We went down 1-0 to Olympiakos yesterday and we went down with our heads held high. I thought we played well all round the pitch and passed well. Of course, we don’t like defeats, so the end result isn’t great, but of course, the style and panache that the players had was very good to see.
The line up was:
Gilbert – Bartley – Silvestre – Cruise
Ramsey – Song
Walcott – Wilshere – Merida
I’ll start off by examining the positives, which were basically summed up in one player – Aaron Ramsey. For me, the boy stole the show and commanded the midfield as his own. When Arsene bought the Welsh central midfielder, to be honest, I didn’t see the special talent. But as the boy has progressed under Arsene Wenger and the coaching staff at our club, he is really starting to blossom.
Yesterday his performances were Cesc like, very dynamic – he passing was brilliant, short, medium and long. His dribbling was good and his ball retention was very good too – he is now a serious contender for the first team. And he’s worked hard to get there.
Arsene summed up Ramsey’s performance in one line saying:
“He had a good presence, gave good balls and had a good work rate in midfield.”
As a whole though, there were some good performances from a lot of the youngsters – with Tom Cruise and Kyle Bartley doing well in defence. Song was immense, but then he always is and of course Merida and Wilshere were industrious and intelligent. The biggest shock of the night was the poor first touches and poor finishing from our two most establishing attacking players in Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela. Both missing good opportunities throughout the game.
Arsene spoke about the game as a whole and said:
“We were positive and overall I am disappointed because we lost the game but proud of the attitude of our young players. They coped mentally and overall we played well. It is difficult to go into any individual performances but nobody was disappointing. At the back we controlled the game well and overall I must say they looked like they play every week in this competition.
“I expected to suffer more than we did tonight. Unfortunately we got caught straight away coming out of the dressing room on the counter attack and after we had two clear-cut chances to come back and then it became more difficult. Olympiacos played on their experience, played very safe and we lacked a little bit of composure in the final third to come back.”
Well done to the kids for their performances, and we’re through to the next round of the Champions League, and we could play one of the following teams:
- Bayern Munich
- CSKA Moscow
- AC Milan
- Inter Milan
Now that is some list and apart from Stuttgart, they’ll all be hard. Personally avoiding Bayern Munich and the Milan teams would be a good draw, but then again, you’d got to play the best to be the best! The draw is to be held on Friday 18th December in Nyon, so we can put our CL thoughts away now! Attention will switch shortly to the Liverpool game, and a return to action for our first team!