Olympiacos relegated from the top league, but we are still playing them!

By Tony Attwood

Even Wikipedia is having a go at Arsenal now.  For in its article Arsenal FC in European football it has this…

European honours of Arsenal F.C.
Honour Titles Years
European Cup Winners’ Cup 1 1994

That’s it.   Elsewhere in passing we do have a note about Arsenal winning the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, but in that main table on the matter we’ve only got one.

Of course you might say, well, wiki can always be changed, but that is not so easy in my experience.  The article on Henry Norris for example has the line “Norris’s most infamous contribution to Arsenal’s history was his role in the club’s promotion from the Second Division to the First in 1919.”

If you are a reader of the Arsenal History Society website you will know that there is a whole series of articles drawing on evidence from the time that there was nothing “infamous” about it at all.  15 of the 120 or so articles on “Henry Norris at the Arsenal” deal with the “1919” affair of Arsenal’s promotion, and show, with endless evidence drawn from contemporary reports, that there was nothing amiss.  If you are interested, there is an index on this page  and the series on this episode begins at “The first suggestion that Arsenal could be elected to the 1st division.”

Perpetrating these errors is something Wiki, along with the rest of football journalism, likes to do.  (You might remember that we recently got exercised by the Daily Mirror telling us that Arsenal were involved in a match fixing scandal in the early 20th century, when of course it was Liverpool and Manchester United.

I have attempted to change the article on Henry Norris, citing the massive research effort in “Henry Norris at the Arsenal” but they won’t have anything to do with it.

Add this anti-Arsenal propaganda to that which swirls around the media every day and sometimes it seems like a wonder that Arsenal has actually survived.   We certainly are not, of course, going to get any fair reporting today and even if we win the Europa League I doubt that achievement will be included in Wikipedia.

But still, here we are, so let us have a look at Olympiakos in Champions League and Europa League.

Olympiakos have played 180 Champions League games and won 35.5% of those, but only 15.5% of those away from home.

In the Europa League they have played 97 and won 44%.  Away from home it is 33%.   So a better record in the Europa but they still lost more than they have won away from home.

Comparing with this, Arsenal have played 201 games in the Champions League and European Cup, and 27 in the Cup winners cup, making a total of 228.   That is a 50.1% win ratio.   In the Europa League it is 70 games with 42 wins, making a 60% win ratio.

The full Europa League / Uefa Cup record is won 42, drawn 11, lost 17, goals for 143, goals against 72, goal difference +71.

Of course we are playing a team notorious for match fixing.  Indeed on 24 April 2020 it was reported on agonasport.com that

“The Ethics Committee of the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) has recommended for Olympiacos to be relegated for their involvement in a match fixing scandal with Atromitos, while Evangelos Marinakis is facing a lifetime ban from football.

“A violation of Article 27, which covers the offence of determining the outcome of a match for betting reasons, has been discovered by the Ethics Committee of the EPO. This charge has been submitted with regard to a Super League match between Olympiacos and Atromitos on 04/02/2015 which the former won 2-1 at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus.”

But they still seem to be here.  How curious!

Meanwhile on the injury front Arsenal are in very real danger of disappearing totally from the injury table, having just one player out:

Our one man down is Emile Smith Rowe, and the statement yesterday was “He’s close to returning and he’s going to have a full session today to see if he can be involved. After training we will know exactly where we are with him.”

So there we are.

Next up: the team.

How referees influence games