Arsenal return to London with an away win under their belts, overcoming Olympiacos 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Alexandre Lacazette.
Arsenal travelled to Olympiacos with a historical record of one win and three defeats at the stadium. They seemed to know that, starting nervously and getting lucky with early misses from the home side.
After that, they controlled about an hour of the match without actually threatening much, bar one Lacazette miss from close range. Fortunately, the striker made amends with a late winner.
The team actually had a few chances to add to the lead after that. Lacazette forced a good save, Sokratis hit the bar and Mustafi headed wide from the rebound in three big moments for the team. Hopefully, they don’t regret failing to add to their lead.
Let’s have a look at our Arsenal player ratings against Olympiacos on the night.
- Bernd Leno 8.5 – Mikel Arteta made the decision to use his first-choice goalkeeper for this one, instead of rotating and using Martinez. It turned out to be the right call, as Leno was Arsenal’s best player for much of the match. He made three good saves, won a couple of aerial balls and completed 89% of his passes. Another clean sheet.
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos 6.5 – Sokratis isn’t a right-back, but he did a solid enough job defensively at least. He offered next to nothing in terms of supporting the attack, but had a late chance from a set-piece where he hit the bar with a good header.
- Shkodran Mustafi 7 – Mostly very good again, but there were a couple of mistakes in here. He gave the ball away dangerously at one point, but thankfully had Granit Xhaka for cover. The upside is that when he makes mistakes it seems the team are more ready to cover.
- David Luiz 6.5 – Another infuriating blast at goal from a free-kick he was never scoring. He also went close to an own goal, if not for another good Leno save. Other than that, his strong form alongside Mustafi continues. Who thought we’d be saying that?
- Bukayo Saka 8.5 – Provided his ninth assist of the season to set up Lacazette’s winning goal. He placed the pass perfectly. Completed all three of his attempted dribbles and won four of his five duels, as well as making three interceptions.
- Matteo Guendouzi 6.5 – Arsenal’s deeper midfield pairing lacked a bit of inspiration, but they didn’t do anything particularly wrong. It worries me when Guendouzi has to make a defensive header, he had one that almost caught Leno out and another that went out for a corner when there were better options.
- Granit Xhaka 6.5 – Covered well for Mustafi’s mistake as mentioned. Created most of Arsenal’s chances, but nothing hugely clear-cut. Got a silly (but also harsh) booking.
- Joe Willock 6 – A really hit and miss performance. For periods of the game, Willock couldn’t make a good touch, but if you watch the highlight reel you can see a hugely positive influence in a few of Arsenal’s best moves of the match. Probably needs more consistency in minutes.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 7 – Identified by the Olympiacos boss pre-match as someone who could cause problems. Did just that, playing a great part in the goal, keeping the ball on expertly before finding Saka. Set Lacazette up late on as well for another big chance. Worked hard for 80 minutes before that but didn’t threaten hugely until the final 10.
- Gabriel Martinelli 6 – For most of the match, Martinelli just wasn’t particularly involved. Ended up coming off before the hour mark after a quiet performance. Still, he created the best chance Arsenal didn’t score, giving Lacazette a sitter.
- Alexandre Lacazette 7 – Missed said sitter, but made up for it by scoring another one later on. He could’ve had a second but for a good save in the final minutes. It’s just good to see him getting so many chances, after he had that period of only taking three shots against Sheffield United, Chelsea and Burnley combined.
- Dani Ceballos 6 – Created a chance from a corner and his introduction was a positive for the team overall, but it wasn’t the most inspiring individual performance.
- Nicolas Pepe 7 – Looked lively and had a positive impact in the last 15 minutes. Drew some of the attention away from the left-hand side, giving Saka the space to take advantage. Unlucky he was ignored twice on a dangerous counter, first by Xhaka, then by Lacazette, who went for goal instead.
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles N/A – His first minutes this month. Only came on for the final seconds, but it’s good he’s back with the squad again.