Feed on
Embed from Getty Images

The dust has barely settled from a fine Derby result, the product of 75 minutes of total dominance and 15 minutes of hanging on for dear life against 10 men, and now we face yet another ‘season defining match’. Or at least another in a series of matches we have faced this season from which we must take something to keep our season alive. The disastrous early winter sequence of home defeats that caused pessimism and even calls for the manager’s head has been rectified though those calls persist amongst the obtuse. Yet, recently we have developed a pattern of dominating matches, creating and spurning multiple chances then helping opponents back into the game with self-destructive actions in or around our box. 

The first leg of this tie was just such a schizoid performance, superbly summarised by bt8 (https://www.goonerholicsforever.com/?p=2541). Leno’s gift via Ceballos of an early second half equaliser turned a match that should have been a procession into a jittery performance that would have put us in a losing position but for a deflected shot. It’s high time that we started scoring a greater proportion of the early chances we create (at least we are making them again!) and stopped being so generous to opponents. As MA8 observed about playing out from the back, it’s critical to time risky passes around our own box and sometimes we have to go long!

We had an excellent preview of the first leg from Dr F that covered our opponents’ history and style of play. I have nothing to add to that and refer you to that comprehensive analysis for those details (https://www.goonerholicsforever.com/?p=2531).

We have significant history with Olympiakos, albeit only relatively recent history. We have played the Greek side eleven times since 2009, winning six and losing five without any draws (so that’s a banker!). The first eight matches were in the group stages of the Champions League and the last three in the knock out phases of the Europa League. The aggregate score across all eleven games to date is 19-14 in our favour suggesting a slight advantage to the good guys. This is reinforced by our consistent qualification from those CL groups but compromised by that dismal 120th minute goal a year ago that knocked us out of the Europa League on away goals in ‘the round of 32’. 

However, there is a consistent pattern across this history. The Arsenal have never won both legs when drawn against Olympiakos.  We have generally won the first leg and lost the second, but for a bit of variety in 2015 we lost the first and won the second (well). On our first three pairs of encounters in 2009, 2011 and 2012, we won the home leg first and lost the away leg with aggregate scores of 2-1, 3-4 and 4-3. On the most recent two occasions that we were paired with Olympiakos, in 2015 and 2020, we won the away leg but on those last two occasions the Greek team won at the Emirates (notoriously poor travellers, by the way), yielding aggregate scores of 5-3 and 2-2.

Of course, football is unpredictable and every game stands alone. Patterns are there to be broken etc., etc. However, Olympiakos’ recent record of two victories at the Emirates does mean that they will not approach this game with any fear. We dominated the first half of the away leg last week and should have been more than one goal to the good at half time. Yet in that first half, Luiz and Ødegaard did offer a preview of our propensity to shoot ourselves in the foot then Leno and Ceballos conspired to execute that properly early in the second half. With the injection of confidence our generosity had given them, the Greek team had a 10-15 minute spell during which they almost snatched the lead and we looked more jittery than we have done for some time (we didn’t look jittery in the last 10-15 minutes against the Marshdwellers we looked knackered and clueless). However, after Gabriel’s bullet header put us in front again there was only one team in it. I’ve read analyses of that game observing that Olympiakos are a very poor side but we still needed three ‘worldies’ to beat them and we can’t rely on ‘worldie goals’ on a regular basis. That’s true but as so often recently, we did create and then spurn enough chances to have been home and hosed by half time. So, I fully expect us to break the ‘win one – lose one’ pattern and either win or draw this game, preferably the former.

The team? 

With the advantage of three away goals in the bank from the first leg, and half an eye on our visit to the overachieving Spammers in their tax- and rate-payer subsidised social housing, I think MA8 will ring some changes for this match with the knowledge that tired legs need to be rested and that their replacements will be no more susceptible to autopedicide than the players they replace. Several players looked exhausted in the latter stages of the Derby and everyone put in an enormous shift for 75 minutes. Having said that, MA8 clearly has some ever-presents who will once again get the call. Thus, I expect a starting eleven akin to the following, provided Auba sets his alarm correctly (it’s an early kick off, mate):


Bellerin, Holding, Marì, Tierney

Elneny, Xhaka


Pépé, Aubameyang, Martinelli

The Holic Pound? 

Given the first leg result, Olympiakos have to chase this game from the outset and as a result will be more vulnerable at the back. Thus, we should be able to score goals without having to rely on ‘worldies’. Of course, Olympiakos themselves have shown the potential to score and on our recent performances, we may again do our utmost to help them do so. Although, I think this Arsenal defence is moving in the right direction and its next step is a clean sheet, I think we will see goals at both ends in this match. Thus, the Holic Pound is going on 4-2 to the good guys at a very tasty 45/1. 

