Arsenal on the verge of Europa League quarter-finals
Goals from Martin Odegaard, Gabriel and Mohamed Elneny have put Arsenal on the verge of the Europa League quarter-finals.
Arsenal did their best to shoot themselves in the foot again but instead they have one foot placed firmly in the Europa League quarter-finals.
It looked like being the same old story for Mikel Arteta’s side when a calamitous error by Dani Ceballos allowed Olympiacos striker Youssef El-Arabi to cancel out Martin Odegaard’s thunderous first-half opener.
But unlike at Burnley at the weekend, Arsenal picked themselves up. Goals from Gabriel Magalhaes and Mohamed Elneny ensured they will return to north London with a commanding 3-1 advantage over the Greek champions ahead of next Thursday’s second leg.
It was no more than they deserved after a dominant performance in Piraeus, but Arteta knows that if his side are to go on and win this competition, then they have to cut out the monumental errors that have plagued their performances in recent weeks.
"We are really pleased with the result, with the goals and the way we played in big moments in the game," the Arsenal boss said after Thursday night's win.
"But as well, we have to be very clear an honest with ourselves. We gave three goals to the opponent, they took one and at this level they are going to punish you.
"If we want to go to the next level we have to stop doing that and be more ruthless. When you are that dominant and playing that well, just kill the game."
Given what happened against Burnley at the weekend, when Granit Xhaka gifted an equaliser to Chris Wood, you would have thought the Gunners would have learned their lesson when it comes to taking risks while playing out from the back.
But it was a case of deja vu with Ceballos the culprit this time around.
There had already been warning signs in the first half, with David Luiz almost handing the hosts an equaliser after Odegaard had opened his Arsenal account with a powerful drive from distance which flashed past Jose Sa.
The visitors played their
way into trouble again 13 minutes into the second half and this time they
weren’t so lucky.