Arsenal 2 Olympicos 3
( Walcott 35, Alexis 65, Pardo 33, Ospina og 40, Finnbogason 66)

Arsenal endured another miserable Champions League night when Olympiacos shocked the Gunners with a 3-2 win at the Emirates on Tuesday night. Pointless in group F after two games was not what Arsene Wenger or the Emirates faithful had in mind, and with back to back games against European Champions Bayern Munich to follow it remains a possibility that that scenario may still be the case after four games. Felipe Pardo’s deflected shot gave the Greek side the opener, with Theo Walcott levelling two minutes later. What followed was another howler from David Ospina. Kostas Fortounis swung in a corner which came straight to Ospina. With no attacker pressurising him, the Columbian ‘ keeper seemed startled and mishandled the ball, the bounce of which had crossed the line as seen and awarded by the goal line official. Arsenal surged forward for a second half leveller and it duly arrived through Alexis Sanchez’s header. Still basking in the aura of having come back to 2-2, the Arsenal rearguard switched off and substitute Alfred Finnbogason tucked away what proved to be the winner to leave Arsena, bottom of the group after two games.

A largely dull opening affair devoid of any serious goal mouth action would bely the drama that would follow. Alexis was involved in two incidents of note, almost identical in everything including the outcome.

Alexis set up a fast break, with Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain close. The ball was played to Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right, he did well to hold up the ball at pace, but his shot hit the side netting under pressure from Leandro Salino.

Moments later and almost a repeat move. Alexis again initiated the break, but this time fed Walcott on the right. A tame shot from Walcott and Roberto had it covered.

Olympiacos replied with a shot from Fortunis who hit wide from 15 yards out. Former a West Bromwich Albion striker Ideye Brown was making a menace of himself, and his hustling enabled Fortunis to manufacture a shot which was blocked by Gabriel for corner. From the set piece, the ball came out to Pardo who let fly with a shot which deflected in for a shock Olympiacos lead.

Fresh from his treble at the King Power stadium Alexis was in the mood and you sensed that he would the one to make things happen for the Gunners. He did, and his ball to find Walcott on the left enabled the England striker to score from a tight angle for 1-1. Roberto will not have been pleased with his attempted save, but this would be later surpassed with some spectacular misjudgment from Ospina.

Another Fortunis corner, and the ball was whipped in towards an unchallenged Ospina. The Columbian mishandled and bizarrely looked to bounce the ball. The ball had crossed the line as judged by the goal line official, as the Olympiacos players turned away to celebrate, Wenger glumly looked on.

Arsenal had a good shout for a penalty as former Leicester City player Esteban Cambiasso appeared to push into Alexis, but the Dutch official Ba’s Nijhuis waved play on.

With a well timed tackle Laurent Koscielny injured a hamstring and had to be replaced by Per Mertersacker. As Arsenal continued to force the pace, the blue Greek defensive wall held firm, although helped in part by time wasting by Roberto who finally received a yellow card for his antics.

From a corner, Mertersacker found himself well placed for a follow up shot which Roberto got down to and save. The loose ball however fell right for Santi Cazorla’s to follow up, but the head of Omar Elabdellaoui off the line denied Arsenal a leveller.

The Gunners finally drew parity when Walcott’s cross was headed in by Alexis and Arsenal looked to be on the verge of another resurgence. Less than a minute later however, and Arsenal’s collective defending fell apart, as Olympiacos attacked and Finnbogason tucked home from close in to restore the visitors lead.

More shock for Wenger’s side who had to force the issue again. Francis Coquelin made way for Aaron Ramsey and Hector Bellerin for Joel Campbell. Oxlade-Chamberlain was now at right back. Still Olympiacos held firm as Alexis and Walcott went close.

Four minutes of time added on gave the Gunners some brief hope of salvaging a point, but Walcott with almost the final touch of the game hit a tame effort which was neither a shot nor a cross. Much Champions League work to do for Arsenal, who will have to make a vast improvement in the next two games against Bayern.