Gervinho sparkles in Arsenal handbrake win against Olympiacos | Koscielny and Vermaelen a cause for concern again

by & filed under Match report.

I slipped into the ground nice and early last night. My phone worked for precisely 17 seconds, then I was in. As part of the Arsenalisation of the stadium, it’d be nice if you could get wifi or a signal. Replays on your phone would be pretty exciting as would the ability to catch up on the scores through the game… and tweet on the hashtag Arsenal set up pre-game.

Anyway, no sooner had the game started, the heaven opened! I sit just far enough away from the front row to avoid the wet. I feel for the people who get drenched.

The game was a whole heap of nothingness for most of the first half. We weren’t playing badly, but we were definitely jammed in second gear for most of it. The Greeks didn’t really offer too much in the way of anything really. There were no stand out players for them. Our first shot came from Cazorla freekick that was acrobatically tipped over. I have to say, I was shocked he hit the target!

Gervinho was lively in the opening moments, getting in behind there defence a few times with no luck on goal.

Koscielny was lucky not to see red after diving into a challenge wildly on the halfway line. When it’s wet and you fly in, it usually doesn’t end in a yellow.

The first warning signs about our suspect centre backs came when Olympiacos fired a cross into the middle of the box. Koscielny had lost his man and left Jenkinson to deal with two players, luckily the man who nipped in front of him some how managed to fire it over from 6 years. Laurent, where were you?

Down other end Gervinho breached the Greek defence but failed to turn his shot round the keeper, his movement and general hustle had their back four concerned.

Our opener came when Gervinho took the ball off a dithering off balance Arteta and fired a accurate shot back across goal into the bottom corner. A superb finish from the on fire Ivorian.

Their goal came just before the half finished. another ball was flown into the box from the left, it managed to slip between both Koscielny and Vermalen, leaving the striker an easy finish. Neither attacked the ball, with Vermaelen footing most of the blame. Poor defending, just reinforcing my concerns about their ability to play with each other. It was just too easy.

Half time stats didn’t read well. We had two chances versus their 7, we hadn’t found our groove despite 66% possession. We needed to liven things up in midfield and improve the accuracy of our shoddy passing.

Arsenal announced what sounded like a sub at half time for a competition… not very smart.

The second half started with a bit more fight. Gervinho showed great composure on the byline to cut the ball back to Cazorla who turned his shot wide with a terrible 8 yard shot. He really is garbage in front of goal. Hopefully he’ll snap out of it. He’d be good for 15 a year if he found his aim.

Gervinho showed what he was capable of once again out wide when he played a deft one two with Cazorla, he waltzed into the box on the left, bodged his first pass, landed a second chance, cut it back to Lukas who turned and powered it through a quagmire of players legs, including the keepers. A solid finish from the German.

Some crazy UEFA rule meant you the minutes weren’t shown on the score board, this resulted in people leaving way before the end to beat the rush. They also didn’t have the players names up, which was a bit irritating for match reports.

Back to the game, things went from bad to worse for Laurent. He conspired to head over from 6 yards. It looked easier to keep the ball under the bar if truth be told!

The referee was useless it has to be said. He was floating around the pitch like some sort of reality TV ballet dancer getting decisions wrong left, right and centre.

Giroud came on for what might have been ten minutes, or twenty. He looked sharp after his initial 3 minutes where he fell over quite a lot. He managed to get on the end of a Theo cross and nearly put the ball in from a corner. I feel for him, I think there’s something there, things just aren’t dropping for him.

Giroud gears up for a miss...

However, he did manage to make himself our top assister late on with a knock on to Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman tore into the box and jinked it quite beautifully into the empty net. It’s moments like that which make staying till the end more than worth it… even though the train crush after was pretty horrendous.

Ramsey and Gervinho showing composure? Pinch me… Mila Kunis, I said f*cking pinch me now.


The game closed out 3-1 to the good guys but bar the result I didn’t feel there was a was a whole lot to celebrate. It was quite a disjointed performance that almost felt like justified complacency. They were poor, we knew that, so we sat in second gear most of the game.

Our centre backs were frightening this evening. If we give Carroll that much freedom on Saturday (assuming he’s fit) we’ll struggle to keep a clean sheet. I can’t work out what the issue is. Is it a lack of height, is it that they both like to play the recovery defender, is it a lack of communication?

