Olympiakos Piraeus vs. Arsenal  2 - 1

Article

Coquelin wants strong response

5 December 2012 15:04

Francis Coquelin has urged his Arsenal team-mates to forget their Champions League defeat and concentrate on beating West Brom on Saturday.

The Gunners succumbed to a 2-1 loss in their final group game with Olympiakos, despite having led through Tomas Rosicky's goal, allowing Schalke to qualify as group winners.

Although Coquelin is disappointed that his side failed to hold on to their lead in Greece, he insisted they must put the result behind them and focus on securing three points against Steve Clarke's men.

"We started really well, we had a great first half and when you are winning 1-0 away you want to hold on to the result," he told the club's official website.

"We dropped a little bit and they scored two goals, so we are really disappointed.

"It is a tough place but let's not forget we are Arsenal and when you come here, everyone wants to win (against you). We could have come back with a win so we are very frustrated.

"But now we have to concentrate on the next game; we have a really important match against West Brom and we want to get the three points. We had a few bad results recently, so we need the three points at the weekend."

Article

Wenger praises young guns

5 December 2012 01:54

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was proud of his young side despite their 2-1 loss to Olympiacos on Tuesday.

Tomas Rosicky opened the scoring before goals from Giannis Maniatis and Kostas Mitroglou helped the Greek side to victory in the Champions League clash.

With Schalke drawing against Montpellier in the other Group B encounter, Arsenal would have finished top if they had won on the road.

Wenger said he was happy with his younger brigade – including the likes of Francis Coquelin and Jernade Meade – despite the result.

"I feel with young players, you can discover them in competitions like tonight. They have the quality and I believe if everybody is fit we have a strong squad," he said.

"But in certain areas of course, when you have players like (Abou) Diaby and Rosicky not fit like was the case into now, we are a bit short because we cannot rotate.

"We'll see where we stand on the 1st of January and see what we do."

Wenger was also unhappy with the refereeing in the lead-up to the equaliser, which saw Maniatis bundle in from a corner.

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny felt Paulo Machado's header hit the post and had not been saved.

"We had a good first half. I believe we dropped physically in the second because many players lack experience at that level therefore we couldn't take the chances for the second goal," Wenger said.

"On top of that, we got a very bad decision against us on the goal. I am not against the fifth referee but you would like them to be at least concentrated on their job and that was not the case tonight."

With his team now facing the prospect of taking on one of Europe's best sides, Wenger said he was hoping for a favourable draw in the round of 16.

"We need a Christmas present of a good draw now and we could get a bad draw or a less strong team," he said.

"The only disadvantage we have is we will play the second leg away from home but statistically it is not proven it is a disadvantage."

Olympiacos coach Leonardo Jardim said he was delighted his side managed to finish their Champions League campaign with a win.

"It's fair to say we are not happy because we were already out of the Champions League, but we wanted a win tonight and to make the fans happy – and we did that,'' he said.

"It's true that our league starts late and that cost us in the early games."

Article

UEFA Champions League Group B wrap: Greeks shock Arsenal

4 December 2012 23:01

Olympiakos came from behind to beat Arsenal in Piraeus, as the Gunners finished runners-up in Group B behind Schalke.

Thomas Rosicky had put the away side into the lead before second-half goals from Giannis Maniatis and Kostas Mitroglou earned the Greek side a surprise victory.

Arsenal started well with Gervinho bursting past Kostas Manolas down the left before skewing a shot wide from inside the box.

A one-two with Rosicky saw the Ivorian play Marouane Chamakh through on goal, but Vassilis Torossidis was able to get back and disposess the Moroccan.

Olympiakos looked lively down their own left flank through Torossidis and Abdoun; The Greek fullback had a header cleared off the line by Rosicky and Abdoun forced Wojciech Szczesny into a good save either side of a fluffed half-volley from Aaron Ramsey.

The game was increasingly becoming an end-to-end shoot-out with Gervinho especially dangerous on the counter, though his poor decision-making brought several attacks to a premature end.

Eventually the Ivorian got it right, jinking into the box before cutting the ball back to the edge of the area for Rosicky to curl into the far corner via the palms of Roy Carroll just before half-time.

Andrey Arshavin replaced the Czech goalscorer after the break and brought even more speed to Arsenal's attack on the break. The Russian had a chance to double the lead but headed Chamakh's cross over the bar from 10-yards.

Olympiakos, playing only for pride, continued to push forward, affording Arsenal space to break into. Abdoun's neat through-ball was prodded wide by Ljubomir Fejsa before another swift Gunners counter saw Arshavin's stinging shot clawed away by Carroll.

Drissa Diakite's floated cross met the head of Paulo Machado, and the Portuguese midfielder's header was tipped behind by Szczesny (who claimed he had not touched the ball).

From the resulting corner, Kostas Manolas' header ricocheted off the chest of Ramsey and into the path of Maniatis who buried the ball in the net.

The Greek champions pressed for a winner immediately, as Djebbour headed Machado's cross wide from close range.

Substitute Mitroglou was more clinical however, creating a yard of space on the edge of the box before curling a low shot past the outstretched arm of Szczesny and into the bottom corner.

Schalke finished as winners of Group B after a Benedikt Howedes goal earned a 1-1 draw with Montpellier.

The Germany defender nodded home from close range after Christoph Metzelder flicked on Julian Draxler's free kick after a tame opening 50 minutes in France, but a quickfire equaliser from Emanuel Herrera was enough to earn the hosts a deserved share of the spoils.

Article

Wenger to rest key players

3 December 2012 18:05

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has rested six players, including forwards Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott, for Tuesday's clash with Olympiakos.

The Gunners have already guaranteed their place in the last 16 of the Champions League, prompting Wenger to excuse Podolski and Walcott, as well as midfielders Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere, along with defender Per Mertesacker for the trip to Greece.

Wenger has instead called up a range of fringe and youth team players, five of whom could make their senior debuts.

"Some players needed a rest because they were a bit on the fringe of injury, and some players are injured," Wenger told the Arsenal website.

"When I count the injured players I speak about Podolski and Walcott.

"We needed to rest Wilshere, 100 percent, and Cazorla, Arteta and Mertesacker played many games recently. They have been rested.

"It is, and we have one luxury, that we can do it. But we have as well one necessity, to win the game tomorrow night.

"I tried to find the right balance between resting some players and as well having a competitive team tomorrow night."

Arsenal will top Group B if they win and German team Schalke, who lead the London club by one point, draw or lose against French champions Montpellier.

Super League table

# Team MP D P
7 0 +0 0
8 0 +0 0
9 0 +0 0
10 0 +0 0
11 0 +0 0

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 1 +2 3
2 1 +2 3
3 1 +1 3
4 1 +1 3
5 1 +1 3