Shock, horror and barely believable, Arsenal contrived to lose yet another game in their Champions League group and their progression into the knockout round looks extremely tough since they have to play Bayern Munich twice in the next set of games.
The Gunners started the campaign with a loss to Dynamo Zagreb and were expecting to put that to rest as they took on the Greek side Olympiakos. Arsenal were expected to batter their opponents in front of the home crowd at the Emirates but what they got at the end was a reminder that no team can be taken lightly in this competition.
Olympiakos might have been seen as the whipping boys of the group and that could have played on the minds of the Arsenal team. Arsene Wenger had spoken of the need for the Gunners to win this game and get their Champions League campaign back on track, but the team faltered badly and now are in a deep soup.
Ospina in but why?
Arsenal had brought in just one player in the transfer window, Petr Cech, who was brought in primarily to fix the issue of Arsenal not having a top quality goalkeeper, yet it was his understudy David Ospina who started the game for the Gunners.
Ospina’s error cost Arsenal the second goal they conceded when he spilled a corner into the goal. Arsene must be asked why was the Columbian put into the goal when Arsenal had Petr Cech on the bench. The notion that Cech was injured simply does not hold true, if he was not fit enough to start then he shouldn’t have been on the bench either.
Arsene had brought a player like Cech into the team to deal with such big games, this was a big game where the qualification of the team hinged, but keeping Cech on the bench made absolutely no sense.
While Arsene might argue that Ospina is the goalkeeper for the cups and Cech for the league, Barcelona succeeded with that policy last season as Ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo were rotated to great extent, the manager should take the blame for the naivety and soft nature of the team, something that has come back to haunt them time and time again.
Whenever Arsenal equalised, it was Olympiakos which went straight ahead and scored. The need to take a breath and then think about the next move was simply missing from the Gunners and this naivety in their team cost them last season as well in the knockout round against Monaco and has come back to haunt them this season as well.
Arsene might have had an eye on the Manchester United clash on Sunday, but now they have a mountain to climb if they are to qualify for the knockout stage. Beating Bayern Munich once is a tough ask, let alone defeating them twice, for all their attacking intent, it is their defence which has been found out once again and if anyone is to be blamed for this it has to be Arsene Wenger.