Alexandre Lacazette scored a rare away goal in Arsenal‘s Europa League round of 32 first leg against Olympiacos. Bukayo Saka assisted the only goal of the match to put Arsenal in the driver’s seat ahead of the return leg.
Arsenal Grab Crucial Away Goal in Greece
After a shaky start in the first 15 minutes or so, Arsenal settled in. Arsenal goalkeeper, Bernd Leno, was quite honest after the match about how Arsenal started.
“We had problems,” said Leno, “luckily we didn’t concede a goal.”
Arsenal were lucky to not concede. From this point on, they made an attempt to control the match. For the most part it worked. The game started to look a bit stretched late in the second half. Luckily, the Gunners took advantage of that and poached a goal when it looked like they might concede.
Saka got forward and was played in by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before placing a perfectly weighted cross into the path way of Lacazette to smash in. The goal came in the 81st minute. An away goal was crucial for Arsenal in this tie. With the inconsistent play as of late, they needed to take any advantage they could get.
Arsenal should have extended the lead in the final minutes of the game on more than one occasion. The hosts looked scrambled, but were able to avoid further damage. Although Mikel Arteta would have been hoping for more, he got his first European win under his belt.
There were question marks surrounding Arteta’s approach to this game. It was clear that he would not put out the same starting XI from the win over Newcastle United, but where would he make his changes?
The biggest question mark in the lineup was in goal. Emiliano Martinez started throughout the group stage under Unai Emery. Arteta opted for his number one in the most important competition.
Hector Bellerin is still someone to be cautious with and he got 90 minutes at the weekend. He was replaced at right back by Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Although he has played there this year, it is far from his natural position. However, he put in a solid shift.
Matteo Guendouzi was brought back into the team after a reported row with Mikel Arteta while the club trained in Dubai. This shows that either Guendouzi got his act together or that the incident was not nearly as serious as once thought. Either way, its good news for everyone involved.
Two Wins in a Row
Two consecutive wins in all competitions should give Arsenal a boost of confidence heading into the business end of the season. With two home matches coming up this week, Arsenal will hope to settle in and make a decent run in the second half of the season. Not much has gone right for the club over the past year, but a successful finish could be what propels the club forward for next season and beyond.
Arsenal are back in action this weekend, hosting Everton at the Emirates in the Premier League. The home second leg of the round of 32 tie with Olympiacos in the Europa League takes place next Thursday.
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