Olympiakos 3-1 Arsenal: Defensive shambles highlights Arsenal progress
Thursday, 8th Dec 2011 19:48
As the rest of England’s representatives scrambled to qualify for the knockout stages, Arsene Wenger’s makeshift side provided some light relief on Tuesday night.
Poor Fabianski, who enjoyed a very brief run of decent displays last season has been cast into the shadows by Szczesny’s impressive performances but he certainly took centre stage in Greece, dancing around the penalty area and inspiring our defence to calamitous mistakes before Vermaelen sliced his knee open in a desperate attempt to assert some authority in our penalty area.
On raced Vito Mannone to emulate the injured Fabianski but this time with an all singing, all dancing approach. He screamed at his defenders but still had no semblance of control and proceeded to lose his bearings and karate kick a ball that would have been far easier to catch.
The Italian stopper hadn’t played for the first team since 2009 so you had to feel sorry for him as he look completely unprepared for his next outing. There will be less sympathy for Fabianski and it was a worrying reminder about the lack of strength in depth below Szczesny. Fortunately we could see the lighter side of the situation on this occasion as such calamitous defending has gradually been ironed out of the side this season. However an injury to Szczesny and all hell could break loose in this Arsenal defence; he is arguably as important as van Persie to this side.
An injury to Santos will see another reshuffle in the back four on Saturday and although a back four of centre backs is not ideal, Vermaelen and Djourou have enough attacking quality to play full back and with Szczesny behind them and Song in front, we should still have a stable unit.
The club are marking our 125th anniversary on Saturday, even Howard Webb is joining in by using a six-pence for the coin toss but Arsene Wenger will be keen for his players to regain the concentration that saw us ease past Wigan last week with impressive professionalism.
Photo: Action Images
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