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Bould blames Chelsea defeat for sluggish Arsenal Champions League start

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By Andrew Tuft

Thursday 04 October 2012

Steve Bould, the Arsenal assistant manager, believes the Gunners made a slow start to their Champions League win over Olympiakos because of lingering disappointment at losing to Chelsea in the Premier League days earlier, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

Koscielny and Vermaelen challenge for a header

Gervinho gave Arsenal the lead shortly before half-time but Olympiakos went into the break level thanks to a Kostas Mitroglu header, with the Greek side having had the better chances of the first-half by virtue of some nervy defending from the home side.

In particular, the Arsenal centre-backs, Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny, were guilty of wasting possession and inviting pressure from their opponents, with the latter also perhaps fortunate to only be booked for a challenge on Paulo Machado.

Arsenal’s defending had been sloppy against Chelsea, when lax marking from a first set-piece allowed Fernando Torres to score, while Koscielny later diverted the ball past goalkeeper Vito Mannone to give Arsenal their first defeat of the season.

Pushed on the state of the defending against Olympiakos and why Arsenal started the first-half with such uncertainty, Bould said: “Getting beaten on Saturday may have knocked our confidence a bit. We’re hoping that’s gone and we get back on track. We kicked the game off then looked a bit nervous. I think the result from the weekend drained us. We lost a bit of confidence.

[The defending is] down to me, isn’t it? We will look at it and try to correct it. After three clean sheets there was only one way to go. The goals against us in the main have been set pieces which I think we can improve on. I think we’re doing OK.

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