Thursday, October 4
By Isaac Hayden
We play Olympiacos tonight at Underhill, and I really can’t wait. The NextGen Series has been a great experience for us all, but this evening we also have the opportunity to put things right after our 2-0 defeat in Greece last time out.
We were disappointed in the way we played at Olympiacos, our passing wasn’t great and we didn’t keep the ball as well as we would have liked to. We also didn’t get into any punishing areas where we were likely to score. Defensively we did quite well - the first goal that we conceded was unlucky because the striker was offside, and the second was a deflected free kick and Reice [Charles-Cook] couldn't do much about that. But we were lacking creativity in the final third and that probably cost us the game.
The fact that we lost while Marseille beat Athletic Bilbao means that all four teams are level on three points each after two games. That obviously makes things very interesting and it shows that all the sides in our group are strong. But hopefully we can get the win tonight and take another step towards the knockout stages.
The good thing about playing Olympiacos straight away is that we have a chance to make amends. The last game is fresh in our minds and we have been working on the things we didn't get right in Greece. We have some quality players in our squad, so if we gel tonight and play as we know we can, then we feel confident we will get the three points.
Hopefully Arsène Wenger will be at Underhill again to see the match. We were all really pleased that he called up Hector Bellerin, Martin Angha and Serge Gnabry for the Capital One Cup game against Coventry last week. They all deserved it and have played very well all season.
They told us it was a great experience and having tasted it once, they obviously want more. It is good for the rest of us to hear about it too, and it has made everyone else think that maybe we have a chance. It is all a matter of making sure that we perform as consistently as possible - and that starts tonight against Olympiacos.
NextGen Series blog archive:4 Oct 2012