For the second time this week, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s timing was just a little off.
The Arsenal captain was again within the aspect in opposition to Olympiacos after being dropped in opposition to Tottenham for turning up late, however the Gabon worldwide regarded like he was nonetheless method off the tempo.
Aubameyang endured a depressing night time in entrance of objective, lacking a number of glorious probabilities to place the sport to mattress for his aspect and ship it cruising into the Europa League quarterfinals.
As a substitute it needed to endure one other nervy night in opposition to the Greek champions in north London because it edged by means of to the final eight 3-2 on mixture, regardless of dropping 1-0 on the night time.
“I hope he does not, we now have moved on from that,” Mikel Arteta stated after the sport when requested whether or not the captain nonetheless had ideas in his head about what had gone on final weekend.
“He began the sport and we anticipate when he does play he performs on the degree he can.”
It has been simply over a 12 months since Olympiacos shocked Arsenal on the Emirates Stadium and despatched it crashing out of this competitors on the first knockout stage.
Recollections of that dramatic night have been contemporary in everybody’s thoughts since this season’s draw as soon as once more paired the 2 sides collectively, however Arsenal’s 3-1 win in Greece final week ensured it had much more of a buffer this time round.
And the Gunners did want it, with the guests threatening a comeback when Youssef El-Arabi, scorer of the profitable objective final season, gave Olympiacos a 1-0 lead early within the second half.
However that was pretty much as good because it obtained for the guests, who by no means actually regarded like including to their lead within the closing phases.
The victory over two legs will heal some scars for Arsenal and it ensures it has progressed by means of to the quarterfinals of the Europa League for the third time in 4 seasons.
But it surely wasn’t fairly, with Arteta’s aspect as soon as once more displaying how a lot it struggles when making an attempt to see a recreation out.
And the Gunners boss is aware of that issues should enhance if they will go on a progress by means of the latter phases of the competitors.
“I’m happy as a result of we’re by means of and final 12 months we went out to them,” he stated. “But when I’ve to judge the efficiency, what we now have executed at this time with the ball is nowhere close to the requirements we now have set ourselves and we made it actually tough.
“If you give the quantity of balls away that we did, you do not have the management it’s essential to handle the tie the way in which you must. And that is associated as properly to the quantity of probabilities we missed once more.”
Arsenal misplaced its method fully within the remaining quarter-hour in opposition to Spurs final weekend and virtually threw away a recreation it had fully dominated.
Arteta admitted after that match that his aspect had managed the closing phases “actually, actually badly” and referred to as on his gamers to keep away from making the identical errors in opposition to Olympiacos.
However after El-Arabi had given Olympiacos the lead on the night time, it was a case of standard story for Arsenal.
It simply could not get a grip on the sport and, though it by no means actually regarded like conceding once more, Arteta is properly conscious that his aspect has to enhance massively whether it is to go on and win the competitors.
“We’re actually joyful we’re by means of,” he stated. “It is one other step ahead as a group. Hopefully we are able to be taught some classes as properly.
“We’ve got crushed two good groups in Benfica and Olympiacos, however the subsequent one shall be even more durable I feel.”
It wasn’t as if Arsenal did not have the possibilities to calm the nerves. In truth it had a lot, however a collection of terrible misses ensured the sport was much more tense than it ought to have been.
Aubameyang was the chief wrongdoer, lacking a golden likelihood in both half and seeing one other close-range effort saved out by Olympiacos keeper Jose Sa.
Nicolas Pepe additionally ought to have scored and one incident, when his goal-bound shot deflected over after hitting Emile Smith Rowe’s face, summed up Arsenal’s night time.
They made it far tougher than they need to have. However the essential factor is the Gunners are nonetheless alive to battle one other day.