Go win, Arsenal! 

Enjoy the match, Holics. 

149 Drinks to “Timeo Danaos Et Dona Ferentis Non Utique – But Let’s Not Repeat History!”

  1. 1
    Uplympian says:

    Thanks Bath for a thorough preview summarising both our recent fixtures against Olympiacos and the full gamut of our playing style. Your team looks good & possibly close to how the final XI will appear. I’m not sure about Martinelli though; this match is perfect for him to gain some much needed playing time but he seems to far away from the first team at the moment and I wonder if he is still suffering some effects from his long term injury. I hope this is not the case and he starts the match. I think it’s quite likely that the “assist meister” Willian might be on the team sheet instead.
    The visitors have some catching up to do in order to go through and will need to be more attack minded, leaving more gaps at the back for a counter attacking system. If we score an early goal then the tie should be over. My money will be on a 2-0 win to the good guys breaking the duck of not winning both legs against them. COYR

  2. 2
    Osakamatt says:

    A fine preview thanks Bath.
    It pretty much covers what I
    was thinking about the game.
    An early lead and then use the
    squad to rest some and give
    others needed playing time.
    As it’s Europe we can use five
    subs which is helpful.
    I’m thinking of Ryan, Calum,
    Eddie, Martinelli and Nelson who
    all need to play and I’d like to see
    one or two of that quintet start.
    Of course it’s dependent on actually
    getting an early lead as to how relaxed
    we can be with subs. Also I would like
    Cedric to start on the left for this one
    as left back is where we lack proper
    cover just now and KT is vital.
    All in all I’m fine with any win but
    suspect 2-1 is more likely than Bath’s
    4-2 (though I hope he’s right and I’m
    No drama please lads!

  3. 3
    Osakamatt says:

    previous drinks – Id prefer Brentford
    of those three to come up with Norwich.
    Unfortunately it seems likely to be one
    of the other two 🙁
    Swansea is a long trip for the away
    support and Watford are just annoying.
    Be nice to see Bournemouth with LJW
    make a late run for the play offs and
    come up too.

  4. 4
    bt8 says:

    Perhaps uncoincidentally, many of those faces show up in today’s training pics including Nelson, Nketiah, Willian, Elneny, Chambers and Pepe doing a pole dancing routine, not to ignore some geeky guy in a funny looking black and white hat. Quite an ensemble

  5. 5
    bt8 says:

    Thanks Bath for an excellent preview and kind mention of the first leg report. 4-2 sounds mighty fine but I’m just hoping it’s not El-Arabi with the four. He scored again in the Greek league at the weekend. When was the last time Wet Spam deserved a mention prior to the game prior? COYG

  6. 6
    bt8 says:

    OM. Bournemouth into the playoff spots after today’s win.

  7. 7
    Osakamatt says:

    I saw they won – after the game the
    Bournemouth boss said Jack was great
    and basically ran the game for the 70
    minutes he was on.
    Best of luck to him of course

  8. 8
    ClockEndRider says:

    Virgil would be proud. Well played.

  9. 9
    TTG says:

    A masterly and understandably cautious preview . I remember catching these guys up in the CL after shipping two goals and instead of kicking on we conceded direct from the kick off.
    I think Uply is right about Willian but Elneny has probably earned a start and I think Martinelli May start from the bench . The problem we have is that the players who make us play need protecting ( in KTs case from himself as he is so enthusiastic ). Dropping Willian into ESR’s role is far from a seamless transition . I think we will achieve a narrow win which is good enough for me.
    My contacts tell me that a certain Ferrari driving superstar had earned the ire of MA8 earlier in the season for missing a Covid test for a particularly unappetising away match in Europe . Let us hope he has C100’s sat nav and avoids Muswell Hill Broadway on Thursday. .
    Clock End Rider – I’m running a project I’d love to involve you in. Could you email me at peter@lebeauvisage.co.uk so I can update you . Thanks

  10. 10
    North Bank Ned says:

    Erudite preview, bath. Is autopedicide a neologism?

    MA8 will put securing progress to the next round ahead of experimentation, so he will probably be conservative in his selection. As Uply and TTG suggest, Willian is a more likely starter than Martinelli. We would have seen more of Gabi coming off the bench by now if all was well with him, so it is concerning that we haven’t.

