Arsenal Beaten Again in European Champions League

Who is Really to Blame for Arsenal’s Failures?

I was doubly pissed off last night. First of all, I found out that despite all of the money I pay for satellite TV and one game being covered on domestic TV here, there was no live coverage of the Arsenal European Champions League game.

I switched off all media and got up at 6:00AM to watch a delayed broadcast of Arsenal v Olympiakos. I really wish I hadn’t!

I am a dyed in the wool Arsenal fan and eternal optimist, with huge faith in the team and the coach that we have. I don’t expect miracles and to compete with the obscene spending of Chelsea, Manchester City and the two Spanish giants. But I do believe that we have a squad that is more than capable of beating sides like West Ham, Dinamo Zagreb, Chelsea (on this season’s form) and Olympiakos.

Once again they conspired to prove me wrong.

Sloppy Defending was the Sole Cause of the Defeat.

Many Arsenal ‘fans’ will once again blame the boss and again he made one selection decision that baffled me and proved fatal.

All of the Arsenal goalkeepers of recent years have been capable of poor decisions and silly mistakes. For that reason, Arsenal’s only significant purchase, of a spectacularly quiet transfer season, was one of the most accomplished and successful goalkeepers in the history of the Premier League. But for some reason Arsene Wenger chose to play his understudy in this crucial game.

The only reason that I can see for this, is to keep David Ospina happy. As he has been demoted from first choice, Wenger seems to believe that he has to give him a game in all of the cup competitions. I’m sorry, but the European Champions League is too important for that.

Ospina made a complete hash of a ball into his area from a corner, parrying it just inside the goal line. This is exactly the sort of mistake that he, Wojciech Szczęsny and Łukasz Fabiański have made over recent years and have cost Arsenal so dear. It is also the very reason that the club spent £10,000,000 on a highly respected keeper, who is expected to make far fewer of those errors.

Olympiakos’ other two goals came from disorganisation and lack of commitment on behalf of the Arsenal defenders. People will again point the finger at selection choices, but everyone fielded is more than capable of performing better than they did last night and in their previous Champions League outing.

I have difficulty deciding if this is a training or attitude issue. It’s probably both.

Lack of Spending

Many are still complaining about the lack of spending in the close season and yes it would have been great to pick up a top striker and defensive midfielder that are needed. But doing so is not the simple task that many seem to believe that it is. It very much depends on who becomes available, whether they fit into the Arsenal structure and if some other club does not come in with an outrageously ridiculous offer to secure them, at the cost of the club’s financial security and integrity. Remember, no one else is playing by the same rules as the aforementioned Chelsea, Manchester City and Spanish giants.

Arsenal have created more goal scoring opportunities than any other Premier League club this season and goals continue to come from all over the pitch. If they just conceded fewer, they would be competing at the level that all Arsenal fans want them to. The first step in that direction is surely to play Petr Čech, the best goalkeeper that they have, whenever he is available.

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