By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal made one change in the starting line up. Walcott came in the place of Oxlade-Chamberlain. For the rest an unchanged team so an attack with Giroud, Walcott and Campbell.
The team that started: : Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, Campbell, Giroud
Near the Greek beach: Ospina, Debuchy, Gabriel, Chambers, Gibbs, Iwobi, Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Bellerin pays good attention to a cross and heads the ball back to Cech to prevent a possible dangerous situation. A yellow card for a dive from Fortounis comes out of the pocket of the ref. Ramsey gets a yellow card for a bad challenge. A bit of a bumpy match in the opening 15 minutes.
Campbell with a run on the right a low cross to Flamini but his shot hits the crossbar. What a great chance for Arsenal. The first real chance for Arsenal after 25 minutes. A cross from Özil but the keeper can punch it clear just before Giroud arrives. Arsenal continue to attack. Özil with a pass to Ramsey a left footed cross and Giroud heads the ball with some help of the keeper home. 0-1 to the Arsenal after 29 minutes.
Monreal then being stopped by the “dildiot” behind the goal line when he tries to prevent a corner. Luckily it comes to nothing as Olympiacos heads the ball over. Walcott with a steal and a good run but his shot from outside the penalty area goes wide. It opened up for him so every right to take the shot. Olympicacos with an attack on our left flank, a low cross and Koscielny almost puts the ball in his own net. Luckily the ball goes over. Then a shot from distance but Cech catches the ball. Arsenal then with a few just not good enough passes that could have lead to an opening. But the score remains at 0-1 in favour of Arsenal after 45 minutes.
Mertesacker immediately has to head a ball away from a dangerous position in the first minute of the second half. Giroud then down holding his ankle after he kicked a ball away in a defensive position. He landed badly on his right ankle it seems. But he could continue so let’s hope he can really continue. Özil with a pass to Campbell who cuts back, nice drag back of the ball on to the onrushing Giroud who puts the ball in the net with a low shot! 0-2 after 49 minutes. Arsenal now virtually qualified for the CL but still some 40 minutes to go.
Cech with save hands after a corner is headed straight at him. Campbell with a great cross to Walcott but his attempt is deflected in to a corner. At the other end Cech with a great save on a shot from distance from Cambiosa. Two heads clash after the resulting corner. Koscielny one of the victims needing some care. A little head wound it seems but he can continue.
Walcott just can’t reach Giroud and seconds later the keeper is first on the ball just in front of Walcott. At the other end Mertesacker with a great last ditch stop. Giroud then gets a yellow card after showing his displeasure after an Olympiacos player going down very dramatically. The Greek team with a few free kicks but in the end Cech stops the final shot of a good spell of Olympiakos.
Arsenal at the other end, a cross from Giroud just over the head of Walcott but Monreal on hand and his shot is stopped by the outstretched hand from Elabdeallaoui. Penalty. Giroud behind the ball for his hattrick and he scores! 0-3 to The Arsenal after 67 minutes. Olympiacos now have to score at least 3 goals if I’m not mistaken. One person on the bench didn’t dare to see at the penalty.
After a change from Olympiacos a corner is just headed over. Probably lost a bit of concentration after the delay. Gibbs then came on for Walcott. Campbell with a great run from almost his own penalty area but Giroud was just judged offside. Campbell who is growing and growing. Thanks Danny. Arsenal still 0-3 in front after 75 minutes.
Gibbs very effective in stopping a few Olympiakos attacks on the left flank. Giroud receiving a knee in his hamstring from Da Costa and down on the floor but he can continue once again. Bellerin also with a good attentive header to Cech. Özil with a free kick but the keeper can save it and then Arsenal win a corner. Can Giroud still do a Ronaldo and score 4 goals? He almost wriggles himself past two defenders but the ball runs away in the end.
Arsenal in control against Olympiakos that realising the huge task they face with 5 minutes to go. Suddenly some basketball on my stream… oh lucky Per is on hand to kick a cross away when the stream goes back to Greece. Gibbs almost away after Özil smartly let the ball go past him but a defender can save for a corner. Flamini with a wild kick could have gotten a yellow card.
Koscielny with a header that almost loops over Cech but no more own goals says the Arsenal stopper. Campbell working amazingly hard against his former loan team. Giroud will probably get man of the match but he is a good second for me. He goes off under a loud applause from the Arsenal supporters and maybe a few Olympiakos fans and Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on in the last minute of normal time. Chambers also comes on for Giroud.
Chamberlain with a shot but it is deflected wide for a corner. Arsenal controlling the match in extra time without getting in to any trouble any more.
What a way to put things right. A great win and lucky Wenger has more than half a brain and didn’t do what some fans said he should do and get rid of hattrick hero Giroud.