Dismal Arsenal drop out of Europa

by & filed under News Review.

The less we say about that game the better. Arsenal put on their worst performance under Arteta. The team was fatigued, the energy was pedestrian, and we were god awful in the final third.

To make matters worse, we conceded a goal early in the second half from a set-piece. Just standard Arsenal, a total mess.

We absolutely controlled possession, but somehow, Olympiacos still looked like they were dictating the terms of the game. In the final third, we were a real mess. Bad decisions, heavy touches, and a real lack of a final ball. I didn’t ever feel like we knew how to win that game.

When the game rolled into extra time, you started to fear the deep block was going to win out. However, Arteta had a trump card, and it was Gabriel for the second 15 of extra time. He made the difference immediately. Olympiacos struggled with fitness and the live wire Brazilian made it difficult with his drive and energy.

The sub paid off. Mesut Ozil found Gabriel with a good cross from the right, his flicked header in the box sat up for Auba who scissor-kicked home. What an outrageous goal. We thought we had a winner.

We did not.

Leno gave away a stupid corner. We cleared at the front post, they picked up the ball, slipped a teasing high ball into the box, Luiz let it go to the back post, Sokratis was beaten to the ball and Leno was late off his line. They equalized.

It wasn’t over for chances though, 2 minutes into the added-on time and Auba was found in the box from 6 yards and somehow he fired wide. Absolutely horrendous.

Arsenal drop from the Europa League. Embarrassing, upsetting, but absolutely deserved. We didn’t show up, we lacked quality in all areas of the pitch, and we didn’t know how to make possession count. These days are hard to stomach, but they were always going to happen as we build to a brighter future. The key thing is that we learn from our mistakes.

Now it’s all about the league. Let’s hope the team has it in them to brush this off and pursue the Champions League the proper way, but winning the 5th place trophy.

I recorded a bonus podcast with Matt last night, we don’t talk about Europa and we do a nice section on Ian Wright.

641 Responses to “Dismal Arsenal drop out of Europa”

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  1. CG


    “””CG ,How can a Hardcore Wenger fanboy fathom the thought of Sean Dyche managing Arsenal who is the literal opposite of Arsene.””

    But are they that opposite?

    I would say they are remarkably similar in so many ways :

    Very loyal to their players
    442 men at heart.
    Never shirk from anything or anyone.
    Defend their players through thick and thin.
    Can build and improve their clubs incrementally,

    Burnley played Man United off the park the other night at Old Trafford ( 2-0 win)
    They beat Soton at their place with some Old Wenger style counter attacking.
    They were the better side than when they played us.

    I don’t care what the phoney progressives,soccer snobs or indeed anyone says.

    Dyche might not be a better coach than Arteta
    but Dyche will always be a better manager than him.

    And I believe proper clubs have managers in charge and not head coaches.
    and always have done.

    Arsenal tried this route with Don Howe in the 80’s.
    They eventually reverted to a manager in George Graham.

    With the mess Arsenal are in they need a proven manager.
    End of argument.

  2. bennydevito

    raptoraFebruary 28, 2020    15:07:21

    Who begged Xhaka and Mustafi to stay? Who basically made them the first names in the starting lineup for how many games in a row?

    Blaming the obvious 3 players (which I 100% agree with especially the notion that their weaknesses will always outweigh their positives) but not the one who laid all of his trust in them after he saw them cost the job of 3 other managers before him.



    I get your point but maybe because Arteta was new he wanted to keep the squad together to evaluate everything for himself. Perhaps he felt he could coach Mustafi and Xhaka better and rekindle Ozil. Perhaps because of injuries and being halfway through the season he felt letting too much experience go in January would have more of a negative effect on our top 4 chances.

    I personally feel Arteta absolutely knows what’s what and will make the changes needed in the summer. Also by getting Mustafi, Xhaka and Ozil playing better and regularly, that will increase their attractiveness and transfer value.

  3. Marko

    I remember when Sol came back for his loan spell he commented on the culture change

    I mean it’s there for all to see some are a little slower to catch up but it’s been pretty obvious in hindsight. It’s more than we used to fight for titles now we fight for top 6 as well there’s just not enough fight and ambition at the club for a long time. I feel like there’s people who are now at the club who do want to address that but it’s really fucking slow to fix it and a bad signing and let’s be honest a bad hire makes it that little bit slower. I think though that that season we make it back to the Champions League we’ll be set on the right path and fine again.

