WHY DID YOU BLOODY PLAY SANTOS
1-0 Djebbour 16'
2-0 David Fuster 36'
2-1 Benayoun 57'
3-1 Modesto 89'
Two goalkeeping mistakes and a pretty poor performance from an Arsenal experimental XI saw them lose their final match of the group stage of the Champions League. While the loss itself is annoying, more annoying was the decision to play Andre Santos and Thomas Vermaelen, especially when the former got injured.
Arsenal started brightly against an Olympiacos side that put them under heavy pressure. Andrey Arshavin created a chance for Marouane Chamakh, as did Andre Santos. Both times, the Moroccan, who had a poor game, couldn't score. A defensive mistake of the highest order saw Olympiacos take the lead. First, Andrey Arshavin carelessly lost the ball in the middle, and then Sebastien Squillaci and Johan Djourou failed to communicate, and the latter inadvertently played the former's clearence in behind for Rafik Djebbour. The Algerian rounded an advancing Lukasz Fabianski before slotting home. Poor defending and goalkeeping, but there'd be worse to come.
Soon after, Vermaelen's tackle on Fabianski his removal through injury. Vito Mannone made his first Arsenal appearence in over a year, and it's hard to see why there's been limited opportunity. He did well to head the initial clearance, but after David Fuster hit an opportunistic volley, Mannone, backtracking into his area, inexplicably tried to volley it clear instead of catching the ball. He fell, the ball trickled into the net, and it was effectively game over.
There was more LOL-worthy defending, when Johan Djourou and Sebastien Squillaci gave the ball away with poor passes inside their own penalty area. Andre Santos then missed a header before coming off injured, leading to myself and Ted having an expletive laden conversation over gchat. Yeah, we weren't happy at all.
And now it looks like Santos will be out for a while with an ankle injury. TERRIFIC, ARSENE. TERRIFIC. BRILLIANT JOB; YEAH, PLAY OUR ONLY REMAINING BLOODY FULL BACK AND EVERYTHING WILL GO FINE! BUT IT'S OK, BECAUSE WE HAVE VERMAELEN, WHO'S NEEDED IN THE MIDDLE, BUT HE'LL HAVE TO PLAY FULL BACK NOW. [redacted].
Olympiacos' pressure meant that Arsenal had problems stringing two passes together, but they still got a goal. Ignasi Miquel did well to get down the left before crossing for Marouane Chamakh, who nodded back for Yossi Benayoun, who volleyed superbly to get Arsenal a goal back. Despite the introduction of Tomas Rosicky, who calmed Arsenal's passing, Arsenal couldn't find an equaliser. Olympiacos got the 3rd from a free kick. Mellberg's header crashed the bar, but with Arsenal doing some weird zonal marking/pushing up for offside thing, Modesto tapped home past Vito Mannone.
3-1, and not a great performance. The most disappointing, though, were Sebastien Squillaci, Marouane Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin, along with Vito Mannone who was shockingly bad. And a special mention goes to the manager, who inexplicably played Thomas Vermaelen and Andre Santos. The latter is now out for a long period of time, and with Kieran Gibbs out for another 2-3 weeks, Arsenal will have to put their best defender at left back. That, like the whole match, is very annoying.