Arsene Wenger says Arsenal must secure a maximum nine points from their three home Champions League games, starting with a victory against Olympiacos tomorrow night.
The Gunners were downed 2-1 by Dinamo Zagreb on Matchday 1 and know that with a tricky double-header against Pep Guardiola’s much fancied Bayern Munich on the horizon they need to get points on the board if they’re to maximise their chances of qualifying for the knockout rounds.
“You have to win your home games if you want to qualify from the group stage, it is simple as that,” Wenger told media on Tuesday. “We cannot afford to drop points now against anyone at home.”
He continued: “Olympiacos dominates their league, they are a team with a big advantage – they dominate their league easily, so they can prepare for these kinds of games.
“They are well organised and have some players who know the Premier League, like (Esteban) Cambiasso and (Pajtim) Kasami who both played in England.”
Arsenal will be without Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta – both picked up muscle problems in the trip to Leicester – while Olivier Giroud is suspended. Having cited fixture congestion as a reason to rotate in Croatia the boss stressed that tomorrow’s team will not be dictated by Sunday’s visit of league leaders Manchester United.
“We play on Tuesday night and then Manchester United on Sunday, five days is no problem. It is more about what happens before.
“Some players had two tough games at Tottenham and at Leicester where they were a high level physically. I will have to analyse that and make my decisions.”
Francis Coquelin is back in training after recovering from the knee problem sustained at Chelsea but there’s a chance Wenger could utilise Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield if playing the Frenchman is deemed risky.