  4. raptora

    “There is no point debating you now. Because black is white to you and the sky is red. You can’t debate someone suffering from that level of denial.”

    Arteta on Xhaka: “I wanted him to hear from me my opinion on him, and that I was ready to support him and that I was ready to push the club to be supportive of him too, because I thought he could be a really, really good player for us and he could enjoy playing under me in this football club. I tried to convince him that way. He thought about it, he had a very positive response afterwards, and I think he changed his mind.”

    Arteta asked if Mustafi could have a long-term future at Arsenal: “When he is my player and when he is training with me the way he does every day, of course. The plans maybe in the summer were different with him,” Arteta said. “I came here, he is here and his attitude is always right. I don’t believe that at 27 you cannot improve certain aspects of the game, I really believe you can. I work with players like this and I have team-mates like this and there is always a moment where there is a click.”

    Mustafi has started in each of our last 8 games in all competitions.
    Xhaka has started in each of our last 11 games in all competitions.
    Ozil has started in each of the last 10 games but two – FAC vs Bournemouth and Olympiacos first leg.

    Tell me how what I’ve said is the opposite of what it really is? I’ll wait a bit.

  5. raptora

    Don: “All the championship managers are out in force. Gleaned all of their footballing knowledge from computer screens. Now they think they have their gold badge. Jokers”

    You want me to dig for diamonds posted by you in the comment section from when Emery was in charge? I guess it was okay to criticize then, but now it’s not. I could look for some if you want me to.

  6. Marko

    Yeah some alarm bells ringing out for sure rap. But I’ll give him the same benefit of the doubt I gave Emery replace in the summer these players and I can get behind you don’t and you’ve only yourself to blame for the likely let down and disappointment.

  7. Left testicle

    I know this is an Arsenal blog where you can have an opinion but don’t you think, sometimes, just sometimes, what’s the point?

    We’re never going to agree with each other, we’re not going to make a difference to team selections or when substitutions are made.

    I’m seriously thinking about giving up on Le-Grove and maybe even watching Arsenal. I just end up feeling angry and frustrated and, to be honest, I could be doing better things with my life than reading the comments of people I don’t care about and, in turn, don’t care for my opinion.

  8. Daniel Altos

    Some of his visible problems like selecting the same team until they basically drop dead like it happened to Mustafi, not rotating, having his favorites (who are not our best players) and playing them regardless of form or fitness, the inability to influence games and help his team when in need, the actual fear to make a substitution when things are visibly falling apart in front of him, then giving an interview how he is proud of us (not having a shot on goal for 75 mins vs a third grade team using so many senior players) or how the grass was too long. I’m not sure he’ll be freeable to fix most of this fast enough if ever.

    I wonder who he learnt this from?I will give you a hint-not Pep

  9. Jim Lahey

    @Marko –

    ” I think though that that season we make it back to the Champions League we’ll be set on the right path and fine again.”

    i truly hope so.

  10. raptora

    Correction – Ozil has started in each of our last 12 games, but 2.

    The stats are with Arteta in charge obviously.

    Ozil has 17 starts in the EPL. Wе scored 26 goals in these games. He has 1 goal and 1 assist. Better make him an auto starter.

  11. Marko

    Jim I think so purely because now that Wenger is gone gone is the days of sitting still and being afraid to get involved in the transfer market. And let’s be honest here the only way we’re going to catch up/keep up/get ahead of our rivals is with better players and a better squad. Something Arsene was never interested in. But anyway maybe I’m wrong Arteta is already showing Wenger like signs in some of the things he’s doing thus far maybe it’s possible he’s not interested in the transfer market as well.

  12. Jim Lahey

    @Left –

    “I’m seriously thinking about giving up on Le-Grove and maybe even watching Arsenal. I just end up feeling angry and frustrated and, to be honest, I could be doing better things with my life than reading the comments of people I don’t care about and, in turn, don’t care for my opinion.”

    You know what, this is 100% bang on really. I think we all waste far too much time on here and could be doing something a lot more productive with that time. Will probably never stop watching Arsenal, but things like this blog are something I can do without. Don’t get me wrong there are some great people here, but the constant bickering and personal attacks makes this place a really negative place to be at times. I think I will start phasing this out in my life.

  13. Champagne Charlie


    You’d maybe have a leg to stand on regarding Xhaka and Mustafi if both had been shit since Xmas. But unfortunately for you they’ve been anything but that.

