The next three fixtures are huge. Two matches against Olympiacos with a north London Derby in between. One is for pride and three points, the other two are not only a chance to progress further in the Europa League Cup but to gain revenge for our exit from this competition a year ago. A late late goal at The Emirates knocked us out.
Much has been said by Mikel Arteta about how the team are playing better than this time last season, how his players need to be calmer, to cut out the errors. Since 2017, we have conceded the most penalties in the Premier League (23), made the most errors leading to a goal (35) and been shown the most red cards (14). (Arsenal.com)
It’s very difficult because a lot is expected in the situation of a football match, but then emotionally we have to be much more calm and much more secure. We have to manage the games much better in certain situations and that comes with maturity and that comes from learning, so every time you do that hopefully you learn and it doesn’t happen again to the same player, but then something happens to a different one.
Playing out from the back will continue. Of course it will because that seems to be the way these days but, it doesn’t mean at all costs.
I will always do that as long as we, all the time, follow our principles and the rules that we have. It’s the way we play, when we decide when to play, when not to play, the type of football we have to play with the right distances, the right feet. If not, we don’t play. If you don’t have the right structure, you don’t play. It’s too risky. It’s what you gain from the risks that are there, and the rewards have to much bigger than the risks. When it’s not, you don’t have to play. If it’s a no-play zone, you don’t have to play.
Common sense says don’t faff around when an opposition player or two is pressing hard from the front.
Which is exactly what Arsenal need to do tonight. Put pressure on the Olympiacos defence which should include Sokratis. A player who also knows what it’s like to make errors in the box. He’s a pusher and shover so get at him and force a mistake. Youssef El-Arabi was the heartbreaker in last season’s tie so he’s one to watch. Ousseynou Ba, although tall and strong, can be clumsy as he was against Man City in the Champions League fixtures. Yann M’Vila, is another player we’ve heard all about after the years of being linked to Arsenal but his stint on loan at Sunderland was to be his only time in the Premier League.
Olympiacos are flying high domestically, sitting top of their League table but in all honesty, I reckon Arsenal would be top of the Greek League. Perhaps more significant is them winning just one of their Champions League group fixtures and that was against Marseille with a goal in the 92 minute.
Arsenal are very hit and miss. Mostly miss when it comes to scoring goals of late. ESR is the only doubt for tonight’s fixture, the rest are fit. Martinelli is fit. He’s South American, he’s determined, he’ll run at their defence and he’s likely to bring more to the team than Willian, or Pepe for that matter. Certainly from the bench. I think we need a goal, probably more if we to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. Everyone needs to be on their A game. Mikel Arteta as much as the players because his substitutions can change a game.
See you in the comments.