Olympiacos send Arsenal a step closer to Champions League Grexit
Arsenal were beaten 3-2 by Olympiacos in Champions League at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
It was a second successive defeat for the Gunners and leaves them bottom of Group F with no points after two matches.
All Arsenal’s familiar foibles and shortcomings were on display tonight.
Poor marking from corner kicks – check
Goalkeeping error in Champions League match – check
Conceding goals straight after scoring – check
Caught short-handed on the counter-attack and conceding a goal – check
Over intricate approach play and not clinical in front of goal – check
Arsenal face an uphill struggle now to make it through to the knock-out stages of the competition.
Next up for the Gunners are Bayern Munich.
A goalkeeping howler from David Ospina summed up Arsenal’s night.
Ospina, one of five changes to the side that beat Leicester on Saturday, misjudged a corner from Kostas Fortounis and dropped the ball over the line to gift Olympiacos a 2-1 lead.
Theo Walcott had cancelled out Felipe Pardo’s opener prior to Ospina’s mistake.
Alexis Sanchez made it 2-2 midway through the second half, but Alfred Finnbogason sealed victory for Olympiacos.
Billed by Arsene Wenger as a must-win game for Arsenal, the Gunners had early chances with Sanchez sliding a ball through for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who held off his marker but shot high into the side netting.
Soon afterwards Sanchez played Walcott through, but his tame effort was comfortably gathered by Roberto – and it was the Greek side who broke the deadlock 12 minutes before half-time.
Sloppy defending enabled Pajtim Kasami to win a corner and the ball was played directly to Pardo, whose drive from the edge of the box struck Oxlade-Chamberlain and deflected past Ospina.
The Gunners responded just two minutes later as Sanchez threaded another through ball for Walcott, whose drive went through the keeper for the equaliser.
Five minutes before the break Fortounis sent over an inswinging corner that Ospina spilled behind the line.
There were ironic cheers for the Arsenal goalkeeper when he gathered a routine shot from Olympiacos substitute Finnbogason early in the second half.
Arsenal sent on Aaron Ramsey with half an hour remaining and he made an immediate impact with a pass that might well have brought his side level.
Sanchez collected the ball and crossed for Per Mertesacker, whose effort was beaten out by Roberto and driven goalwards again by Santi Cazorla, only for Omar Elabdellaoui to block it on the line.
Arsenal restored parity when Sanchez headed in Walcott’s cross – but promptly surrendered it again as Pardo crossed for Finnbogason to glance the ball across Ospina into the far corner.
The Gunners had chances to strike back, but Roberto clawed away free-kicks from both Cazorla and Mesut Ozil and, despite late pressure, the visitors clung on.
Arsenal: Ospina 5; Bellerin 6 (Campbell 85), Gabriel 6, Koscielny 6 (Mertesacker 57), Gibbs 6; Cazorla 5, Coquelin 6 (Ramsey 60); Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Ozil 5, Sanchez 7; Walcott 7