  11. 11
    North Bank Ned says:

    In tribute to your headline, Bath, perhaps I should have said that MA8 will be fearful of not progressing to the next round.

  12. 12
    bt8 says:

    Interesting article about Bayern Munich’s planning to renovate their squad before the old guard (Lewandowski, Alaba, Boateng, Muller, Martinez) gets too old. It will be interesting to see how the planning plays out next season in particular, presumably before the new recruits have fully established themselves. It would also be interesting to see some other team win the league for a change but I would bet that Bayern will win in two years if they don’t win next year. Historical precedent points the arrow that way. As for this year’s Champions League winners it looks like either Bayern or City to me but I doubt I’ll watch much or any of the games.


  13. 13
    Bathgooner says:

    Thanks chaps.

    Ned @10. It is indeed. I decided to go for brevity and not repeat the longer English phrase and being reminded of my travails with Virgil’s Aeneid Book IV (cheers CER), I chose to invent a new term for the act based on my vestigial memories of Latin.

  14. 14
    Doctor Faustus says:

    A sly reference to Virgil? Check.
    A concise yet comprehensive assessment of Arsenal’s strengths and weaknesses? Check.
    A positive yet pragmatic prediction about how the game might play out? Check.

    The best preview of any Europa League match anywhere? Check. 🙂

    Superbly done, Bath! And I completely agree with your line-up as the ideal one, but also agree with others who have highlighted the ongoing enigma of Gabi’s absence and Mikel’s desire to be more conservative may lead to Willian starting the match.

    Let us just hope we play with a modicum of control and avoid the tragicomic seppuku acts that we have recently become so expert at.

    Come on Arsenal!

  15. 15
    ClockEndRider says:

    A classical education is never wasted. Although I may be the exception that proves the rule.
    Mail sent to you.

  16. 16
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Top stuff Baff. A preview as elegant yet powerful as PV4 extending a long leg to flick the ball over some tosser’s head before setting up an attack.The level of writing in this bar is just outstanding.

    4-2 sounds great. The Doc got 3-1 right last time, so I hope you are equally prescient.


  17. 17
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Doc @14

    ‘Tragicomic Seppuku Acts’ are Mustafi’s favourite punk-metal band.

    He especially loves their hit single ‘Kamikaze Slide’.

  18. 18
    bt8 says:

    Previews of all 8 matches in the Europa League to be played on the morrow.


    Unfortunately, despite being highly informational, none of the titles are in Latin, and none of the previews quite matches Bathgooner’s for style points.

  19. 19
    bt8 says:

    Arsenal-Olympiakos to be officiated by an all-Spanish crew including referee Carlos del Cerro Grande (Charles of the Big Hill). Let’s hope he doesn’t make a mountain out of a molehill.

  20. 20
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@13: Polyglot classicism in that case as you combine both Latin and Greek roots.

    But it should be sent to the OED with this august establishment cited as its first use.

  21. 21
    TTG says:

    Interesting to watch the two Chelsea/ Atletico games. Chelsea completely outclassed Atletico and were physically much stronger . Spanish and Italian football has slipped well behind the Premier League . Strong last eight with Munich and Dortmund and PSG . Despite what I’ve just said I hope AC Milan can beat ManUre tomorrow- and a Zagreb recovery might be fun !

  22. 22
    North Bank Ned says:

    GSD@17: 🙂

  23. 23
    bt8 says:

    Zagreb Recovery. It’s got potential as a great name for a cocktail.

  24. 24
    North Bank Ned says:

    I hope Saka fails his fitness test but only because he could do with a rest.

  25. 25
    Trev says:

    Thanks, bath. –

    a thorough examination and an optimistic prognosis.

    Hoping for Greeks bearing gifts and not us bearing gifts for Greeks. That would be nice.

  26. 26
    Osakamatt says:

    Sokratis to kick one in his own net in the first
    10 minutes? That would be laying it on a plato
    for us

  27. 27
    Bathgooner says:

    “Are ‘is total” contributions to the Arsenal to be defined in that one act?

  28. 28
    bt8 says:

    If Sokratis lays it on a plato for us it could eliminate a few dilemmas but some might not say the result would be ours to tattle, Sokratis included I dare say.

  29. 29
    bt8 says:

    At first they were just calling them golazos but now it appears they have upgraded our first leg goals to cañonazos, and in some cases cabezazos and zapatazos.


