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Here we go again: Arsenal versus Olympiacos, the Untold Preview

By Phil Gregory

First of all, a quick apology. I am a terrible human being, and was actually supposed to blog in the aftermath of the Bolton game, having been up in the Clock End for it. In my absence, Walter put together a great post about the match, so I won’t rehash over old ground but just say the boys done good.

Walter couldn’t however fill in on the Catering Report, being as he does live in a different country so can’t sample the burger van as readily as I. Tony would probably hit the roof if the Catering Report fell by the side, so I’ll give me dues. Only munch hat I sampled was a fairly pricey hotdog from the burger van opposite Arsenal statement. Having not had much breakfast thanks to a decidedly ropey stomach from beers the night before, I was absolutely starving by lunchtime so went for the double hotdog in a baguette for £4.50. Unfortunately they ran out of baguettes so I just got the usual poxy bread roll, and they didn’t even offer to reduce the price with than in mind. I’ll never complain at two half decent sausages with onions, but gents, if you can’t serve the full product, you surely can’t charge full price!

Anyway, onto the small matter of the Olympiacos tie. Arsenal fortunately aren’t having to brave the Greek air traffic strikes just yet – unlike our very own Tony – and in all likelihood Greece could have gone kaput by the time of our away game in December. Sadly that’s what happens when you try and run a country that lets people retire early with big pension packages and try and fund a system through people self-certifying their income tax. Which is a bit like saying “how much of your wages would you like to keep?” and expecting people to say more than “erm… virtually all?”. Nonsensical, and the real shame is other Euro taxpayers are having to pick up the slack via the bailouts.

Anyway, I digress. Football. We’ve got a few injuries, some new whilst others are the usual suspects. Jack Wilshere came out this week with the news he’ll be out for four months, which is hardly ideal. Then you’ve got Vermaelen and Diaby who should be back fairly soon, whilst short termers Koscielny, Gervinho and Walcott are all in with a shout of playing versus Tottenham at the weekend. Djourou and Squillaci are also expected back in the next week, but too late for Tottenham.


Sagna Mertesacker Song Gibbs

Frimpong Arteta


Park/Rosicky Van Persie Arshavin

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With our lengthy list of absences, we’ve had to shuffle the defence a little bit. With about seven centre backs injured we’re limited to pairing Song with Mertesacker. That should be a reasonable enough partnership, with the main weakness being a lack of familiarity with each other as a partnership, and for Song in the centre of defence.

Clearly, that necessitates changing the midfield, with Frimpong coming in for Song. That’s a relatively like for like swap in terms of their role, and we should be alright given we’re at home. A couple of injuries up front require changes there too: Arshavin comes in on the left for Gervinho, with one of Rosicky or Park on the right. Neither of those two are naturally right sided players but they’ve got the skill set to do the job there. I suppose the likes of Chamberlain and Miyiachi could be in with a chance of a start there, but more likely we’ll go for experience and put them on the bench.

This game shouldn’t be too tricky, but as ever in the Champions League, there are few easy games. With a highly credible draw away to Dortmund, a win here would set us up very nicely for the rest of the group. I’m expecting 2-0 to the Arsenal, but with a slightly makeshift defence there could be a goal in this game for the Greeks.

Enjoy the match Gooners!

22 comments to Here we go again: Arsenal versus Olympiacos, the Untold Preview

  • You did not blog against Bolton match because Arsenal won the match. If had lost you would have had enough time to blog and call arsenal all kinds of names and yab wenger. U anti arsenal. Go blog 4 spurs.

  • Possibly, but Wenger might want to go with experience here, despite the youngster’s impressive carling Cup game

  • makenzi

    Who is better DM Coquelin or Frimmaster

  • Kelechi – would you care to present some evidence here?

  • JohnW

    I really would like to see Chamberlain start, linking up with an experienced head like Sagna.I also think this should be the ideal game for Park to be eased into, a CL game where the opposing team won’t be wielding axes as is the case against cloggers like Blackburn.

  • I for one am looking forward to tonights game.Lets get the win we need and make it through tonight without any injuries.Also,am i the only arsenal fan who is delighted at man city’ poor champions league form: i bet the grass isnt so green now hey clichy,nasri

  • I think kelechi is on smack. I’m pretty sure I’m openly pro Arsenal, pro Wenger?