    Have to say your commentary over the last 24 hours has been near laughable. The level of hysteria is something else entirely. You’re on the list of posters that have humble pie on their horizon, do me a favour and remember that for when you 100% get goaded for it 😉

  14. Jim Lahey

    @Marko –

    I guess time will tell, totally cliched I know. But none of us on here really know how things will pan out! I still have some small hope!

  15. salparadisenyc

    Not only has the culture at Arsenal changed over the course of Kroenke’s full takeover, the league has evolved / advanced with it and Arsenal have been clearly left behind.

    Whilst supposedly instilling a cutting edge modern setup post Wenger we saw two of those key figures leave with Raul ascending in the void, taking on more power. For me the verdict is very much out on his leadership abilities, coupled with owners who aren’t nearly as cutting edge as the competition.

    Doesn’t paint a sexy picture for the future. My hope is that Arteta finds his legs for remainder of season then makes heavy impact in his first proper transfer window. Have to say last night felt far too Wenger for me, knew it would end like that and that and that has to change. Fucking hell we were literally undone from two corners and run out of competition that is a tough pill to swallow.

  16. raptora

    But can you honestly say with a straight face that he’s pumping up the value of Mustafi, Xhaka, Ozil after he’s banked our season on them, laying his trust on them, talking all these superlatives about them? It really feels like he prefers them to the rest of our players. Would he want them sold then?

    I see your point though and absolutely agree with it.
    I said it last season as well. If we start next season with all of these 3 in our squad it will be another failed season.

  17. vickingz

    I really don’t understand the logic behind blaming the players and letting the coach go free on a day like yesterday. There’s more to being a coach than just the trainings and tactics and just on the field activities. There’s the mental side that needs to be addressed to get the players baptized and be up for the game at hand. You can do all these and players won’t just come to the party during matches, there you think of influencing the game via your subs. How has arteta been influencing games via his selection and subs? His early days have been just like emery’s where we were winning or drawing by lady luck but being directionless, though we appear a little less directionless as we were under emery. Same pride that killed wenger, ruined emery is already showing up to kill arteta. What does he have against martinelli? Laca ain’t working, why wait till it was almost too late to bring in martinelli? Laca can have a bad day, any player can have a bad day but when a team is having a bad day, you expect the manager/coach not to worsen it by making inconsequential subs. Does arteta even know about effective squad rotation? This result hasn’t just come out of the blue, it’s been seen coming by arteta’s selection and game management and it appears it isn’t stopping anytime soon.

    Arsenal, more than signing new players, needs to be signing new brain for our coach because more often than not, they make bad decisions which cost us dearly

  18. Marko

    But can you honestly say with a straight face that he’s pumping up the value of Mustafi, Xhaka, Ozil after he’s banked our season on them

    Well apparently their value has gone up cause they’re playing well since Christmas. I personally think he’s risking the season especially when certain players are playing poorly and continuing to get picked. Look I get what he was doing initially free slate for all but now you have the likes of Ozil doing fuck all and staying on the pitch. But anyway apparently it’ll be easy to get rid of some of these players but I’d honestly bet differently

  19. Left testicle

    Cheers Jim,
    I have just read my post back and I sound suicidal! I am definitely going to phase out Le-Grove. It was good but a lot of the more thoughtful posters like Romford Pele and Cesc Appeal don’t post so much and I find Pedros posts more and more
    condescending. Will I go out quietly or a full on ban worthy rant? In the end nobody will care.

  20. Pierre

    “How’s the just play Ozil in the hole behind PEA, Lacazette and Pepe working out?”

    Is he playing in the hole? ..I don’t think so.

    From where I’m looking there is no one in the hole .
    Ozil’s not in there, Lacazette doesn’t drop in there , it is a vacant area .

    It looks like Arteta likes to overload the wide areas , hence ozil, pepe and Bellerin all seem to be in touching distance .

    I cant say I’m a fan of this as our play just swings from left to right and we very rarely, if ever look to play a ball in the hole or look to play a one two in and around the box .

    The only time I can remember a move through the centre ,in the hole , was against palace away , other than that it has all gone wide .

    I would like to see us ask some questions through the middle like we used to under Wenger with intricate play from wilshere, cazorla , Ramsey and Ozil .

    Maybe we just haven’t replaced those players with similar technical expertise.

  21. Receding Hairline

    ” I find Pedros posts more and more condescending. ”

    Thought i was the only one getting that vibe.