    Watch the goals again at that link if you like. In any case, TUDN (one of the channels of Televisa/Univision, the Mexico-based TV conglomerate) will be showing our game today so Spanish language viewers in the U.S. will be able to see it with no cable package upgrade required, so long as they already have my current level. 🙂

  30. 30
    bt8 says:

    Also enjoyed watching that clip for a couple of deer-in-headlights shots of Sokratis after Arsenal scored the goals, including after Elneny’s that sealed it. Between Odegaard’s and (especially) Elneny’s goals that was more space given us to shoot from distance than we have seen in some time. Premier League defenders do not allow that much space.

  31. 31
    North Bank Ned says:

    Are you implying that is why Papa is no longer a Premiership defender, bt8? 🙂

  32. 32
    bt8 says:

    His relative immobility could have something to do with it, Ned. But I didn’t want to say it until after this evening’s game. Oh well.

  33. 33
    Countryman100 says:

    Saka named I’m England squad. Interesting that he is named amongst the forwards when previously he’s been played at LB

  34. 34
    bt8 says:

    🎶 Il donno e immobile… 🎶

  35. 35
    Countryman100 says:

    Loving that Bt8! 👏👏👏

  36. 36
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@33: Even when listed as a defender, Saka played all his England games on the left-side of midfield, which is where he will probably play though listed as a forward now. Go figure.

    Daniel Ballard in the Northern Ireland squad, but AMN has dropped out of England consideration.

  37. 37
    Esso says:

    Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Elneny, Ceballos, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Aubameyang

    Subs: Ryan, Okwonko, Holding, Cedric, Chambers, Mari, Partey, Odegaard, Nelson, Nketiah, Lacazette, Martinelli

  38. 38
    Esso says:

    Pretty strong team!

  39. 39
    bt8 says:

    Ceballos is starting to get redemption opportunities a la Xhaka. Strong team otherwise.

  40. 40
    bt8 says:

    Saka out with injury apparently having missed the second half v. Sp&&s for the same reason. At least the oppo won’t be able to give him any more of a pateada as the Spanish language announcers might call a match-long series of kicking in sensitive places.

  41. 41
    bt8 says:

    The oppo being desperate as they are when he gets on the ball. But we managed okay without him for most of the second half v. Sp@@s, until the last 15 minutes when we could have used his ball control and calming effect on the other players.

  42. 42
    Esso says:

    Only just noticed complete absence of Willian?

  43. 43
    bt8 says:

    Arteta on Martinelli, who sits on the bench again today: “He has done everything perfect” to earn a place in the side. He trains incredibly well every day.

    His attitude cannot be any better. He is disappointed he is not playing more obviously and I have spoken to him, but he needs to be a little bit patient.

    “The competition for the front positions is very tough but he needs to be patient and he will get his chance.”

  44. 44
    bt8 says:

    Maybe Martinelli can play the role of Willian?

  45. 45
    Esso says:

    “Maybe Martinelli can play the role of Willian?”

    Wouldn’t that be the latter day equivalent of pearls before swine?

  46. 46
    North Bank Ned says:

    Will the starting XI be lining up as a true 4-3-3? Or will Dani be in MO MO in a 4-2-3-1?

  47. 47
    ksn says:

    Auba’s general game, including first touch is so poor. I hope he has his scoring boots on today.

  48. 48
    ksn says:

    Pepe misses scoring by a couple of inches. He should have laid it on for an unmarked Auba right in front of the goal. Good chance missed.

  49. 49
    ksn says:

    El Arabi almost scores. Leno saved. Our defence can’t go to sleep but they did.
    Both sides have come close to scoring.

  50. 50
    ksn says:

    Auba misses another great chance.

  51. 51
    ksn says:

    They had the ball in our half for a good ten minutes and have settled into the game. We are just running around trying to defend.

  52. 52
    Steve T says:

    It’s all very lacklustre and pedestrian.

    We score and it’s game over. They score and we put ourselves under ridiculous and unwatered pressure. And we all know how good we are in a crisis???

  53. 53
    Bathgooner says:

    What ARE we playing at? An early goal for us practically kills them. Why re we so much on the back foot? We are inviting trouble.

  54. 54
    Bathgooner says:

    You are a mind reader Steve. Or a sensible observer of the same game with a ludicrous approach to its challenge.

  55. 55
    Bathgooner says:

    Auba is still mentally on Muswell hill Broadway and Pépé is asleep in the back.

  56. 56
    ksn says:

    Honours even at half time.

  57. 57
    Steve T says:

    This is where we miss crowds. Can you imagine a full house accepting that????

