Two Greek side cames to London and both lost rather easily to Arsenal sides respectively. The first team battled each other at Emirates Stadium in Matchday 2 of the Champions League with Arsenal ending up victorious in a one-sided match.
Robin Van Persie continued his purple patch of form with his third goal in as many games. Two in the Premier League and another while turning up in the orange colours of Holland. Coupled that with the 4 assists, it is easy to understand how he have become one of the most important member of the squad. He will need to learn to control his aggression though. There was a moment in the second half where he almost lost it. The frustation of still being level up to that point was bearing on RVP. His late challenge on a Olympiakos defender was worthy of a yellow card without doubt. He should’ve just accepted it and the ensuing remonstration with the opposition was unneccessary.
The second goal came 5 minutes from the end when Andrey Arshavin scored wonderfully off the back of his right heels. Although I’ll admit that the Greek side were hard done by the second goal. Arshavin was clearly in an offside position when Fabregas squared the ball to him. Arshavin floated in and out of the game. He hugged the bylines for most of the match just like he did in the Fulham game and was not as threatening as we expected him to be. Maybe he is trying too hard to do it all on his own. He is yet to sparkle like he did last season. Though it was absolutely commendable of him to chase back to win the ball back. On a few occasion he managed to nicked it off the opposition who was caught unaware of the Russian’s presence.
As most reports and reviews of the game showered Wenger and Arsenal with adulation, somehow I’m taking a slightly different take on the match. Was I watching the same match? Hmmm….
Other than the opening 10 or 20 minutes where Arsenal pelted Nikopolidis with shots at his goal, the rest of the game limped on in a very slow pace. If anything, it was really apparent to me that the current available players lacked real speed going forward. At times when there was a counter attack to be had, the players looked laboured and was quickly covered by the Greeks. No one was willing to take on players and run at them. Even when we were chasing for the winner, some players were still running casually after the ball. Was it patience and confidence that the goal would come? Or does it seem that the desire was lacking? To me it looked like the latter because at 75th minute, I was worried that the goal may not come.
In the second Arsenal vs Olympiakos match, Theo Walcott got 60 minutes worth of football as the reserves side replicated the 2 goal winning margin. Sunu, Frimpong and Murphy got the goals but the return to fitness of Walcott was the major story here. With him back, he will surely rectify the pace issue I mentioned above. The team that was played was almost the Carling Cup squad as Wilshere, Watt, Barazite, Coquelin and Randall also featured.
Another win in the Champions League yesterday set Arsenal on the way to the second phase. A few of them may get a chance to rest this weekend with Blackburn visiting the Emirates. Time to heal the niggling injuries and knocks.
More tomorrow. Have a good day.