The mantra of “Keep the ball and keep moving” has worked and Wenger lets out a smile of huge relief at the end of match.
Wenger spent his last of his two match sideline ban but not without the heat under his seat for the next 90 minutes of the match. Arsenal began the match superbly with the momentum on their side as they ran side to side and over to Olympiakos players to score twice within first 20 minutes of the play. But the pendulum shifted pretty soon as they Olympiakos gained both pace and space as they started making attacking movements.
Earlier Arsenal started the match without their star player and Captain Robin van Persie along with the defender Laurent Koscielny but the two summer signing new boys made it as their day. The 18 year old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain playing in his first ever Champions league match opened his scoring book with a superb low left footed hit into the far corner. Soon after another new signing Andre Santos found the net after making a superb run down the left wing before drilling the rebound into the net past the goal keeper.
For the first 20 minutes, Arsenal was dictating the terms but Olympiakos were slowly gaining momentum in their play. The defense of gunners yet again not proactive in their reaction as the quick corner taken by Olympiakos player reached the unmarked head of Fuster who neatly headed the ball into the net. Game on from here! And both teams had their chances in the remaining play of first half but were unable to convert them. At the end of first half, Arsenal was leading 2-1 but there is still an half to play.
In second half, yet again Arsenal started off superbly and 18 year old Alex almost scored another for Gunners but the Olympiakos goal keeper blocked the shot. But once they went into defensive mood, their demon was back and school boy mistakes started happening. Arsenal was lucky that Olympiakos skipper Torosidis shot hit the crossbar and thereafter somehow gunners prevailed. Arshavin would have been kicking for missing two good chances but Arsenal defense will be thankful that they let go only one goal at the end of the match.
Arsenal offence looked very good but defense is still a big problem that begs the date for solution from their fans. Sagna and Santos were superb today but Song gave plenty of tension. Against the better opponents, Arsenal will be struggling big time because their midfield also will be getting tired towards the end like today where even Arteta was making blunders in last 10 minutes. Once the whistle for full time came, Wenger was all smiles because no further injuries and also he managed to keep his star player Van Persie fresh for this weekend derby match.
Arsenal hadn’t lost at home against non-English side for last 8 years, not a bad record after all!