  58. 58
    Osakamatt says:

    not a half to live long in the memory
    but we didn’t concede I suppose.

  59. 59
    Bathgooner says:

    Nail on head, Steve @57.

  60. 60
    ksn says:

    After Sunday’s exertions not surprising we appear a step slow.

  61. 61
    Bathgooner says:

    Aye ksn but our ‘slowest’ players mentally didn’t play 90 minutes against Spurs.

  62. 62
    ksn says:

    Our guys were shot by the eightieth minutes against Spurs and they played on till the end. So they come to today’s match even more knackered. However, that shouldn’t be any reason for not taking our chances.

    Al Arabi scores. Only we can do it the hard way, hopefully.

  63. 63
    Bathgooner says:

    That was coming. We are half asleep.

  64. 64
    Steve T says:

    Yet another Ceballos fuck up in Europe ???????

    Now for the standard 10 minutes of headless chicken panic stations.

    Bizarre on all levels…

  65. 65
    ksn says:

    Ceballos having another shit game.

  66. 66
    ksn says:

    Partey and Odegaard on for Elneny and Ceballos.

  67. 67
    ksn says:

    Headless chicken panic stations describes us eloquently and it would be funny if it was not our team answering to that description.

  68. 68
    ksn says:

    Pepe hits ESR in their penalty box and just misses scoring.

  69. 69
    ksn says:

    We are panicking and they are piling the pressure on.

  70. 70
    Steve T says:

    Ksn. We always panic after a stupid mistake. No idea why, we just do.

  71. 71
    Osakamatt says:

    Unlucky for Pepe.
    Wall did it’s job fortunately on
    a dangerous free kick.
    Ødegaard looking to move us
    forward more

  72. 72
    ksn says:

    Our defending is so comical.

  73. 73
    Osakamatt says:

    Partey loses it in a bad position,
    comedy defending follows.
    Got away with it

  74. 74
    Osakamatt says:

    bad miss Odegaard after a nice
    bit of skill

  75. 75
    ksn says:

    Odegaard misses from close, leans back and hits it over.

  76. 76
    Osakamatt says:

    bad miss Pepe after a quick (ish)
    we should of put this to bed twice
    in the last few minutes

  77. 77
    Steve T says:

    Bored stiff now

    Can you imagine what would happen if we were playing a side above championship level????

  78. 78
    ksn says:

    Time to switch Auba as he misses an easy chance on the counter.

  79. 79
    Osakamatt says:

    make that three times
    even worse miss by Auba

  80. 80
    ksn says:

    Martinelli on for ESR and Chambers replaces Bellerin.

  81. 81
    Steve T says:

    Garbage from PEA

  82. 82
    Osakamatt says:

    Calum and Gabi on for Hector
    and ESR
    Stupid hand to the face by Ba
    on Gabi. 2nd yellow

  83. 83
    ksn says:

    Ba shown a red card for a challenge on Martinelli after he gets his second yellow. Second straight match where an opponent is sent off for an elbow.

  84. 84
    Osakamatt says:

    that was among the sillier sending
    offs I’ve seen, blokes an idiot

  85. 85
    ksn says:

    The ref is on a card spree as Xhaka gets booked.

  86. 86
    ksn says:

    Auba misses again as Martinelli feeds him. Not a great game for him.
    OM, that guy (Ba) could easily play for Arsenal!

  87. 87
    Osakamatt says:

    Gabi makes a chance for Auba
    to miss, better effort but we are
    finding ways not to score!
    Good chasing back Pepe

  88. 88
    Osakamatt says:

    ksn, I was just thinking that and
    laughing to myself 😄

  89. 89
    Countryman100 says:

    Gabi looking good.

  90. 90
    ksn says:

    Three added minutes to see off and then wait for tomorrow’s draw.

  91. 91
    Steve T says:

    Xhaka goes in the book.

    Some normality at last.

  92. 92
    Osakamatt says:

    well, job done

    but it’s annoying to lose to them
    at home.

  93. 93
    ksn says:

    Through to the next round but it was an excruciating watch.

  94. 94
    Bathgooner says:

    And so, history is repeated after all.

    It’s another win one, lose one tie.

    An extremely boring watch and a distinct measure of our limitations.

  95. 95
    ksn says:

    True,OM, especially as we had such a great chance to put the game to rest in the opening minutes. We should have at least drawn the match, the loss is a bit bitter to swallow.

  96. 96
    Steve T says:

    Unconvincing, lacklustre shite. I take little comfort out of that, even though we’ve qualified. If I had paid good money for that rubbish then I would have been really fed up.

