him to stay with Arsenal. Playing regularly for a EPL top team is definitely appealing

Russ

Do you know what, we’re through. Couple of hairy moments but nothing too dramatic. Job done, Martinelli got some minutes and looked sharp too.

This loss might keep us on our toes a bit too.

Just sitting back and watching the Spuds knacker themselves out for villa now. Not a bad evening all things considered 👍

WENGARTETA

Ceballos so overrated passion merchant LOL this guy is rubbish

Kwine

Only positive seeing martinelli and spuds going to extra time!

Kwine

Orsiiiiiiiiiiic!!!!! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

looover

3-0 Zagreb =D

Kwine

What a goal

Up North

Why do we not control this game? Two things strike me. Too many of our players do not posess a top team technical level (ex Bellerín,Ceballos, Pepe). A clear evidence is that the pass or header after a won duel go to an opponent ( take a look at city and see the difference). Instead of counterattack or control the ball we immediately need to win it back. Secondly, we lack the fotball intelligence. One man up, we don’t control the game by fast, safe passes, but play dangerous passes with high risk of a break. One example, 89.30 and… Read more »

Unknown

There are no words to describe how disappointed I am with this performance. We are into next round but we are not doing ourselves any favors and we are absolutely not building any momentum by being content with losing at home without scoring or looking like we could turn it around and score if we need to.

Five_a_Side_a_Day

On a lighter note: is it me, or does Kenny Lala sound like the product of a variant of the “Find your pornstar name” game?

He could have seamlessly fitted into Boogie Nights. alongside Dirk Diggler.

JackofAll

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 Spuds.

Tommmy

Ahhahaahahahahahhahahahaahhaahahhahahahahhahahahhahahaha.
Fecccck spuds

Fatgooner

What do think of Tottenham?

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

JackofAll

Shit

JackofAll

What do you think of shit?

VAgooner

Tottenham.

JackofAll

Thank you x

VAgooner

Sp*rs. BAHAHAHAHAHA

Kartik Iyer

I just wanna say…..AHAHAHAHHAHAAHAAA! Spuds, The gift that keeps on giving 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Bryan

Plz dont play auba if we ever made it to the final .neither pepe .they could cost us

Collibosher

We went a bit Spursy today, but not as Spursy as Spurs!

StoneBenge

Is it only me who thinks we always play better with lacazette up top? In terms of Interplay, possession, chances etc. Or basically when auba isn’t playing we are better to watch overall, he’s a great striker but doesn’t seem to come with much more than finishing and speed.

shokim

The real story about of the night was Spuds going out to Dinamo Zagreb 😂

Dave Cee

I get that Auba has done great things for Arsenal and throughout his career but really his finishing is erratic for a player of his reputation. It cost us in this competition last year, could have done so again tonight and in the last round. Nevermind that his all round game is poor. The new contract looks like a mistake and he should be moved on this summer for someone younger and more clinical.

Santori

Job done first leg.

Underwhelming second leg. Skin of your teeth stuff.

Which is why this team isn’t anywhere near where it should be by a country mile. The level of consistency simple isn’t.

Auba up top again, some opportunities but on the whole needs to hold up play for us and bring players in more.

Onwards but unconvincing the understatement.

Santori

In fact about the best thing that happened today was Spurts getting dumped out by a really plucky Croatian side.

That was a FAR better game to watch (which I did instead)

Superb performance by Dynamo Zagreb. hope we don’t meet them next.

One of the bigger scalps in Spurts out of the running a good thing for us but if we play like today we will get rolled by sides like Zagreb.

Santori

The bigger picture now is West Ham.

Get the act back together to try and break them down. I would think Lacazette up top makes FAR more sense.

They will be tight and restrict the lines hit us on the break.

Okemeister

Call me petty, but I can’t remember the last time I woke up after Arsenal lost in such a buoyant mood. I’d have taken losing 0-1 and Spurs getting dumped out so spectacularly any day of the week!

Ray Middleton

Like the rest of you, I was disappointed with the performance however I believe that the main problem is that we (the Arsenal players) look for the easy pass which is invariably sideways or back. Until we learn to spray the ball across the field, like Liverpool, Citeh and even Olympiacos last night, we are always going to ordinary.