Could Arsenal perform game-management – lacking in the last ten minutes against Tottenham?
Not exactly. They prefer Greek drama. And keeping Arsenal fans on the edge of their seats.
It looked as if the number of games were catching up with the players. And the team finds it easier to react to teams, rather than self-generate.
Martin Odergaard showed his class when he came on in the second half and took control of midfield when it was showing a wobble and helped Arsenal win the tie on aggregate.
Aubameyang was back, no Saka, Smooth Rowe returned along with Ceballos, Elneny and Pepe who all started.
Olympiakos changed four from the last week including Holebas and Fortounis.
It only took 30 seconds for Pepe to lose it. But on 15, Bellerin sent him away in a footrace. He beat Sa, but instead of finding an unmarked Aubameyang, Sokratis got something on his shot, and it deflected away from goal.
EL Arabi had a chance direct from a goal kick, with Luiz and Gabriel far too advanced– but Leno saved.
On 23 Gabriel collected from the half-way line sent it to Ceballos who angled a ball into the area for Aubameyang – who should have scored but toe-poked it over the bar.
The game was in a vacuum. Arsenal played OK – but lost it unnecessarily several times. Olympiakos played OK – but didn’t press the Arsenal defence with any intensity.
Ceballos dribbled through and set up Smith Rowe in the Olympiakos area and he tried a top corner curler, which Sa saved comfortably.
Like in the first half – Pepe lost it early within 90 seconds of the start of the second.
Olympiakos looked to have gone up a gear. Luiz was bullied out of a bouncing ball leaving Fortunis a clear shot – wide. Then Holebas had a clear header from a corner.
Ceballos lost it in midfield and El Arabi stepped over in the Arsenal area – fooled Luiz and his shot deflected in off Gabriel. Wobble stations.
Partey came on for Elneny and Odergaard, new Norwegian captain, for Ceballos. Smith Rowe set Pepe on a run, but his cross found Sa.
Xhaka sent Tierney away. He crossed low and Pepe met it coming in from the right and hit it on target – but it bounced off Smith Rowe.
Partey gave a free kick away in a dangerous position, like on Sunday. But Luiz jumped bravely and headed it out. The Good, The Bad and the David Luiz.
Arsenal were getting in a mess. Partey lost it in front of the penalty box. Bellerin missed a clearance. And Luiz was luck to trap the ball and boot it away in a pirouette.
Odergaard set up Pepe and the ball rebounded to the Norwegian for a great chance – but he sent it over the bar.
Then he set up the Ivorian up again– but he shot straight at Sa.
Xhaka set Aubameyang away with a one on one with Sa. He waited for the goalkeeper to go to ground – but his lob, lacked conviction and it dribbled wide.
Martinelli came on for Smith Rowe and started to drive down the wing but was elbowed by the Senegalese defender Ba, who was yellow carded. He punched the ball in anger and got a second yellow.
Luiz set Martinelli away, who crossed. Aubameyang’s back-heel saved by Sa, with his bicycle kick from the rebound going over.
Tierney and Xhaka got booked unnecessarily in the final minutes. Something that may come back to haunt.
Arsenal: 1Leno, 2Bellerín (Substituted for Chambers at 82’minutes), 23David Luiz, 6Gabriel 3Tierney, (Booked at 90mins), 25Elneny (Substituted for Partey at 57’minutes), 34Xhaka (Booked at 86mins), 19Pépé 8Ceballos (Substituted for Ødegaard at 57’minutes), 32Smith Rowe (Substituted for Martinelli at 81’minutes), 14Aubameyang
Olympiakos:1Malheiro de Sá, 24Ba (Booked twice at 82mins), 15Papastathopoulos, 25Holebas, 14Androutsos (Booked at 35mins, Substituted for Tué Na Bangna at 62’minutes),6M’VilaBooked at 72mins), 4Camara, 45Reabciuk (Substituted for Lala at 84’minutes),19Masouras (Substituted for Randjelovic at 63’minutes), 11El-Arabi, 7Fortounis (Substituted for Bouchalakis at 84’minutes).