Robin van Persie criticised Alexandre Lacazette for failing to put Arsenal in total control of their Europa League round of 32 tie after the striker fluffed a late chance to double his tally away to Olympiacos. It was Mikel Arteta’s first European match in charge of the Gunners and the Spaniard will be confident of progressing through to the next round, with Lacazette scoring the only goal of Thursday night’s first leg in the 81st minute. Bukayo Saka was again the provider with an exquisite pass for Lacazette’s strike, the youngster’s eighth assist of the season in all competitions, but the visitors will be disappointed after missing an opportunity to go further ahead with five minutes remaining in Athens. Arsenal’s players broke with pace after an Olympiacos corner came to nothing and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found Lacazette on the edge of the box whose first touch badly let him down meaning he was unable to complete a quickfire brace.
The Frenchman did manage to get a shot away but it was directed straight at Olympiacos goalkeeper Jose Sa who nudged the ball behind to safety and Arteta’s men had to settle for a one-goal advantage heading into the second leg at the Emirates. Though Van Persie was impressed with Arsenal’s performance late on at the Karaiskakis Stadium, he felt Lacazette should have converted his late chance. ‘They should have [extended their lead] in the end. The last 15 minutes were really good and they created three or four really good chances,’ the ex-Arsenal forward said on BT Sport. ‘This is a nice counter-attack [leading up to Lacazette’s chance] but this is what I want to talk about. This is not world-class, this particular action.
‘His body movement is too close, it’s too much towards the ball. His body should be more open so he can have that slight touch, similar to the one [Erling] Haaland had against PSG, sliding it through so you only need one touch. ‘Lacazette needs two touches to get a shot in. He does well with the second touch but he needs an extra second. He knows what I mean. ‘With the first touch he should put it at an angle where he only needs two or maximum three steps to have a clear shot. He didn’t do it there.’