I really hate writing after a defeat.
I find it a major chore, but hey you guys read what I write so I have an obligation.
*sigh* The things i do for y’all
So it was that we lost to Olympiacos yesterday night in our second game and right now it is a stark reality that we could find ourselves playing on Thursday nights…or not at all. It was disappointing on so many levels.
Most people who know me know that for the most part I support Arsene. I feel some of the criticism he’s come under has been harsh, but I also feel some of it has been warranted and for me, last night was totally him.
When I saw Ospina starting ahead of Cech, honestly, I didn’t fuss, but I did raise an eyebrow. If I was in his shoes (and I guess that’s the same for everyone) I would have started my best goalkeeper for a game of that magnitude. Sure it was ‘only’ Olympiacos, but when you lose your first game, it’s only reasonable that you want to do better in your second and you play your best team. The exclusion of Cech and Monreal really surprised me. I didn’t panic, but I was slightly baffled.
Now in the cold light of day with another defeat, we have to ask questions; why leave those players on the bench? Why would a defence concede three goals at home and why the hell will your goalkeeper catch the ball inside the net? Oxlade Chamberlain started and he was anonymous for most of the game, he only came alive later on. The defence wasn’t very good on the night and Ospina was poor as was Ozil. Too many players that should be doing well were disappointing.
Now to have a real shot at coming out of the group we’ll need at least 4 points from both Bayern games, a big ask for most teams and almost impossible for us the way we’re going and maximum points against the other too, another big ask considering the fact that we’ve traditionally struggled against Olympiacos away from home.
One could say the players were poor and should have done better and that’s a valid point, but it’s the manager that put them out on the field, so it’s his responsibility. You have a responsibility to put out your best team and Arsene didn’t and now we find ourselves in a situation we cannot say we envisaged. The choice of Ospina is a decision that’s going to haunt Arsene for a while because apart from a generally poor showing, the inane second goal he conceded came at a very, very bad time. We had equalized, you could see the team beginning to click and then, boom, we’re down again.
The same happened with the third goal. I feel Gibbs should have been out of the box defending, stopping the cross from coming in and I feel Mert should have done much better at shielding and for it to come a minute after we equalize was truly galling. All in all it was a night to forget.
I know it sounds all doom and gloom, but there were bright spots. Alexis is showing that he is truly back to his best and I am loving Theo more and more and you can see that there’s an understanding between the two beginning to truly blossom that could cause opposition defences much trouble. They both scored and assisted for each other and I think that’s an encouraging sign.
We’re scoring again and that’s good, but we really need to tighten up at the back which is becoming an issue. We’re leaking goals and that can never be healthy. We play Man U next and you get the sense that things could turn ugly so quickly if we don’t get a result from that. Let’s keep fingers crossed that we can do something there, but I just know that Arsene needs to ask himself some questions now, maybe for once we’ll actually learn from our mistakes.