Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will travel to Athens full of belief knowing a two-goal victory against Olympiacos on Matchday Six will secure safe passage to the knockout stages.
The Gunners’ chances of qualification had looked slim following three defeats in their opening four European matches, however, this evening’s 3-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb, coupled with the Greeks’ 4-0 humbling at the hands of Bayern Munich, sets up a tense finale on 9 December.
Having watched Alexis Sanchez add a brace to Mesut Ozil’s opener the boss faced the media in bullish mood.
“It is tough, but we have to believe we can do it, and I believe we can do it. We have one advantage, the task is very clear.”
“I wanted to come out of the game tonight with a chance of qualifying,” he added. “We needed to do the job and for Bayern to do the job. Both did it well, and we have a chance.
“We played at a good pace, produced a game of quality that we wanted. I believe the speed of our movement and passing gave Zagreb a problem. From then on, once we had scored the first goal you could see the chances were coming.
“It was important that we did not concede the first goal as we looked dangerous [going] forward. Overall we had a game of quality that we controlled well.”
Asked about why he ended up fielding Alexis Sanchez for the full 90 minutes, despite mentioning pre-game that he’d like to rest the Chilean, the boss revealed it was down to the wavering fitness of other players on the pitch.
“Giroud had a little problem with his ankle over the weekend but I decided to give [him] a breather [with Ramsey coming on for 25 minutes].
“Hector Bellerin, I took him off because he had a groin problem just before so I had to take them off meaning I could not take Alexis off. We now have five days to recover.
“I would have loved to do it tonight (rest Alexis) but I [had] two different options. Once it is 3-0 you are not in a position where you need him to work back and when you put him central up front you can spare a bit of energy. It is not like you have to go up and down. I tried to compromise a little bit and give a break to Giroud and not take a risk with Bellerin.”
Only 1 team in 38 has qualified after getting 3 points in 4 matches. Soon to be 2 in 39.
Spot on. Olympiakos are toast.
Who was the 1 team?
Newcastle in the first Group Stage in 2002/2003. Lost their first 3. Won their last 3.
Out of curiosity, (and laziness) could you say who was it please?
I’m pretty sure Newcastle got out of their group in 02-03 having lost the first three games
The strange thing is, we all knew we would qualify! Hahahaha 😀 Arsenal – Beyond Statistics.
Let’s do what we did at Monaco. At least this time it’ll be enough to get us through. 😉
Might be a silly question, but why do we need to win by 2 goals at Olympiacos?
Because they beat us by one goal. In the Champions League when teams have equal points, head to head record takes priority over goal difference.
If we win we’re tied with them on points, that makes head-to-head decisive. They won 2-3 at our place, so we need a 2-goal win or a 1-goal win scoring 4 or more to get a better head to head. If we win 3-2, it goes to goal deficit, and we’ve got them beat in that, so we go through too.
So the bottom line is that the away goals rule comes into play at the group stage in this situation we find ourselves with Olympiakos?
No, not away goals. Goals scored between the two sides.
But after that away goals as well. If we win by two goals, it’s decided on goals scored between us and Olympiakos, but if we win by 1 goal it’s decided on away goals. Unless we win 3-2, in which case it’s decided based on goal deficit for the whole group phase.
2 clear goals eh…
From ESPN, on how either Arsenal or Olympiakos can qualify for the round of 16. Olympiakos: Need a point at home to Arsenal to qualify. A defeat of 1-0 or 2-1 would also see them finish ahead of the Gunners on head to head away goals. Arsenal: Must win at Olympiakos. Arsenal would need to win by two goals, or a one-goal victory margin of 4-3 or higher, to climb above the Greek club on head to head points. If Arsenal were to win 3-2, then head to head would be level and it would go down to overall group… Read more »
Arsepedant has the most thorough explanation of the UEFA rules in the match report comments.
Why, thank you! I was about to repeat it.
Classic FIFA tactic, that. Put a low energy player up top and save the sprints 😉
Zagreb were absolutely shit…..how on earth did we lose that first game!? Oh yeah….Wenger rested half the side and Giroud lost his dummy. Supreme arrogance has us scrapping to qualify….all so Barca can crush us in the next round.
Aint you the little ray of sunshine….