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Defeated but Young Guns acquit themselves well in the birthplace of civilization*

December 10, 2009

I marked the asterisk next to civilization because it remains a contentious issue for some people who disagree that Greece was the birthplace of civilization.

On Wednesday night, a youthful XI, with an average age of 21, came to Piraeus and almost conquered it. Had you been abducted by an alien in the last few days and just made it back to earth to watch the first few minutes, you would never have know that it was our reserves (and Song) who were playing.

Crisp passing consistently found players in space and Olympiacos were happy to defend just like they were in the reverse fixture. There weren’t many clear cut chances; I only recall a shot aimed straight at their keeper.

Knowing they only had to eke out a point to qualify, the Greek team waited until they could land the killer blow. They couldn’t do it in the first 45 minutes. And they rarely threatened in the second half although Fabianski was determined to not let anything past him.

However on one occasion, he couldn’t prevent Leonardo sneak the winner through his legs. The Brazilian had pounced on a lose ball and his run was made all the more easy because of the rare defensive lapses by Gilbert and Bartley.

Other than that, we dominated the game in terms of possession and chances created. Ramsey showed why Arsene made the effort to persuade him to join us and not Utd with some phenomenal passes and acute awareness. This was particularly evident when he found Vela and Walcott. Neither of them reciprocated Ramsey’s efforts comprehensively but the good thing was that the effort was there.

Merida also had an impressive game also with his passing and movement creating plenty of trouble for Zico’s side. There was also a moment when he covered well in defence, intercepting and cleared the ball from the box into safety.

5 Englishmen started and this bit of trivia was extremely interesting to the ITV commentators if not us fans. Local lad Thomas Cruise didn’t embarrass himself and neither did the others including Bartley who if developed properly will become a commanding presence in defence.

It was pleasing to see a young team dominate their European counterparts in such hostile conditions (Olympiacos fans certainly know how to create an intimidating atmosphere).Whilst it is a little disappointing to see them lose, it is only a battle and I’d rather see them win the war. Like they say no pain, no gain. There was some pain but a lot of gain.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. GPS Justin permalink
    December 10, 2009 02:57

    They did really well today, I’m looking forward to the next few years when we conquer the world of football :)

  2. December 10, 2009 03:03

    Whoa, that is a rapid reply. I only finished posting it up. Wouldn’t be too quick to say something like that. Money talks don’t you know.

  3. December 10, 2009 05:37

    The performance for this young team was good.I know olympiacos has known that arsenal has two strong teams

  4. Ibro permalink
    December 10, 2009 07:58

    Who in European football has heard of Gilbert and Bartley?? The young guns put in a good shift last nite.. special mention must go to Ramsey and Song.. Silvester seems to be aiming to be Reserve coach sometime soon.. special mention also to Vela and Walcott for failing to make the best of their opportunities!!

  5. rou gie permalink
    December 29, 2009 21:16

    wasn’t meant to be but hey the result didn’t matter. The future is bright for the Gunners.

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