Football Should Be An Art: Tonight’s match against the rather dubious Olympiakos

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By Tony Attwood

So for the second Champions League match running we are playing a club whose ownership is deeply involved in scandals and corruption allegations.   Oh well, so it goes.  Funny that the press in the UK don’t seem overly concerned.  Why is that I wonder.

But at least we have our banner to look at.  

The injuries

We’ve risen up the table to 5th which is unfortunate, but one of those who was injured – Francis Coquelin – is training again, and may or may not play tonight.   Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta are out with minor problems – so it is the curse of the year of the seven left backs again – or not as the case may be.  Here is the chart as supplied by    They have Welbeck, Rosicky and Wilshere as the three long termers plus Arteta and Flamini – so they too are counting Coquelin as ok.

1 Newcastle United 11
2 Manchester City 9
3 Everton 7
4 Crystal Palace 6
5 Arsenal 5
6 Bournemouth 5
7 Liverpool 5
8 Aston Villa 4
9 Tottenham Hotspur 4
10 State Aid United 4
11 Manchester United 3
12 Southampton 3
13 Stoke City 3
14 Leicester City 2
15 Norwich City 2
16 Sunderland 2
17 Watford 2
18 West Bromwich Albion 2
19 PGMO 1
20 Swansea City 0

The house team of the PGMO have no excuse for their current state of affairs having only one injury.  And indeed not to Swansea.  Giroud is suspended through being sent off the last time round, so that suggests exactly who is going to be in the number 9 position.

Alexis Sánchez is back scoring which doesn’t mean he will do that every game, but as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was quoted as saying, “…he’s one of the most passionate and hungry individuals I know.

“It’s his everyday mannerisms around the training ground, how he trains, his performances, how he scores goals, how he plays and how he defends from up front. These are all things that we can all learn, that everyone who watches football could learn from. I’ve definitely put myself in the bracket of somebody who learns from him every day.

“If he knows when he’s not at his best, which is rare, he’ll always push himself to do as well as he can and he demands a lot of himself.”

Olympiakos in the Champions League was where Oxlade-Chamberlain announced himself as he was the youngest English player to score in the competition.

And then we have Theo Walcott who has scored 12 goals in his last 13 Arsenal starts and Alexis who has just scored a superb hattrick.  That’s not a bad pairing.  Put the Ox on the other wing and their goal keeper won’t know what is going on.

The eternal Greek champions’ centre-backs – Dimitris Siovas is not known for his ability to cope with pace so we might be onto a winner there and  as one commentator put it “Per Mertesacker could give him a head start and beat him”.   Siovas (it is suggested by those who know more than me) is also lacking a bit of composure these days.

So by fair means or some variant Olympiakos have won the Greek title for the past five seasons and have won all their domestic league games so far this season.  But we’ve just beaten Tottenham and Leicester without any aid, and we usually beat them at home, so that’s ok.

Olympiakos midfielder Luka Milivojevic is suspended following his dismissal  in last season’s Europa League and Manuel da Costa is also out with a knee injury.  Here’s  their league table top 10.  Anything strike you as fishy?