Stand out performance of the evening went to Gervinho. He was the touch paper that set our second half alight. He was efficient on the ball, he was composed and he was a danger wherever he ran. The full backs deserve another mention this week. They once again resisted the temptation to bomb forward, instead helping to steady the ship at the back.

Podolski grew with the game after a very quiet start. He’s definitely a player who feeds off the energy of others. When Cazorla woke up, so did he.

One player who is disappointing me at the moment is Chamberlain. Has he been bitten by the ‘I landed a new deal before I’d achieved anything’ bug… Or does he just need a shot in the arm? Or an injection of whatever fuels Frimpong? It’s all a bit reserved, a bit too handbrake on for me… I’m almost preferring Theo, which is a admission and a half. He needs to watch Sterling play. No fear, total enthusiasm.

Final mentions go to Arteta, who had a superb game in midfield despite a few dodgy passes early on. If there’s anyone we need to keep fit over the next few weeks, it’s that man. A top, top player who embodies what it is to be a professional footballer. Also, Giroud… it’ll come good for him. He cares about scoring and he cares he’s not doing it at the moment. Gervinho is justifying his selection at the moment, but I’m sure Olivier’s time will come.

West Ham on Saturday, one of my favourite London derbies… my local London Derby if you will. I can’t wait… Hammer baiting is an event I’ve missed. I’ll have a guest preview coming your way as well.

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Right, that’s it, see you int the comments!


220 Responses to “Gervinho sparkles in Arsenal handbrake win against Olympiacos | Koscielny and Vermaelen a cause for concern again”

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  1. Ash79

    France manager Didier Deschamps says Arsene Wenger should leave the job of selecting the national team to him, after the Arsenal manager stated that Abou Diaby should not have been picked for the international matches against Finland and Belarus.

    “I want to remind him that I am the only one to decide who will be picked and how long those who are picked will play.” Deschamps says.

  2. Josip Skoblar

    I agree with you. If that’s what Wenger is trying to do then I say that it’s short-sighted and his decision will backfire. I don’t think Gerv has what it takes to be a striker. How can we know if Giroud is good or not if the best he can get is the last ten minutes of a game against a weaker team?

  3. Kushagra India

    October 4, 2012 12:15:58

    Gambon: So much for “Bould has saved the defence”Easy to solve it. Sergio Ramos 40 m + Hummels 40 m + Bruno Alves 40 m + Subotic 40 mHey did Arsenal keep some 160 m cash pile O yea O yea Spend Spend Gambon Spend

    but seriously comment section needs some of the old guard

  4. Kripakar Marur

    Mannonne out. Damian Martinez in. An outfield player standing on the line will perform better than him. This can happen only at Arsenal. He is a League One keeper at best. God I almost miss Almunia.

  5. goonerDNA

    Josip, As if its not bad enough Polodski is played out wide so none of the RVP void is placed on his shoulders Giroud has become the RVP replacement when we actually signed 2 strikers BUT no Theo isn’t trusted anymore so Polodski has a new defined position, we should’ve signed another winger.

  6. Iceman

    About Gervais, I think Wenger is adding a new Dynamic to Gervinho’s game, at the same time settling Giroud in slowly….we dont have other CF options besides Chamakh and Poldi….and the latter doesn’t do as well as Gervinho in the CF position, and protects the left back admirably. As for Chamakh ay i dunno. Will he even be used?

  7. Josip Skoblar

    I agree since he’s injured. I just note that Wenger doesn’t get along with any of the French coaches, past and present (Platini, Blanc and Deschamps). Mind you, both parties have conflicting interests, so fair enough.

  8. this ibo boy


    thanks for that info. hope the jinx is broken, so we can start winning those long-due trophies. i’ve got this hunch, our sunshine days are here again.

  9. SDE

    Josip SkoblarOctober 4, 2012 14:44:26

    That’s what he’s exactly trying to do..Turn Gerv,into the next Henry..

    I mentioned this last night…

    Poor Theo,looks like Gerv,might snatch that much coveted Henryesque legacy medal..

    Jokes aside,I think the madman-OGL should leave asap!!

  10. SDE

    Kripakur Marur

    Diaby not included in French squad. Calling him up would have been dumb from any perspective, nation or club.

    You forgot to add & building your team around him,given his propensity to break down every 5 minutes,over the last 5 years,is also pretty dumb..

    More so,if you’ve got no contingency plan in place-eh Wenger?

