Interview

Why Arteta brought on Odegaard and Partey

For a brief moment on Thursday, it looked as if history may repeat itself.

Youssef El-Arabi, whose last-gasp goal knocked us out of the Europa League at Emirates Stadium last season, struck again at the Clock End to inch Olympiacos closer to another shock in north London.

This time disaster was averted as we saw out the game to go through 3-2 on aggregate. And if anything we had enough chances to draw and perhaps even win the match.

Mikel Arteta responded instantly to El-Arabi's goal by making a double change. On came Martin Odegaard and Thomas Partey, and the balance of power swung back in our favour.

"We needed more control," explained Arteta when he spoke to Arsenal Media afterwards.

"We needed to put some passes together. You can't always play football trying to attack in two or three touches, that led to a lot of balls lost and when the forwards are running and the backline are squeezing, there's a lot of transition moments.

"I wasn't happy at all with that and we needed more stability and, after the substitutions, we were better."

Arteta could once again not fault the work ethic from a team that was determined to make amends for last season's exit at the hands of the Greek champions.

"We had that from the beginning," he said. "But again today, we put ourselves into some difficult situations.

"There were some open situations where we could to play the ball through and be one v one with the keeper, but we gave the ball away and allowed the opponents to attack our back four. If we want to have any chance in the competition, we have to do things better than that.

"It was a difficult opponent in this round. Benfica was a really difficult opponent as well. They're all going to be.

“The level is really high in the Europa League at the moment. It's not like 10 years ago I think. I think the level is much higher so let's wait for the draw."

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