1 Olympiakos 5 5 0 0 16 3 13 15
2 Panathinaikos 6 4 0 2 10 7 3 12
3 AEK Athens 5 3 1 1 9 4 5 10
4 PAOK Salonika 5 3 1 1 8 5 3 10
5 Panetolikos 4 2 1 1 5 3 2 7
6 Asteras Tripoli 5 2 1 2 6 6 0 7
7 Panionios 5 2 1 2 4 6 -2 7
8 Giannina 5 2 1 2 7 10 -3 7
9 Atromitos 5 2 0 3 4 5 -1 6
10 FC Xanthi 5 1 3 1 3 4 -1 6
And so onto the team…
Monreal Koscielny, Mert, Bellerin
Cazorla Coquelin
Ramsey Özil Alexis
The all out attack alternative has no Coquelin and The Ox playing.
The records show that there are always goals in Olympiakos games in the Champs League and its qualifiers, and that we usually score against them when at home.  Indeed Olympiakos have conceded at least two goals in seven of their last eight European games.   We’ve beaten them at home in each of the last three matches against them scoring two or more each time.
Overall we’ve played them six times before in the Champions League and we are unbeaten in eight home contests against Greeks, whether or not they are bearing gifts, winning six and drawing two.
Olympiakos have lost five successive away games the Champions League and lost on each of their last 12 games in England, letting in 37, scoring three.  Strange how they do so well in the league.  (There’s a possible reason in the last article on Untold).
Here’s our league table (since I’ve printed their’s).
P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester United 7 5 1 1 12 5 7 16
2 Manchester City 7 5 0 2 13 6 7 15
3 State Aid Utd 7 4 1 2 15 9 6 13
4 Arsenal 7 4 1 2 10 7 3 13
5 Everton 7 3 3 1 11 7 4 12
6 Tottenham Hotspur 7 3 3 1 9 5 4 12
7 Crystal Palace 7 4 0 3 9 7 2 12
8 Leicester City 7 3 3 1 15 14 1 12
9 Liverpool 7 3 2 2 7 9 -2 11
10 Southampton 7 2 3 2 10 9 1 9
11 Swansea City 7 2 3 2 8 8 0 9
12 Norwich City 7 2 3 2 11 12 -1 9
13 Watford 7 2 3 2 5 6 -1 9
14 PGMO 7 2 2 3 11 14 -3 8
15 West Bromwich Albion 7 2 2 3 6 9 -3 8
16 Bournemouth 7 2 1 4 9 11 -2 7
17 Stoke City 7 1 3 3 7 10 -3 6
18 Aston Villa 7 1 1 5 8 12 -4 4
19 Newcastle United 7 0 3 4 5 11 -6 3
20 Sunderland 7 0 2 5 6 16 -10 2

Two more anniversary games

  • 29 September 1993: Arsenal 1 Odense 1 as Arsenal headed to the CWC final.  Campbell scored the goal, with the Odense equaliser coming in the 86th minute, but Arsenal held on to go through 3-2 on aggregate.
  • 29 September 1994: Arsenal 3 Omonia 0 as Arsenal got through 1st round of CWC.  Wright got two and Schwarz the third to give Arsenal a 6-1 victory over the side from Cyprus.


40 Replies to “Football Should Be An Art: Tonight’s match against the rather dubious Olympiakos”

  1. You’ve got the PL table slightly wrong. It’s being led by the PMGO2 team (as we expect to see proven at the weekend).

  2. Let hope we don’t go complacent like the Monaco and Zagreb match. Hopefully we win and have the momentum for the ManU match. If we lose watch those missing WOBs come out in force again.

  3. Halftime at Borehamwood one apiece. The opening exchanges were all Olympiacos and they took the lead in seven minutes. Arsenal level ten minutes or so later following a better period where we were getting into the game. Honours even after that. More goals to come I thimk.

  4. Full time Arsenal 3 Olympiacos 2. An early second half penalty to Arsenal, a brilliant volley from Olympiacos and a bundled in corner for Arsenal. Good game, Arsenal perhaps slightly lucky on the balance of play.

  5. Savvas Mourgos was added to the squad today. Midfielder (#70). He was born in Greece. Was he in the lineup in part due to him speaking Greek?

  6. A fun fact:

    we have played Olympiacos three times at the Emirates. Each time it was a match on Gameweek 2. We have won all clashes at home and lost all dead-rubbers in the final group match in Greece.

  7. All the chances we have missed has just bit us in the bum. We need to get our act together now.

  8. So the famous most brilliant Uefa CL still does not use the goal line technokogy? And if the assisstant was sure it was a goal, why the

    Again, we start briliantly and concede

  9. as a biggest wenger supporter … just don’t get it…
    why he bought cech….. !?!??!
    after giroud stupidness yellow for alexis…..

  10. The two goals were just a combination of bad luck (the first) and bad goalkeeping (the second), but I´m more concerned about the overall gist of this, because besides the first 15 mn and those two missed huge chances, the Gunners have generally looked far too apathetic for a game of this magnitude, and the passing has been a bit deficient.

  11. Plenty of time to respond, but we need to stop conceding first, stop conceding from corners and stop shooting ourselves in the foot, then life becomes easier

  12. Did that goal cross the line?? How can such an important decision be left to one man to decide whether the ball crossed the line.

    It looks like our players have to be chopped in half to get a free kick.

  13. Not looking forward to Bayern, they’re on fire. Unless we seriously pull our socks up we’re looking at 2017 for the CL!