    Beaten at home to a championship level side? It’s about time we started to wake up and just realise what level wr are performing at.

  97. 97
    ksn says:

    Spurs tied 2-2 and the match is in the 92nd minutes.

  98. 98
    ksn says:


  99. 99
    Bathgooner says:

    And it’s three wins in a row at the Emirates for Olympiakos. They must wish they could play us every week.

    That was shockingly bad tactically and as a viewing experience.

  100. 100
    BtM says:

    In a season of missed chances on a plate, tonight was another classic. No pictures on a scorecard. Roll on to the next round.

  101. 101
    Osakamatt says:

    Ødegaard did well when he came on and
    nice to see Gabi back
    I enjoyed the last 15 minutes more than the
    last 15 against spuds
    and with those three positives I’m back to bed

  102. 102
    North Bank Ned says:

    We couldn’t buy a goal today. ESR even managed to head out our one shot that did look goalbound. One goal, as scruffy as you like, would have been game over rather than 90 mins of huffing and puffing to little effect.

  103. 103
    Bathgooner says:

    Leno, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, ESR and Xhaka get bare pass marks. Odegaard gets a clear pass with merit. Bellerin gets a bare fail. PEA, Pépé, Elneny and Ceballos fail miserably.

    MA8 gets a black mark for poor tactics and failure to motivate.

  104. 104
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the ton, Btm. At least somebody has scored.

  105. 105
    ksn says:

    Steve T, we were shite today, can’t deny that. My worry now is whether we would have recovered sufficiently to take on a fresh West Ham on Sunday.

  106. 106
    Bathgooner says:

    Forgot Martinelli! Clear pass marks.

  107. 107
    Osakamatt says:

    swooped in late and nicked the
    ton BtM 😉

  108. 108
    Steve T says:

    Ksn. They should all be fit considering the lack of effort out in tonight

  109. 109
    Osakamatt says:

    I forgot another positive – at least
    we’re not playing extra time in Zagreb

  110. 110
    Bathgooner says:

    Or even losing 0-3 in Zagreb with 9 minutes to go.

  111. 111
    ksn says:

    Spurs are out! Shit as usual.
    Mourinho’s face is a study.

  112. 112
    ecg says:

    Ha, ha!

  113. 113
    Osakamatt says:

    now that is shite, out to Zagreb.
    hahaha hahaha- thanks spuds

  114. 114
    Bathgooner says:

    Well just when I was thinking we had crapped on our own doorstep, the Marshdwellers cheer us up with a generous pick-me-up. Can’t laugh without you!

  115. 115
    Esso says:

    Tottenham? Oh dear.

  116. 116
    Steve T says:

    Just saying…

  117. 117
    Bathgooner says:


  118. 118
    Uplympian says:

    The lack lustre performance earlier has been masked by the sheer joy of Sp.rs being Sp.rs
    ….they never fail us. Let’s hope the specialist continues to provide us with much enjoyment.
    Bath’s marking above is spot on and as Steve also states if there was a crowd in situ watching that performance, their ire would not be reticent. I doubt we would get past the next opponents if we play at that level -we cannot spurn the chances we created and hope to win. Results wise it’s been a good week so far.

  119. 119
    North Bank Ned says:

    The neighbours wore lemon and played like lemons.

  120. 120
    bt8 says:

    Does anyone doubt that we will be drawn with Unai Emery’s Villareal? If so everyone will say it was fate, and maybe they will be right.

  121. 121
    TTG says:

    Not sure how anyone can give a pass to Luiz or Xhaka tonight .Luiz ‘s game was riddled with errors and as usual Xhaka failed to step up and lift the side, shield the defence or create a more positive mindset in the team.
    Steve T is right that they were a pathetic side and yet they won on merit . Arteta and the team should be ashamed at that performance . Imagine travelling several hours and paying £50 to watch that .
    I’ve been accused of being a sourpuss but I don’t give a shit what happened to S***s . Yes they are hilariously inept but we should be concentrating on getting close to the way the Chavs played last night or Citeh did earlier in the week. I am utterly miserable tonight because we are one step forward , one or more steps back .S***s losing doesn’t cushion that blow . Are we happy to finish eighth if they finish ninth ? There are five or six weak links in the team and unless we fix them in the next window we are not going to make progress as a club . I’ve seen pub teams defend better than we defended that punt in the first half . Still it’s ok because S***s ( who are above us in the league are crap.)

