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A few thoughts on the Arsenal 3-1 Olympiakos Champions League match

October 6, 2012

Morning Gooners. Match day away to West Ham. It’s been a busy week and had to do this in dribs and drabs.

I watched Wednesday nights match on TV. Thing is I’ve got this Virgin TiVo package which includes Sky Sports 4 but for some reason no Sky Sports 4 HD, so I had to watch match in SD. Turned out it wasn’t so bad as the match was quite slow and hence the picture did not distort too much. Anyone who has HD TV and then watch in SD will undertsand.

As is my want I dispensed with the old pre-match crap the so-called experts waffle on about, going round and round, like the Circe Line. Having not seen or heard what they discussed I assume it would be all about how we cannot defend. Well we seem to be doing a lot better than Both Manchester clubs right now. Apparently Arsenal have only lost two of their last 42 (yes Spurs fans 42 – Forty Two!!!) Champions League home games, both against English clubs. And nine ganes into the season Arsenal have lost one. Scored 20 and conceeded seven.

Is it just me or do any of you (who might be reading this) feel that these Champions League group matches are getting a  bit boring. Same old, same old clubs playing against each other. I  feel these games are no different to watching Arsenal in the Emirates Cup. Maybe going back to straigh knock out might liven it up a bit.

The teams news is in…………

Mannone, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Cazorla, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Walcott 70), Gervinho (Giroud 79), Podolski (Ramsey 79). No BFG again for this match. The smarts is saying he picked up a virus. Update!!! Arsene Wenger had apparently banned shaking hands as a precution of players picking up these viruses.

Arsene Wenger was sat nice and comfy in the directors box next to Ivan “the terrible” Gazidis

The game started like training exercise for Arsenal just passing the ball around at will and Olympiakos could not get near the ball. Then Arsenal inexplicably just went to sleep Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!  Then nothing much else happened for a while. A few lapses in defensive concentration with Mannone passing  to thin air, then TV5 getting in on the act and also passing to thin air. The rain was chucking it down and the seats in the lower East stand were looking empty and no doubt the fans sitting in those seats headed for the cover of the concourse. I was laid up warm on my bed with a mug of piping hot tea, relaxed with the biscuit tin. The game was just lethargic as if the players were disappointed seeing team mate Arteta getting his hair wet and couldn’t be bothered. The old just turn up and collect three points as you pass go ploy..

Jenkinson and Gibbs, as on Saturday against Chelsea were the stand out performers for me. Cazorla was doing his best along with Arteta to get the side going. Gervinho was running into brick walls of greek defenders, but still looked dangerous and scored.Podolski was stuck out on the left not getting in the game, save flashes that came to nothing. Oxo was out there fighting for every ball.

Arsenal getting a few free kicks with the Olympiakos taking the they shall not pass attitude with niggly fouls. Arsenal’s approach looked good but once they got to the 18 yards line ideas on how to score were hard to come by. Koscielny picked up a booking for rash tackle that could have seem him walking back to the dressing room on another night.

Arsenal free kick… On the left hand side edge of the area Cazorla  lines up to take it. He steps up and fires in a curling, dipping beauty which is tipped over the bar by the keeper… Oooooooo !!!

How did he miss that!!!  Machado completely unmarked in the box somehow sends his half-volley over the bar, when surely it was simpler to score. Lucky escape that for Arsenal.

Gooooooooooooooal!!! Get in there!!! Arsenal attack with Cazorla-Podolski the balls comes to Arteta and as he tries to shape the ball runs loose to Gervinho on the edge of the area and quick as a flash steps past the defender and shoots low into the bottom left hand the goal with the keeper flat-footed 1-0 to the Arsenal!!! 1-0 to the Arsenal……………..

Gervinho makes it 1-0

On my screen the camera’s panned onto Arsene and Ivan the terrible in the Directors box standing and applauding the goal out of the rain. However, no sooner had they sat down when Arsenal came un-stuck as MitroGLOU sneaked in and headed a good cross home to make it 1-1 after a few terrible defensive errors where Arsenal were almost saying, here’s the ball, have a goal on us.

Half time 1-1 no more than the Olympiakos deserved and poor first half performance from Arsenal. Time for another tea break.

A couple of early moments at the start of the second half has me thinking – more of the same this half or what! First Gibbs tackles himself and the ball goes for a goal-kick and then Arteta and Podolski just give the ball away cheaply.

Podolski-Gervinho who cuts the ball back to Cazorla and little maestro can only put his shot wide of the post, another chance gone begging to take the lead back.  Arsenal are looking better this half and as if by magic.

Gooooooooooooooal!!! GervinhCazorla-Gervinho in the box crosses-blocked-comes back to him and crosses again finds Podolski who controls-turns and shoots left footed with power and right through the keepers legs and yes!!! back of the net 2-1 to the Arsenal…… . Keeper couldn’t stop a pig in a hallway.

Podolski makes it 2-1

Arsenal are awarded a free kick in which Koscielny is given a free header and somehow manages to head  it over! Oxo (de-activate the cube) goes off to be replaced by Theo. Cazorla the wizard on the ball, finds Gervinho who runs down the wing – plays the ball to Cazorla who in turn plays in Theo who in turn cuts the ball back across goal to the incoming TV5 but the ball is just smothered in time by the keeper to stop TV5 repeating his goal against Newcastle at home last season. Good play from Arsenal who are now pressing for the third to kill the game off.

Gervinho and Podolski now leave the pitch and are replaced by Rambo and Giroud. Arsenal pour forward – Theo crosses towards Giroud who gets his toe to the ball and guides it towards goal  but Megyeri parries the shot and collects the ball with second attempt. Good effort by Giroud and good cross form Theo. Arsenal take a short corner. Arteta- Cazorla-Ramsey-Cazorla-Giroud whose shot is blocked. Ramsey then shots high, wide and not so handsome.

