Arsene Wenger on Olympiacos, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the “unbelievable” Ariel Ibagaza
Written by Jeffrey on September 30, 2011 4:45
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was surprised at the way many underestimated Olympiacos before last Wednesday’s Champions League game.
Speaking to Arsenal Player on Friday, the Frenchman explained that European games show more and more how much teams are improving as Manchester United could only manage a draw against FC Basel, Manchester City lost against Bayern Munich and of course the Gunners had to fight hard to battle their way past Ernesto Valverde’s men.
Asked about the fantastic debut by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Arsenal boss was cautious as he explained that he will be very patient with the 18-year old who did well but also showed that there are weaknesses in his game that needs to be corrected.
Wenger concluded by praising the Arsenal defensive department and also Olympiacos’ Ariel Ibagaza with the Frenchman describing the 34-year old Argentine as one of the best passers in Europe.
On Thursday, the manager said:
At the moment it looks like the English teams just don’t walk out and crush everybody, you know, because everybody improves in Europe, everybody fights very hard in these games.
You could see that with Basel [against Manchester United], you could see that with Bayern Munich [against Manchester City] the night before and with Olympiacos last night, difficult games and when you have the points, you’re happy.
[Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ready for Premier League action?] When you are ready for the Champions League you are ready for the Premier League.
But what is very positive, you know, people want to make stars in one night [but] football is not like that.
What is very positive for me is showing that he has the talent to be a future player but as well that on the same night that he has still some things to work on but I have big hope for me but as well I do not want to be impatient.
[The organisation at the back?] Well, I do not share the opinion of many people that we were better in the second half defensively than in the first.
We were in trouble in the first half more when we lost some balls during [our] build-up than through build-up from Olympiacos.
In the second half that happened less and they tired a bit more but overall, through the whole game, I think our defenders did very well.
Individually, [Bacary] Sagna, [Alex] Song, [Per] Mertesacker and [Andre] Santos did very well so no problem on that. And you have to give credit to Olympiacos and especially to [Ariel] Ibagaza.
He is a player, their number seven, who found unbelievable passes and I know him for a long time and you know, he’s one of the best passers in Europe.