  122. 122
    Silly Second Yella says:

  123. 123
    Osakamatt says:

    No doubt we were poor, but they
    certainly didn’t win on merit.
    It should have been the 4-2 that
    Bath predicted.
    Though, it seems from the drinks that
    I may be in the minority I was at least
    encouraged by the way we tried hard
    in the last five or ten minutes to pull
    back the goal even though overall the
    tie was won. Showed some pride I
    thought. It would have been a totally
    different game if the first leg was 1-1
    so it’s difficult to assess the side based on
    tonight and I’d prefer to wait until we get
    better opposition in a tighter battle.
    In the last year we’ve beaten all the top teams
    in the PL and so I’m hopeful we can raise our
    game when it counts. For me our problem has
    been consistency (especially in front of goal)
    and hence we are mid table.
    No one is happy to be 8th or 9th but this particular
    season I will certainly celebrate finishing above
    Spuds – just as I’m happy they lost tonight. Whilst of
    course respecting the right of yourself (and others) to be
    as grumpy as you want 😉

  124. 124
    OsakaMatt says:

    I forgot Robbie Burton is at Zagreb now, though he was an unused sub for this one.

  125. 125
    North Bank Ned says:

    We have got to start putting away our chances. Until we do, our margin of error will be minimal, and we make more than a minimal number of errors.

  126. 126
    bt8 says:

    Ned, Taking our chances, or not taking our chances, is indeed the nub of the matter. Not to point fingers of course but Aubameyang, Pepe and Lacazette are exhibits #1-3. Earlier in the season the issue seemed to be not creating enough chances but since the New Year we have been wasting far too many of the good chances we have created.

  127. 127
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I’m a lot happier than most appear to be. All we had to do was go through the tie and we did. We had more chances than them and at no point at all was I nervous that we would spurs it up.

    We have to take a few more of our chances but there is nothing new there. I can’t get too exercised that we didnt look great with Xhaka, Elneny and Ceballos all on the pitch- I didn’t need amazing powers of prediction to see that coming.

    I didn’t see the panic that some seem to have seen. I suppose it depends on whether you are looking for it. I thought it was a dull game. And I’ve never said that about a tie which I thought we might go out.

    I took Blogs advice and watched the Spuds highlights. What a way to start the day. 😀

  128. 128
    Countryman100 says:

    TTG. It is seldom that we disagree, but we disagree here. Last night was a poor performance, but we made and missed a variety of chances that on another night would have won the game for us. I thought many of our boys were heavily fatigued (e.g. ESR, KT3) and that had an impact. However, notwithstanding that, we are through and in the draw at lunchtime. It’s the middle of March and we still have our season intact and hope looking forward. It’s a strange time to be in despair.

    And then, just as it became obvious that we had weathered the storm and were going through came news that Spurs had let in a second goal. Many of us switched over once our final whistle went, to watch extra time. Which was hilarious. Mourhino gave an eight minute interview afterwards in which he explained that he had told his team how to win the game but they hadn’t managed to execute. Cry me a river.

    Two North London teams went into the Europa League last 16. Only one is in the draw for the quarter final. They wear red and white. That gives me great pleasure.

  129. 129
    Osakamatt says:

    Yep, Auba, Pepe and Ødegaard were
    the guilty men yesterday. I would say
    that also means ESR needs to get in
    the box more but when he did….

  130. 130
    bathgooner says:

    I empathise hugely TTG@121. I would have been incandescent had I driven up to watch that execrable display. I have never bought into the widely held philosophy that players need only go through the motions if the tie has been won in the first leg. Great teams with a pride in their work and an instinctive killer instinct do not do that. They put weaker opponents to the sword at every turn.

    I agree that with the present squad’s deficiencies we are we well below the level at which we should be both in performances and in competitiveness. I have said it before and will repeat, I have no expectation that we will lift this trophy. There are better teams in this competition. I hope we do win it and it remains a possiblity but we will need a lucky draw and some exceptional performances.

    As Ned and bt8 observe, our profligacy in front of goal is so destructive because our defence, improved though it is, will always give the opposition opportunities. When we spurn three nailed on goal scoring opportunities we have no right to win the game and the defence cannot be too heavily criticised for one lapse. However last night we did give Olympiakos enough opportunities and hope to achieve the 3-0 scoreline they required. If they had scored the free kick at the edge of our box that was foolishly conceded by TP18 (who added midfield pace but also errors), I could see those jitters returning and autopedicide looming. However the wall did its job there and we rode our luck with some pin ball in our box on another occasion and the rest is history. In truth the goal was a cold shower for our shower and with the freshness, vigour and drive of Ødengaard and Martinelli we did finish far more strongly and conspired to waste some further opportunities.

