Olympiakos manager reveals biggest Arsenal weakness that led to Europa League shock

Arsenal’s biggest weakness lies in set-pieces, according to Olympiakos manager Pedro Martins. The Greek giants secured a 2-1 extra-time win at the Emirates Stadium in February which led to the Gunners’ shock Europa League elimination.

Set-pieces are always important

Olympiakos manager Pedro Martins

Both of the Olympiakos’ goals came from corner kicks as Pape Abou Cisse and Youssef El-Arabi hit the target either side of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s stunning overhead kick.

Martins always knew this is where Arsenal’s biggest flaws lie and worked a lot on set-pieces during training.

The Olympiakos manager told The Athletic: “Set-pieces are always important.

“In this kind of match, you must be efficient when you have a chance. We watched many games and we almost saw the weakness.

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“Most importantly, we saw what is standard in how the team operates… against that weakness, we tried to work our plan.

“We’ve scored a lot from set pieces. We work on it a lot. In these situations, we have players with big quality like [Mathieu] Valbuena and Giorgos [Masouras].

“They deliver the ball well and then after, we have Cisse, (Ousseynou) Ba, (Ruben) Semedo or Youssef — they are strong in the area.

“Attack the space and don’t hit the ball too fast.”



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Martins, however, is impressed with Mikel Arteta’s work at Arsenal and even congratulated him at full-time.

The Portuguese manager praised Arteta as he is still surprised with how much he has changed this fragile squad in such a short amount of time.

Martins added: “I just told him congratulations because he’s doing a great job.

“I’m impressed by how all the team are improving in the last two months.


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“It’s unbelievable what he’s doing in so little time.”

A number of Arsenal players came in contact with Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis before the match in north London.

Some players have decided to self-isolate after Marinakis announced he has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

That led to the postponement of tonight’s clash against Manchester City as a precaution but Saturday’s match against Brighton (3pm) is expected to go ahead as planned.

An official club statement read: “The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them [players] developing Covid-19 at extremely low.

“However, we are strictly following the government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact.

“As a result, the players are unavailable for tonight’s match against Manchester City and the Premier League has decided the game should be postponed.

“The players will remain at their homes until the 14-day period expires. Four Arsenal staff, who were sitting close to Mr Marinakis during the match will also remain at home until the 14 days are complete.”

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