  14. The second half was markedly better, and for those who doubt Ramsey´s value to the team, his importance was on display today. But the mediocre first half just sunk Arsenal. Not easy to come back three times against a well-organised team.

  15. Have to agree, Ramsey made the difference. Team selection again is a worry. Can’t help thinking if Cech was in goal we would have won.

  16. U want to learn how to shoot yourself in the feet? Watch Arsenal. Shocking, too many times players trying to take the glory rather than passing to the players in goal scoring position. Blast it.

  17. Naive. Wasteful. Poor.the return to the sort of defending I keep hoping we have left behind. Wenger will get slated over his choice of gk, but you cannot account for an error like that or the defending. We do not seem to have moved forward in Europe at all, maybe the opposite. Having said that, arsenal being arsenal could easily get a result against bayern again.
    I am not going to name players, but he gave some a chance today, and in some cases, he has been let down. No wonder he is not a manager who naturally favours rotation. Zagreb, olympiakos, you can only conclude we are for some reason punching well below our weight.
    Wenger, you have done do well getting out of the group stages, please do not blow it now. The Europa league is a league that eats up EPL points, and to be avoided.
    At times, we have played well this season, at times the ref has done us, but today was just poor, at times, beyond poor.I hope Wenger and the players and coaches do whatever they must to rectify this.

    Now, onto a very important game, and please no repeat of the bad things we saw today from some, but by no means all.
    What is it about the Emirates that at times inspires opposing keepers to play the game of their lives?

  18. Can’t understand why we rest players when we needs results in the CL? We were not prepared for Zagreb and it seems the same today. If we fail to go through then we only have ourselves to blame.

  19. 2 real OG today gifted, then a total meltdown at the 3rd: Bellerin broke the line, and Per just did not want to coverr and block.
    The ref was not consisted, another PGMOB in Europe?
    What a chances went begging today, especially the double from Mertesacker and Cazorla.
    Theo scored and assisted, but his failings were costly today.
    Chamberlain is lost his mojo: almost all actoins were failure 🙁
    After next 2 matches against Bayern it is possible to lose chance for 1/8.
    If Olympiacos or Zagreb would won both matches against each other, it will be near impossible to get 2nd place.
    Im courious if Arsenal can win at least once against FCB.

  20. Europe does seem to be beyond Wenger. 1 final and two semi’s is a poor return for 16 outings lets be honest.

  21. Ok in my semi drunken state I think (although never a pessimist my self…but realist)…if we are to go out of CL…lets at least just stay in there long enough to give fringe players a go at the ‘big stage’. Rest the rest!!!

    Lets concentrate on PL and and UK Cups!

    Maybe AW thinks the same.

  22. Nice way to prepare for Sunday… After this shambles I’m sure the confidence will be surging through the team. Our home form is dire and something seriously is wrong with our strategy at home.

  23. The Premier League is a tall order for this bunch but since we are in the business of winning a trophy we might start looking at the UEFA Cup. That might be our real chance of silverware.
    Thursday evening football……..oh my.

    At this rate I doubt we even get that. Hopefully a top 4 finish so gazebo and stan the man can take a tidy sum home. Well done muppets.

  24. IMHO unless the FA and PGMOB get their shit together in the name of English football…English teams will struggle in Europe and on the International scene.

    English clubs are trained to deal with situations in the PL in a certain way and its seen to be ok with PGMB…its not the same in Europe.

    That type of football is penalized and puts English teams on the back foot for key moments!

  25. Goal line technology is a must in CL. The Moron did not see the goal even though he showed a whole 25cm with his hands. Has anybody seen footage showing the whole ball past the goal line? I didn’t think the whole ball had crossed the line but I was behind the goal 60 foot high. There seemed to be a lot of conversation going on between Olympiakos players & the officials with arms around the shoulders. I wonder what that was all about?

    The referee was very much on their side as he gave a clear penalty on Alexis as a foul by Alexis. The corruption goes on.

  26. The second goal (own goal ) was NEVER one. The law says ALL the part of the ball MUST cross the line. From the different angles the ball did not cross the line in all totality. How on earth GL technology is not in use yet in the CL baffles me.

  27. Judge – we lost but not fair & square. I was at the game & I am never going to accept fair when officials are inconsistent.

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