    This squad is far from the finished article and the demeanours of both ESR and MA8 in their post-match interviews showed that they felt the same about that game as TTG.

    Schadenfreude is no compensation for our own failings. Let’s see who we draw before we get too big for our own boots.

  131. 131
    bathgooner says:

    That said @130, I do understand that to have spent one’s formative years surrounded by the acolytes of the Marshdwellers does frame one’s reactions somewhat. The intensity of this was underlined for me by the need to “Stand up if you hate Tottnumb!” in the North Bank in the late nineties and early noughties when they were so far behind us that they couldn’t even see our shadow.

    My own formative years were spent surrounded by rabid supporters of the two ugly sisters and a defeat for either was indeed a cause for celebration.

  132. 132
    Countryman100 says:

    Well I think you are all a bunch of moaning minnies ( with respect). Yes we were a long way off perfect but we won the tie and move forward. I was far more upset when we went out to Southampton in the Cup.I’m not saying we don’t point out the faults in the performance, of which there were many, but despair? Surely OTT. Do I think we will win the EL? No, but we have a puncher’s chance.

    Which brings us to Spurs. Just over a hundred days ago, Spurs were top of the league. Their fans were insufferable. Their fall from grace has been hilarious. They have enjoyed a superior league position to us in the last four years but won nothing, while we have won four FA Cups. There are stories all over the papers about a team doubtful about Mourhino’s methods cf Poch.

    Long live Schadenfreude. I love it.

  133. 133
    North Bank Ned says:

    Time for a song to restore everyone’s spirits

  134. 134
    Countryman100 says:

    One of my all time favourites!

  135. 135
    Countryman100 says:

    And I don’t need my spirits restoring! I’m still buzzing!

  136. 136
    bathgooner says:

    Gael Clichy making the draw.

  137. 137
    bathgooner says:

    Slavia Prague

    Home tie first

  138. 138
    Countryman100 says:

    And in the draw we get …. Slavia Prague!

  139. 139
    bathgooner says:

    Villa Real or Dynamo in the SF

  140. 140
    bathgooner says:

    That’s not the worst draw we could have been given. Slavia will be a test but are not insurmountable. We simply need to take our chances (🙏🏼) and eliminate our generosity at the back. It’s good to avoid Manure until (hopefully) the final.

  141. 141
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I’m very pleased with the draw.

    Granada would have been my first choice, but failing that, we avoided Ajax and Manure. If we don’t beat Slavia then we will deservedly go out, and if we do then Unai will surely be waiting.

    Bring it on

  142. 142
    North Bank Ned says:

    Post draw, the bookies have lengthened our odds but shortened Man U’s to win the EL outright. We are second-favourites, with 10/3 available. Villareal, our most likely semi-final opposition if we get that far, have moved up to third-favourite, leapfrogging Ajax and Roma. Happy that if we do get to the final two out of Roma, Ajax and Manu U will have been eliminated.

  143. 143
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Leno says the dressing room was a bit quiet as they all knew we were a bit shit. Fair enough. Take it as a warning (and be glad it didn’t cost us)

    On to West Ham!

  144. 144
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Ned @142. Good point- I’d hate to play two of those teams in the final! 😋

  145. 145
    North Bank Ned says:

    In a parallel universe, we might have been playing the neighbours in the semis.

    The CL semis pairing of Bayern Munich or PSG v Man City or Borussia Dortmund is the semi of death. Amazingly, to my mind, the bookies have Man City as the favourite to win the CL overall. I would take a small wager, was I a betting man, that whoever emerges from that titanic pair of games will lose the final, being emotionally exhausted.

  146. 146
    bt8 says:

    An interesting draw in both UEFA tournaments. I am a bit surprised we didn’t draw Villarreal but if we get past Slavia Prague the Emery/Arteta derby in the semis could be a tasty one. The strength of the underdogs is what brings out the drama, as always.

  147. 147
    Osakamatt says:

    Good draw as it goes but I wasn’t
    really bothered who we got as it
    isn’t a particularly good last eight
    this season. As GSD said if we can’t
    get through it will be entirely our
    own fault.

  148. 148
    bt8 says:

    Gabriel really didn’t play many senior matches at Lille (39 total from 2017-2020) so I’m thinking it was a real coup to sign him when we did. See his Wikipedia page, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_(footballer,_born_1997)

  149. 149
    scruzgooner says: