The warm down: Arsenal progress to the quarter finals of the Europa League.
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 18: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal put their arms around ex-teammate Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Olympiacos during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Arsenal and Olympiacos at Emirates Stadium on March 18, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around Europe remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Arsenal tasted defeat for the first time in this seasons UEFA Europa League in a nervy affair where the Gunners scraped through to the Quarter finals of the competition.

A crucial save from shot stopper Bernd Leno ensured progression into the next round. 

Struggle for control in the middle of the park

Due to squad rotation and Arsenal being in a strong position going into this tie, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta rotated his sides midfield introducing Mo Elneny into the two-man pivot with Granit Xhaka.

Dani Ceballosalso came into a more advanced role that saw the Real Madrid loanee take the place of teammate Martin Odegaard. With the new look midfield, the Gunners struggled for stability and control throughout the 90 minutes.

This allowed Olympiacos to have lots of possession and cause Arteta’s side problems.

Missed chances come back to haunt Gunners

Putting the ball in the back of the net hasn’t been an issue for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang over past years however, in some key moments of this seasons Europa League campaign, The Gabonese striker has struggled to find his killer instincts. 

Aubameyang had three fantastic chances to score, and a lack of composure saw all three fly high or wide.

Arsenal will need their star man to be firing on all cylinders between now and the end of the season if they hope to achieve domestic success by winning the Europa League. 

Key Substitutions ensure progression:

Mikel Arteta made crucial substitutions to steady the ship and qualify for the next round. The introduction of both Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard gave the Gunners that control that they first lacked on the game.

Partey joined teammate Xhaka in the two-man midfield pivot and instantly, Arsenal retained possession of the football much more efficiently. Odegaard added that creative flair as well as working hard to track back for his team.

A late cameo from Winger Gabriel Martinelli was a massive boost for Arsenal too. The 19-year-old Brazilian bought an injection of pace down the left-hand side as well as attacking threat as Martinelli created a brilliant chance that Captain Aubameyang couldn’t finish. 

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