Despite their two losses in the Champions League group stage, Arsenal have played very nicely since their 1-1-1 record at the start of the season.
Their defending was a disgrace, their industry appalling and their sharpness in front of goal a joke.
Clubs are guaranteed €12m (£8.84m) for reaching the group stage of the competition but Arsenal’s inconsistent form has already cost them £2.22m with a further £4.05m at stake. So much for being wary of Greeks bearing gifts.
Wenger has only himself to blame.
Wenger was criticised for resting Petr Cech and Aaron Ramsey for the game last night following their surprise loss but the Gunners boss highlighted the Koscielny injury as an example of why top teams all rotate their squads these days. As misjudgements go it was up there with England rugby captain Chris Robshaw’s clanger against Wales at Twickenham last Saturday.
He palmed Kostas Fortounis’s corner into his own net under little or no pressure.
“Get your discipline back and with possession you get your chances”. The Arsenal faithful roared, sensing the force was now with their team and a victor was coming.
The lack of concentration Wenger is talking about was seen in Olympiacos’ third goal, the eventual game-winner, which came exactly 60 seconds after Alexis Sanchez had equalized for Arsenal.
“The turning point at 2-2 is we give them a goal again straight away”.
Twitter quite literally exploded after this with many quick to question Wenger’s decision to leave Cech on the bench and play Ospina in what was a must-win game. They need at least four points – and, ideally, all six – from the two games with Bayern, who last night defeated Dinamo Zagreb 5-0.
“Ospina payed 19 games and kept many clean-sheets”.
Per Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail, the usually calm Wenger accused his Arsenal side “of lacking passion and desire during a fiery training ground inquest” and left them in no doubt they need to raise their game and improve their attitude.
“When you play against this team you know they’re going to have a lot of the ball”. “And I know many things that maybe you do not know and that you ignore”. “We cannot select the team by making a poll before the game and getting everybody’s opinion”.
But while fans and pundits have been calling out for Arsenal to add players with the very same work-rate and attitude that Wenger expects from his team in certain positions, the Frenchman has always thought his current crop had that in them themselves. “We have to of course think that we can deal with [Dinamo] Zagreb and Olympiacos even away from home and we have to make a result against Bayern at home“.