  11. Iceman

    Tho i do still hope we buy a CF in January….and not a kid. BUT I have this funny feeling that i’m suyre evrybody else has, that if Gervais makes a success of that position then well, the res is all too obvious aint it.

  12. Thomas

    Bade @

    CR7 is a fucking machine. Just insane. I can’t name one other footballer who had 158 goals in his 154 first games for a club.

  13. Waylander

    Iceman, I don’t think we will buy a forward unless its Fernando Llorente on the cheap, I have a feeling that he’s going to get him for a Freebie in June next year so won’t want to spend any money on that position. Lets face it he doesn’t like to spend money full stop :)

  14. Herkules

    Give the lads a break – it was a miserable – wet nasty weeknight – with a tired squad battling the flu – almost no crowd energy to move them forward – and you know what – they found a way to win… that’s what the good teams do.

    2 years back that would been a draw

  15. fraz

    If wenger manages to turn gervinho into half d player henry was, will never complain bout his flaws, ever. fair game. turn that into half d player pires was.

  16. goonerDNA

    AA23 he’s one of our top earners who gets a run out in the Capital one cup at first I thought giving Theo and AA23 a bench role was a good idea only if it motivates them to do better but if you’re not going play them at all whats the point of keeping them around to drop in value.

    AA23 should of come on for Le coq yesterday OX should of gone into the mid and Cazorla out wide

  17. Ash79

    No Diaby :-)

    France squad

    Goalkeepers: Lloris (Tottenham), Mandanda (Marseille), Landreau (Lille)

    Defenders: Clichy (Manchester City), Evra (Manchester United), Jallet (Paris St Germain), Sakho (Paris St Germain), Rami (Valencia), Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier), Koscielny (Arsenal), Debuchy (Lille)

    Midfielders: Cabaye (Newcastle), Gonalons (Lyon), Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Valbuena (Marseille), Sissoko (Toulouse), Capoue (Toulouse), Diarra (Anzhi Makhachkala)

    Forwards: Benzema (Real Madrid), Giroud (Arsenal), Gomis (Lyon), Menez (Paris St Germain), Ribery (Bayern Munich)

  18. marxdrive

    The Ox has had his wings clipped. Just like Arshavin his talent lies in going forward. Putting him on the flank with instructions to be more defensive, is a waste of his natural talent.

    I kind of agree with goonerDNA. But instead of a straight swap of Ox and Caz, let them interchange as the game flows. That will not only let both of them express themselves where their most dangerous. But also give the opposition two different problems to solve.

  19. Hassan Azana

    LeProf October 4, 2012 09:20:30

    “Nothing is right for Gambon…nothing nothing…except himself…”

    I don’t like Gambon too but I think you are obsessed by him.

  20. chiedozie

    Ox was so poor I was mad he lasted the first half. A Morinho as a coach would have pulled him off in 20 mins. That is the only way to make players ready to play when they get the chance.

  21. Roughchops

    Excellent review. I totally agree with you about Arteta. I remember him in his Glasgow Rangers days he was fantastic, a joy to watch and a good hammer when he lets fly. Let’s hope he can hammer one in this weekend.

  22. Graham O'Keeffe

    Great result and bar the abject display in defence(bring back per as he is obviously the steadying influence the defence needs) and push verm forward into diabys position as coqueling was woeful and is a doubt now anyhow….I thought we played quite well all in all and got the job done…

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  23. AC Gooner

    Just watching the highlights now as the match is a bit fuzzy in my memory.

    I hope Vermaelen had the flu last night. Because he made a ton of mistakes and needs an excuse.

  24. tippitappi

    just read the post , yea I like the West Ham derby my local derby too joined the hammers priority ticket line as always only to find it clashes with a poxy wedding reception in deepest Essex ,damm

  25. BacaryisGod

    Let’s be clear for a second. Vermaelen is not a defensive midfielder. His speed of thought just isn’t there. Besides, he can’t keep himself from bombing forward now so how will he do so in defensive midfielder position? Diaby being out for 3 (more likely 6 weeks) is bad news but not a disaster. Coquelin was poor early on but grew into the game and Ramsey, JW and Rosicky are still options in that position this season.

    The good news is that we’re finding goals from positions and players we need to get them from. Gervinho and Podolski are looking like sharpshooters right now, and Giroud seems to get 2-3 chances a game. He’s been unlucky a few times and nervous on others. The nerves will disappear when the luck turns.

