Olympiakos coach Pedro Martins has admitted that Arsenal have ‘improved a lot’ following their narrow 1-0 defeat against the Gunners in Thursday’s Europa League round-of-32 clash, while speaking to SDNA.
Only one team this season had tasted victory at Olympiakos’s Karaiskakis Stadium fortress before Mikel Arteta’s rejuvenated side arrived in Greece and that was Bayern Munich.
But, thanks to a sterling defensive effort and a late Alexandre Lacazette tap in, the Gunners conquered one of the continent’s most impressive home records while grabbing a valuable away goal in the process.
It was the sort of resilient, joined-up performance that Arsenal simply looked incapable of producing during the final few months of the Unai Emery era and it is testament to Arteta, just weeks into his first ever managerial role, that he has already elevated his side to a whole new level – a point Martins was keen to make at full-time.
“Very often football is unfair. And that's why the whole world loves it,” he lamented.
“We believe in ourselves we have shown that we can do a lot and that is how we will fight (the deficit). Arsenal have improved a lot and it will be difficult but we will fight it.
“We had a good game but left with the bitter taste.”
Lacazette was the hero of the night, netting his second goal in the space of four days as he got his season back on track. But it was Bukayo Saka who left Piraeus with his reputation enhanced, the 18-year-old wonder-kid capping an all-action performance at left-back with a pinpoint assist, his ninth of the season.
At the other end, the previously error-prone David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi stood firm as Arsenal weathered an intermittent Olympiakos storm.
Have something to tell us about this article?