    I stopped posting on here regularly a while back and my interaction with a certain character today reminded me why, i was happier then, some seem to get joy hurling personal insults at strangers who happen to have different views on a football blog. Pedro then comes on and picks his favorites and basically call the rest with a different view point dense

    Cesc appeal stopped coming on here because i know he lost patience with that attitude.

    Imagine predicting ditching out humble pie in the future based off nonsense like “i like the way he sees the game”. Olympiakos didn’t give a shit how Arteta saw the game yesterday, nor do i see anything great in seeing what happens in the game and doing nothing to nudge your team towards victory. Some have just found another Wenger to latch on that, beautiful press conferences with all the right words while the actions differ. Pedro nailed his mast to a coach based on his looks and hope he is somehow behind the last three years at City.

  22. Clive Hill

    Jim Leahy,
    I agree, there is a deep rooted malaise at the club that no one knows how to shake off. Something that took hold around the time we moved stadiums. Did we leave something in the cupboard at Highbury? Or is it the Arsenal reality that every now and again gets shaken up by an innovator and then retracts to its natural moribund state.

    I know that sounds silly when you think of the bold forward thinking necessary to build and move into a new stadium but it just doesn’t seem to have taken off from there. Where are the people that made that happen?

  23. Chris

    Just wanted to echo the thoughts of those who are gutted about last night, it is hard to take what happened.

    As much as it sucks donkey dick the players have to pick themselves up and not lose the confidence they have built up over the last few weeks. The time for judgement for some of this squad will be in the summer.

    Until then there is the FA Cup and finishing the league as strong as possible. Do that and see where we end up.

  24. Champagne Charlie


    “I stopped posting on here regularly a while back and my interaction with a certain character today reminded me why, i was happier then, some seem to get joy hurling personal insults at strangers who happen to have different views on a football blog. “

    Also Receding:

    “That’s me done with you for today, you are boring and too far up your own ass. You were Wenger’s number one defender up to the very end so excuse me if I don’t take your persistent emery jibes seriously. He had a two year deal and a mandate he missed by slim margins, that you desperately try to paint his tenure as three giant steps backwards shows u up for the clown you are“

    Self awareness isn’t for everyone.

  25. G8

    It was said from the first game Arteta managed, he has to do better in his in game management, that point still stands

    You could question his assistants as well, do they have any impact or are they just the yes men type or even worse the Steve Bould type !

  26. Micheal

    “Usmanov buyout might have been loaded onto Arsenal’s account by Kroenke.”

    If this is true, we are in deeper financial shit than expected and the Kroenke apologists on here should hide their heads in shame.

  27. wattsy

    game was bad enough, but had to mute the commentary, Karen Carney was bloody awful, ended everything with a question… didn’t he … shouldn’t he … mustn’t he drove me and my son bonkers. If the girl is not confident enough in what she says, then she should find alternative employment.. shouldn’t she?

    Yeah and I know my grammar is shite.

  28. China1

    Mustafi and xhaka have played better recently but we should be very wary about giving ozil any credit for anything other than running a bit farther

    Ozil has this magic ability to reset people’s memories every time he plays well so that all his past 5 performances are forgotten.

    Literally he started ok under arteta, was great against utd then was absolute peak vanishing act and average for the next 5 odd games. He was great in our last league outing ‘look what artetas doing with ozil!!!’ Back to usual ozil again ever since

    People always think it’s finally going to be a new dawn and ozil will show up regularly but 150 odd appearances or whatever he has for arsenal now can confirm 100% that he isnt going to consistently show up.

    He’s going to be very average for a handful of games then show his face and look amazing for a game or two. Rinse and repeat. Who can recall last season against Fulham and one EL game where he was a beast? Yeah. That was it for the season. So far this season he’s been worse

  29. Valentin


    Imagine Barcelona or Real Madrid bid 20 millions and Aubameyang is not interested in getting anywhere else but he is willing to wait an extra year to get his dream move.
    Would you still think that it would be a wise move to sell him?

    That scenario is very likely that both will try to lowball us. At that price he is worth more for us one extra year trying to get into the Champion’s League. That also give an extra year for any youngsters to emerge from the academy.

    Unless we can get a ready made replacement, I don’t see the attraction of selling him on the cheap.

  30. Redtruth

    Champagne charlie
    “You’d maybe have a leg to stand on regarding Xhaka and Mustafi if both had been shit since Xmas. But unfortunately for you they’ve been anything but that.”

    21st January Mustafi gives a suicidal back pass to the keeper resulting in a penalty and sending off….lol lol lol lol lol lol