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.

David Ospina justifies his second choice status

David Ospina justifies his second choice status

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.

Theo Walcott scored his fourth goal of the season, against Olympiakos

Theo Walcott scored his fourth goal of the season, against Olympiakos

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.

Alexis Sanchez also scored his fourth goal of the season

Alexis Sanchez also scored his fourth goal of the season

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.

By Max Power


  1. Wenger carries all the blame.
    1. His over righteous belief in Giroud as the main striker
    2. His belief in his style of practically walking the ball into the net, when brilliant goals are usually scored from outside the box.
    3. His stingy approach to the issue of buying quality players
    4. Above all, his dislike for players who openly express their desire to play for Arsenal

    • I rarely say this, but you are completely wrong on all counts.

      1. Wenger is now regularly playing Walcott as the starting striker. However, Giroud has averaged pretty much as many goals per game as any long term Premier League striker since he arrived. He’s loyal to the club and rarely injured, even when his leg was broken, he was back playing again in 3 months and scoring goals again right away.

      2. Wenger changed the style of playing from ‘Boring, boring Arsenal’ to one of the most entertaining and admired sides in world football. Many clubs have tried to emulate it and numerous managers have quoted Wenger as an inspiration.

      3. Wenger has spent big when the funds were available and the right type of quality player could be secured, breaking the clubs tranfer record. There is no benefit in spending for the sake of it, or bringing in players who are only marginally better than what he has in the squad. His major skill though is developing young players and real Arsenal fans would be more impressed with the likes of Ramsey, Wilshire, Coquelin, Bellerin, Walcott, Gibbs, and Oxlade-Chamberlain than any bunch of bought in mercenaries that Chelsea and Manchester City have purloined.

      4. I have no idea what you mean by “his dislike for players who openly express their desire to play for Arsenal”. Who, what and when? Most people would say that Wenger’s biggest fault is that he is too loyal to players who express their desire to play for the club.

      Maybe you should read our article Wenger Out? So What Sort of Football Club Do You Want? and reassess, if you consder yourself an Arsenal fan.

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