Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Olympiakos on Wednesday night saw them regain their composure after their defeat at the Emirates to rivals Chelsea last weekend. Jenny Leigh was in the press area and spoke to Arteta after the game.
Whilst the performance was somewhat lacklustre, especially in the first half, Arsenal did the job required of them and took all three points from the game.
They now sit top of their Champion’s League Group B table, two points clear of Schalke, who they face in a fortnight’s time.
Speaking with Mikel Arteta after the game, he told me:
“We’re really happy because we got the points and we’re top of the group now.”
I asked him whether his side were worried when Olympiakos equalized, to which he responded:
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. They worked really hard. In the first half I think they made it really tough for us and in the second half I think we were on the job physically and that made the difference.”
His teammate Francis Coquelin was quick to admit his side hadn’t got off to the best start in the game. He said:
“We had a shaky start. The goal we scored before half time helped a lot.”
Arsenal’s Gervinho scored in the 42nd minute, after a poor first-half performance from the Gunners who gave the ball away far too often, inviting Olympiakos to have 7 attempts on goal – 5 of which were on target.
The Gunners lost their lead almost immediately when Kostas Mitroglou’s header beat Vito Mannone and sailed into the top right-hand corner of his goal.
Arsenal’s defensive display again came into question as both Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen were beaten in the air by Mitrogolou.
Their sub-standard defending against Chelsea lost Arsenal the three points last weekend.
I asked Arteta, “There still seems to be concerns over your defence. You’re going to West Ham on Saturday. Have you worked on that and the threat that of Andy Carroll?”
He replied: “Not yet! We’ve been concentrating on this one and now we have two days to focus on the next one.”
Arsenal fans will hope his side prepare thoroughly for the weekend’s Premier League fixture as the Gunners have been punished by Andy Carroll in times past.
I asked the Spaniard, who stood out last weekend as the best passer in Europe, with a 94% pass completion record, how he felt about his new role as the holding midfielder.
"I feel comfortable, as long as the team wins, we are all happy, I'm happy."
Are you pleased with Arteta's start to life in a deeper midfield role?
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