    Finally, the positions most fans were worried about have turned out to be our greatest strength. Gibbs and Jenkinson were again outstanding. This bodes well for the future, particularly with my man Bacary getting the grumbles.

    Taking a step back from the doom and gloom, here’s the cold hard stats:

    Goals For: 22
    Goals Against: 7
    Wins: 5
    Losses: 1
    Draws: 3

    Not ideal, but certainly a solid start to the season.

  26. JJ

    I thought Bould had taught our back 4 some discipline… Vermaelen bombing forward when we are winning games makes everyone else panic.

    Why do our wingbacks still bomb forward when we are winning? Completely unnecessary and will cost us points in the long run.

    Bould needs to smack some heads after that brainless defensive performance.

  27. mystic

    Hands up all those that think Gervinho is anywhere near as good as RvP. Please keep those hands up if you knew that after nine games last season (udinese qualifers excluded), Rvp had 4 goals – this season Gervinho has 5 goals!

    Oh fuck and I wanted Wenger to sell Gervinho last summer.

  28. Johnny5


    I said gerv would come good back before RVP went to united. I said he would step up this year and was laughed at by some of the same people who are wetting themselves over him scoring goals. I’d say he’s still way off being a polished finisher but he’s picking it up….. Slowly!

  29. JJ

    I really wish Areteta was captain. Someone needs to tell Vermaelen that he is a centre back, not centre forward…

  30. Samir masri

    Wilshire, cazorla and offcourse arteta should be automatic starters. And diaby will be in and out of the team because of his fitness issues .

  31. mystic

    LocalCelebrityOctober 4, 2012 17:48:39
    ‘gervinho has no composure in front of goal, hence the reason he fucks up more chances than he gets……worse version of adebayor’

    My gut instinct agrees with you, but the evidence of the first 9 games doesn’t – last season RvP had scored 4, this season Gervinho has 5.

  32. Johnny5


    I agree but I think he’s getting a slight bit better at each technique game after game the only problem is that he can’t do them all at the same time I.e he can’t make good runs and finish them well or can finish them well but can’t pass lol


    I think cazorla would be devastating as rwf in Theo’s usual starting position.

  33. JJ

    Mannone is a disaster waiting to happen (again). At one stage last night the ball was rocketed straight up in the air. He should have caught it above his head but ended up catching in it shin-high and uncontested. A serious wtf moment.

  34. Johnny5


    That’s an interesting stat but he’s defo no RVP and once giroud starts scoring I can see him not getting that many starts. If I’m wrong and he scores more than RVP wenger will flog him for 25m next summer lol

  35. Samir masri

    Spain use him in lots of attacking positions. We should play him in a position where he would be more effective for the team.

  36. mystic

    Johnny5 agree with your faith in Giroud, I think he will still come good, but assume that Gervinho scores against West Ham, do you think that Wenger would think about dropping him after the interlull, until he goes a few games without a goal I just can’t see it.

  37. Johnny5


    I don’t think he’s given complete freedom wenger would never allow that but kinda like he did for the Liverpool game but a bit further up the field literally on the shoulder of gerv or giroud

  38. Thomas

    Giroud and Gervinho are both shit. Just not good enough for Arsenal. We need a Higuain, Falcao, Cavani caliber player.

  39. zeus

    Cavani doesn’t have the balls to try his luck at a big club.

    Falcao is quality, but suffers with confidence of crisis.

    Higuain can be frustratingly profligate.

    I have no idea why I just typed all of that, but since I did, I might as well just post. Get the post count up.

  40. Cowleygooner

    Had to share this.
    Some inbred Stoke fan rung up Talkshite and started going into one about Roy Hodgson, saying if Shawcross has been given a call-up then why the hell has ent Robert Huth???
    You know the GERMAN international player lololol
    This is the level of moron that goes too games and boo’s Ramsey for having his leg broken by their Neanderthal centre half.
    Had to laugh at the thick cunt!!!

  41. Cowleygooner

    Nah they just mugged him off once the call ended.
    Just like I did while standing in the kitchen laughing at the radio.

  42. kwik fit

    Glad that Woy didn’t pick our fullbacks for the England squad. They get a rest and hopefully aren’t distracted by the accolades that can be shared upon them. ‘The Ox Factor’

  43. sam


    get your head out of your a$$ please
    gervnho scored 5 goals this season so far
    giroud hasn’t been given enough chance to play
    if i was you i will wait till xmas to call any of them sh!t