Champions League: Arsenal remain pointless after 2-3 loss to Olympiacos
The Gunners were left pointless after two Champions League games following an embarrassing 3-2 home defeat to Olympiacos on Tuesday – is it all over already?
The loudest noise of the night was reserved for the final whistle, when the Arsenal fans still here gave their side’s performance the reception it deserved.
Boos rang around the stadium at the end of a farcical 90 minutes as the Gunners lost 3-2 to Olympiacos to leave them already on the brink of elimination from the Champions League.
Arsene Wenger’s side usually wait until the last 16 stage before their inevitable exit to a superior side.
Bayern Munich could complete the job a few months early this time as the Gunners now prepare for back-to-back fixtures against the German champions.
With no points from their first two games, it is possible – indeed probable – that Wenger’s men will be pointless after four matches in this season’s competition.
On current form, it will take a miracle for Arsenal to collect any points against Bayern. They would do well to finish third and qualify for the Europa League given the way they have played against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos.
It was comical in so many ways, but the highlight of the match belonged to David Ospina when he inexplicably dropped the ball over his own goalline as he attempted to claim a corner five minutes before half-time.
Yet why was Ospina in the Arsenal goal in the first place?
Petr Cech was bought over the summer to offer reliability and a proven winner between the sticks in the big games.
He was Arsenal’s only summer signing, in fact, because Wenger deemed his squad so strong that he could not find any outfield players to improve them.
The Frenchman’s big call has backfired spectacularly and has sent Arsenal hurtling towards European no-man’s land.
“I make the decisions and selections for the team and I am responsible,” Wenger said in his post-match press conference. “I know many things that you don’t know or you ignore. You can’t select a team by taking a poll before the game and taking everyone’s opinion.”
Surely, though, the Arsenal manager will feel a huge sense of regret over his team selection in a match he described as “must-win” before kick-off.
Arsenal were punished for a decision that suggested that Wenger underestimated his opponents – just as he took Dinamo Zagreb far too lightly in the Group F opener two weeks ago.
The level of naivety on display here was shocking, particularly after Arsenal had drawn level in the 65th minute through Alexis Sanchez’s header.
With 25 minutes still to play to find the winner, it was a time to regather and stay patient. It required a leader to remind the team not to make the same mistakes as their home defeat to Monaco last season when they got caught chasing goals.
Yet a minute later, Olympiacos re-took the lead as Arsenal’s defenders stood still in the box and Alfred Finnbogason turned in the winner from close range.
“It leaves us in a bad position but we are still in it,” Wenger said in hope rather than expectation. “We have to get a result in our next game against Bayern at home.”
That’s a Bayern Munich who have won all 10 of their matches this season. A Bayern Munich who have scored 34 goals this season. And a Bayern Munich who have, on current form, the deadliest striker in Europe at their disposal.
Arsenal’s hopes are hanging by a thread after yet another disastrous night in Europe.
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