  • LOL – my gosh… the enemy within – yes I can see it now, all along Phil was just pulling our strings and watching us dance to his tune!

  • Mohamed Hafiz Faizal

    As long as I’ve read Untold, they’ve always given support of all forms towards the Arsenal whilst still providing a critical assessment of whatever it is they’re writing about. I think Kelenchi hasn’t been on this site enough.

  • Johnny Deigh

    On an interesting side note and coincidence, Arsenal (Argentina) are playing Olympia (Paraguay) Thursday evening in the So. American Cup

  • Johnny Deigh

    The Ox starts tonight along with Chamakh. It will be interesting to see how these two will work together, notably if the Ox will be able to put some pinpoint crosses onto Chamakh’s head.

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    Already Ox has made his presence felt. It was heartening to see the commentary team talk some good words about Chamberlain. Something rather different from the din I get to hear in ESPN. Ah ESPN is not shoing much of Arsenal’s EPL games these days.

  • walter

    I think half the team went asleep after being 2-0 up. Especially their corners seemed very surprising to the team. or they just switched off after a corner was given?
    Maybe this has something to do with the fact that in the EPL most corners are hoofed in the penalty area. But on the continent some teams work and train on such situations. And we are not very much used to this as we could see.

    But the good thing is that in the second half we did pay attention and we always put 2 players to cut it out.

    A great win against a decent side and as they know in Manchester : there are not many easy games in the CL.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Good night of football for Gunners, the only EPL team to pick up all 3 points. But the media are already calling this a narrow victory! This was a great victory against a decent team with most of our players out.
    Goooooood night!

  • walter

    Indeed Sammy,
    10 players not available and amongst them 5 central defenders is not an easy thing to handle.

    Well the “team in crisis” is the only one to take the 3 points in the CL. Not bad at all.

  • Pat

    Well said Walter and Sammy. When I saw Per Mertesacker and Alex Song giving each other a bear hug at the end I thought “Yesss we have a team!”

  • bjtgooner

    Good win for the guys. Chamberlain looks a great prospect!

  • Gooner Gal

    The Emirates was rocking tonight and the atmosphere was brilliant, the away fans were completely drowned out. It was a really great game to watch and all the players deserve a lot of credit for delivering the goods (which I know they will not get from the media and some of our supposed ‘supporters’.

    Yes, it was a nervy and disjointed performance at times but when you see a new never tested and never seen combination of players give everything they deserve a round of applause from the fans. It was the kind of win that actually fills me with cheer because I believe that things can and will get better as the players find their feet and gain a better understanding of their positions and one another. The overall squad now feels like it has more depth to it.

    Song is my Man of the Match today, but I think the whole team did well considering less than 50% of the squad have played more than 7 games together.

  • Gooner Gal

    Oh and I hope the village idiot that is Mirror hack John Cross finds the time to go back and ask the Arsenal fans he reckoned he spoke for, whether they still don’t want Alex OC at the club.

    Stuart Pearce is going to be all over the poor boy like a rash now. Cappello might even get in on the act if he can too.

    In Arsene we Trust.

  • Mandy dodd

    Really seems like wenger is building something here. Early days with this team and i expect more mishaps, but maybe it is time for some to start enjoying wins rather than expecting them as in the past few years. We may be missing some of the flair from the past at the moment but impressed with the way the team battled to keep their lead in the second half, thought frimpong did really well, arteta helps spread composure and ox is getting noticed. A win against what is now a good team. Nervy at times but we could easily have scored a couple more, but the media will not tell you that, they will be too busy circling white hart lane in fervent orgasmic ecstatic gism ridden expectation at the weekend. To them the stage is set for us to be demolished for good with an ade brace at the very least.
    Three wins in a row, soon key players will return, and hopefully even the most worried arsenal fans will start to believe

  • Mahesh

    These are the ratings for players at Independent:

    Just observe how, even though we won, all our players’ ratings are lower than ManCity’s!! I couldn’t find Independent ratings for ManU match. Seems like they didn’t find their performance ratings worthy 😉