Gooooooooooooooal!!!! Time is ticking away for Arsenal to pick up three valuable points. Goal kick taken by Mannone whose kicks long up field and there is Giroud to win the header, flicking it into the path of Rambo who gets away from defender and as the goalkeeper comes out, Rambo does a lovely little (Vela) type chip over the keeper and it’s 3-1 and goodnight Vienna.

Rambo makes it 3-1

The ref blows the final whistle and that makes it two-out-of-two and six-points for the Gunners in the Champions League. Not the best of first halves, picked up at the start of the second and finished the last 25mins well on top and controlling the game.

Mannone had that horrible moment in the first half and once in the second he came out for a ball dropping out of the sky with no real pressure and almost mucked it up. Looked like a 2-year-old trying to catch the ball. Didn’t really have much chance with the gaol. Gibbs and Jenkinson both took up where they left off against Chelsea and had very good games, Gibbs got a well-earned call-up to the national side. Jenkinson was the lad that many wanted out and not good enough. What was it now…. That’s it DEADWOOD!!! Koscielny did alright, one poor tackle which got a yellow but could have been worse and the lad is still settling into the side for this season. TV5 well he is still making some strange decisions with his passing out of defence and giving away far too many free kicks where teams can hurt us. Verminator also likes to maraude up front too often and gets caught out.

Arteta. Talk about Mr Reliable another 103 passes during the game and along with Xavi the highest number of passes in Europe this season so far. Has a wonderful range of passing. Also can get stuck in when needed. Oxo. Not his best game. battled away manfully early on and does at least try to run at defenders and take them on and you always feel he is going to create something, exciting player, however, he faded as the game wore on for me.

Cazorla for me had anther good game, not his best for his standard, but he has been pretty consistent so far this season and played in all of the important games. Looking forward to maybe seeing a midfield of Jack, Caz, Arteta and Rambo/Diaby. Coquelin another who I felt played well apart from giving a few balls away. Strong lad good in tackle, can pass and I’m sure this lad will go onto good things. Oxo started well busy running at the Olympiakos defenders and getting tackles, even winning the ball back. However, I did sense him looking tired after his initial bursts. Lovely footballer and in time going to be special but no so special in this match. Found it strange that while the game was going on fans were pointing out fault with Gervinho, yet left Oxo free from criticism.

Gervino runs at players, is a good dribbler who causes problems for defenders, keeping them on their toes. Yes he is frustrating at times, in fact quite a lot of times, but for me not as much as Theo. If only he and Theo could just start getting it right 80% of the time we’d score buckets og goals.However, Gervinho is starting to score goals as well as assisting them.  Podolski did not have a great game, was on the edge of it until he popped up and scored his most telling moment in the game, buy hey a goals a goal.

Ramsey did ok when he came on and scored a good goal to settle the match. Sadly, but maybe the best thing for him, he has since lost the captaincy of Wales. The boys still young with plenty of time ahead of him. always thought he could be our box to box player and he can scored goals. always wants the ball and never hides, tries different things and maybe over does the tekkers a bit, but this is football and I love that stuff during a game, even from opposition. Thought these things should be left until game is safe.

Giroud another who came on and helped pick the team up a little. had a couple of chances to score but denied by the keeper and a block by defender. The goals will come for him. Also a good flick on for Rambos goal. Theo came on and did his bit down the right. Got crosses in and a few good ones as well. Always feel there should be just that little more from him by now. The feeling that when he does something, the words of Tony Adams come to mind “more luck than judgment”

Overall not a great performance from Arsenal as a team in poor weather conditions, though a few good individual performances. Arsenal managing to get over the line and take the three points, though I’m sure if they play like that against better sides we won’t be getting three points.

Other news from the week.

Monday

Abou Diaby one of Arsene’s new summer signings is out injured for up to three weeks after pulling a thigh muscle in the match against Chelsea. Poor bloke on the treatment table again, never mind Abou apparently has his own one at the training ground.

One of Arsene’s other new summer signing Jack Wilshere makes his long-awaited comeback debut at the Hawthorns against WBA. Jack played 62 mins of the game before being substituted. Looks like there were no ill effects for the lad and I am hoping to see Jack in action around the end of October. Arsenal lost the match 0-1.

Jacks Back.

Some of the great hat-tricks shown here amongst the 250 that have been scored since the premiership started.

Tuesday

Champions league… Robin van Pursestrings scores two goals for Man Utd in Cluj… Are United a one man Team? Apparently RvP has scored over 35% of United’s goal this season. Without his goals United would be 16th in the league.  Does not seem to be the same sort of interest from the media when he plays for United. Last season Arsenal were one man team. Cesc Fabregas scores two goals for Barcelona… Courtesy of @MadRuskiGunner “what is this Arsenal had Talent” LOL’s..

Wednesday

Shalke draw with Montpellier which is good news for Arsenal as we now top the group. Man City can only draw at home to Dortmund and it truth they were lucky and can thank Joe Hart who was on good form and the ref for allowing a very luck penalty to be awarded to City to get them out of jail at the end of the match.

Spursday

Tottenham draw 1-1 with Panathanikos in Greece after being 1-0 up and by all acounts dominated most of the match. Liverpool lost 3-2 at home to Udinese. You rememeber Udinese surely. August last year, Arsenal in the middle of the biggest crisis ever to hit football, yet beat Udinese home and away.

That’s all folks!. Can’t be bothered with Friday.

Now for three points at West Ham. I’m going for a 2-0 win.

Cheers

@harlowgooner

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