Arsenal secured their third win a row tonight with a 2-1 win over Olympiacos. Ok, it wasn’t the most convincing at times but at the moment it’s all about results.
Arsene Wenger obviously had an eye on the North London derby as he left van Persie and Ramsey on the bench, with Chamakh starting up front and Tomas Rosicky captaining the side.
After some meaningless early tussles Arsenal made the breakthrough in the 8th minute. Alex Song played a ball forward out of defence, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took it on his chest, got a bit of luck with a rebound from a defender, ran on into the box and finished sweetly with his left foot. He becomes the youngest Englishman ever to score in the Champions League.
A few minutes later the away side should have been level. Arsenal’s defending from a corner was all over the place and when a shot rebounded to their bloke about 4 yards out I feared the worst. But Mikel Arteta charged across goal like a motherfucking neutrino, baby, and blocked the shot. From the rebound of that their bloke put it wide from 3 yards out. I laughed.
We then went 2-0 up, Andre Santos charged down the left and got onto a good ball from Rosicky, he crossed it for Chamakh who was tackled. Again we got a bit lucky with a rebound but Santos took it on and rolled it home at the near post for 2-0. Shortly after that it should have been three but Chamakh dragged a left footed shot wide with just the keeper to beat.
Then their goal. Honestly, this should be played over and over again at a team meeting this week until they’re sick of looking at it. We switched off completely, left The Ox to deal with a short corner on his own, with two against one they made the most of it and crossed for some bloke to come in completely unmarked and head home. If I were the Olympiacos coach I would have told the team to play for corners.
We were different in the second half though, more urgency, more aggression. I suspect they got a Pat Rice hair-dryer. The best chance of the half fell to the Greeks though when some slack defending let some bloke smash a shot off the crossbar. Other than that I thought Arsenal defended well enough though, Song in particular displayed some quality and assurance at the back and without ever really creating a real goalscoring chance I think we did enough to deserve the win in the end.
It won’t go down in history as a sparkling Arsenal performance but that’s three wins in a row and just what we need to keep things ticking over until we have to face the scummers on Sunday.
Stats via @Orbinho:
Arsenal v Olympiakos Shots 13-16 On target 5-5 Passing Accuracy 83%-82% Fouls 15-15 Duels Won 54%-46% Possession 58%-42%