Olympiakos are the Greek champions. But that’s been the case for over a decade. So it doesn’t mean anything, at least in the European context. They haven’t got a great European record but they haven’t got a very bad one either. Over the years they have troubled some higher rated teams like Werder Bremen and Lazio. But what they lack is consistency.
On the face of it, this should be an easy victory. So far we have only played four games at home in all competitions and won each of them with at least a two goal margin. Why should this be any different?
Olympiakos were among the third seeds during the draw. But they managed to beat the second seeded Alkmaar in the first match week. Standard Liege are no pushovers either. I have a feeling the second place in this group will be tightly contested between all the three sides. In such a situation, neither of them might have any hopes of getting points at the Emirates. But all of them would see this as a nothing to lose situation which can make all our home games a little tricky.
It remains to be seen whether the visitors turn up to give their best and enjoy themselves on the pitch without worrying about the result or they come here with the thought of stealing a point. There is some news about the team being tired and this being their fourth game in ten days. Whether this will affect them or not will be seen shortly on the pitch.
They have recently changed their coach. Zico is a legend. He has had some good stints as a manager with Japan and Fenerbache. But the Brazilian maestro might not have had the time to exert his influence on the Greek side as he took charge only a few days ago. But I am hoping he will bring a side full of positive intent.
I expect them to be a team that will be a threat on the counter and in the air. If we can keep them quiet on those fronts there is no reason why we shouldn’t pick up another confidence boosting clean sheet.
From our point of view we need to see Cesc enjoying himself again. Arshavin will always be a player of moments. He will not be around for the full 90 minutes. But every time he does get into action the game rises to a higher level. Let’s hope we get to see a couple of ‘Arshavin Moments’ in this game. He has had a relatively quiet start and this will do him and us some good.
I feel this is a game where Rosicky can play the full 90 minutes. Whether Le Boss chooses to do so or not is a different question. Playing with Rosicky in the center of the park could just be the catalyst that re-ignites our captain. It will definitely leave us a little exposed defensively but if we can’t manage against Olympiakos then we will really struggle against the bigger teams. If Arsene does not start Rosicky, I would like to see Ramsey get a start in stead. Anyone but Diaby – That’s my motif.
It will also be interesting to see a cameo from Vela towards the end. He has not been in the thick of action for too long. Recent rumors about him moving on a loan to a struggling Spainish side make me uncomfortable. I just cannot see that as a positive step in his career. He needs to start getting more involved in first team action. This could be a good start. It would also be interesting to see Wilshere get a run out in the last few minutes.
I hope we see the following starting line up
Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Clichy
Song Cesc Rosicky
Arshavin Van Persie Eduardo
Let’s hope we avoid a Greek tragedy.