Arsenal: Arteta 'right' to drop Aubameyang
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has made it clear to his players they were nowhere near the level required in Thursday’s defeat to Olympiacos. Arsenal were beaten 1-0 on the night by the Greek side at the Emirates in the second leg of the Europa League last-16 tie. However, the Gunners still progress to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.
With the score at 0-0 at half time, Arsenal appeared to be cruising towards the last eight.
However, Youssef El Arabi’s second-half strike gave the visitors a glimmer of hope.
Arsenal were able to see out the tie but Arteta was clearly fuming with his players’ performance.
Arteta told BT Sport: “Really happy to be through. We had a tough opponent, so happy to be through.
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“Sometimes we have to be fair with ourselves – we were nowhere near the levels we could be.
“We were unstable with the ball and we gave it away. It’s impossible when you give the ball away to have any structure. We created enough chances to win but were nowhere near the levels in which we can perform.”
Arsenal beat north London rivals Tottenham 2-1 on Sunday but Arteta says fixture congestion cannot be used as a reason for their performance.
“We can’t use any excuses,” he continued.
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“We had fresh players in the side. We started the game really well but then we had a lack of stability.
“We need to keep the ball and play some passes together and not just keep giving the ball away in transitions.
“When we conceded, we did get better and got more control but with their goal, we gave them some belief, which you cannot give to the opponent. We’ll get better.
“When it comes to decision-making and execution, it’s a little bit more difficult.
“We need another win in the Premier League and it’s a big chance after the international break to get a run together.”
Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe was pleased to make it through despite a disappointing result on the night.
“It means a lot to us,” Smith Rowe said.
“Going out to this team last year wasn’t good. But it means a lot tonight.
“I don’t think we started well. It wasn’t the best performance. But we are through. Probably after the game on Sunday [against Tottenham] there was a bit of fatigue. Overall we’re just glad to be through.
“It was difficult. They have good players and are good on the counter. We never took control after the goal but got the result.”
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