By Walter Broeckx
A few changes compared to our match against Leicester. Some forced and some by choice.
Ospina comes in goal and Coquelin is declared fit and will start. Gabriel also comes in the side and Gibbs was also starting. And Oxlade-Chamberlain also in the starting line up.
Per Mertesacker was given a birthday present by giving him some rest on the bench (don’t know if he likes such a present). Arteta and Flamini are injured and Giroud is banned because of some ref giving him 2 yellow cards in the first match of the CL.
The Arsenal team in full: Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Gabriel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Alexis, Walcott
On the bench we had: Cech, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Ramsey, Monreal, Chambers, Campbell.
The Greek team hanging back from the start with most of their players and Arsenal slowly trying to find some opening but not really leading to clear cut chances. Olympiacos get a corner but Arsenal can clear and counter, the ball goes to Oxlade-Chamberlain but he shoots against the outside of the post. The first real big chance of the match after 10 minutes. My stream doing difficult for a few minutes but when I return to the Emirates still no score after 17 minutes.
Arsenal not as dominant as in the opening stages now but a long distance shot from Olympiacos hobbles harmlessly wide. Both keepers not really busy up to now.
Just after the half hour mark Gabriel and Kos almost get in eachothers way and Olympiacos have a chance but it is diverted in to a corner. The corner is being pulled back to the edge of the penalty area and the shot from Pardo hits Oxlade-Chamberlain and goes in the goal. 0-1 to Olympiacos and the second own goal from Oxlade-Chamberlain in the second CL match.
But Olympiacos cannot enjoy long from their advantage. Alexis with a great ball to Theo and Theo beats the keeper to make the score level. GOAL!!!!! 1-1 after 35 minutes.
Olympiacos with another corner that swings in and Ospina couldn’t hold on to the ball and spilled it and somehow it fell over the line and Olympiacos take the lead again. A bad moment for Ospina this time. 1-2 after 40 minutes. No goal line technology (???) in the CL but the 5th official gives the goal. Two own goals from Arsenal. Alexis gets a yellow card for dissent after disputing a goal kick. The ref was right.
Gabriel gets a yellow for a too strong tackle. 1-2 after 45 minutes.
My stream went down at the start of the second half so missed the first 5 minutes. Koscielny goes down a while after having made a great block to stop a Greek counter. Per Mertesacker making himself ready and Kos goes off after 56 minutes. Not the substitution you want to make when you are behind. Ramsey comes on after 59 minutes and Coquelin goes off as can be expected at this stage when you are behind.
Arsenal then has two shots in succesion on goal but first the keeper saves the effort from Per and then Santi is stopped by a defender on the goal line. That should have been the equaliser. Theo with a great run but he cannot keep the ball in play or get a shot in. A cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain is clawed away from under the cross bar in to a corner. Santi with a shot after the corner but a great stop from the keeper. A curler from Alexis goes wide. Arsenal really putting the pressure on. Roberto the Olympiacos keeper finally getting a yellow card after his time wasting antics. Theo with a great cross to the middle and Alexis in the middle with a header to make it 2-2 after 65 minutes.
But then Olympiakos goes right up the other end and scores through Finnbogasan after Arsenal didn’t really clear their line. 2-3 after 66 minutes. The whole team looked to have switched off after the equaliser. Could the team react after such a blow?
Cambiasso gets a yellow card for handball just outside the Olympiacos penalty area. And Fortounis for not getting to the required distance. Özil with a great free kick but the keeper with a great save and Oxlade-Chamberlain cannot get his foot around the ball to put it over the line.
Özil then getting a card as a player runs in from behind against his arm. That wasn’t even a foul. Olympiacos now opening all registers on time wasting. Oxlade-Chamberlain with a shot after a free kick but the deflection takes it wide. Some teams have all the luck, and Arsenal is not that team today.
Alexis with a diving header but the ball goes wide in to a corner. Bellerin goes off and Campbell comes on with 5 minutes to go. Alexis with a dipping free kick but again Roberto with a save.
Walcott with a run from the left but he cannot bend it in the far corner. Arsenal play all or nothing but it is one of those days that it is nothing.
For some strange reason everyting seems to go wrong in the CL this season. Oxlade-Chamberlain who twice puts the ball in his own goal in two matches, Ospina who has a howler and concedes a terrible owngoal.
And just when we seem to play them off the pitch and come back from those two unlucky goals we switch off for a second and give Olympiakos the only real chance and a goal in the second half. We completely lost our composure in that minute with not enough balance in the team. The third goal was a goal we didn’t really recover from anymore.
Let’s hope we don’t have a too big set back from this defeat and that the players can recharge in time for next Sunday.