Arsenal v Olympiakos Preview

Theo WalcottArsenal will be looking to move on quickly from their Premier League disappointment and the home loss to Chelsea on the weekend. The Gunners welcome Olympiacos to the Emirates for their first Champions League home game of this campaign (7.45pm BST, Wednesday, October 3).

This pair are no strangers, having contested the same group last season. But Arsenal should be looking to take maximum points from this fixture. Their home form has always been good in the group stages of this competition.

Arsene Wenger tinkered with his starting XI for the game against Chelsea on Saturday. Out went Per Mertesacker and in came Laurent Koscielny for the centre-back role. The team also featured Aaron Ramsey on the wing – no Theo Walcott (pictured) again – and Gervinho in attack.

The Ivorian looked poor throughout the game, despite his goal just prior to half-time. He wasted a number of promising attacking opportunities and really needs to work on his vision in order to play in others.

Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta also had their weakest performances in an Arsenal shirt this season. Neither of the Spaniards were able to grab a hold of the game in the way they can, and Arsenal noticeably suffered through their lack of ingenuity.

On the whole, however, Arsenal really didn’t perform well, with only the two full-backs, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson, putting in good shifts.

I do expect Arsenal to look stronger in this game. They have a win under their belt already and it would be a strong statement if the manager opted to select Olivier Giroud in this tie.

The French international picked up his first goal for the Gunners last week in the League Cup but was dropped on Saturday. This higher profile game with a continental style should be another good opportunity for him.

The injury concerns for Arsenal are still the usual long term absentees, as well as Abou Diaby and Wojciech Szczesny. Vito Mannone has been deputising in goal in recent weeks but looked moderate against Chelsea. I expect Arsene Wenger to reinstate Mertesacker to add a little more calm to the defence.

It’s difficult to say whether Theo Walcott will feature in this game from the start. Wenger has a good selection for the wide positions and may continue to leave the England winger on the bench. He really didn’t look promising in the loss against Chelsea.

This fixture last season saw Arsenal win 2-1.  But Olympiacos played well last season the group stages and totalled nine points with a win against both Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund in Greece.

Now the Greek champions are top of their domestic league with 15 points from 15. But they also fell in their first game to Schalke in the first week of this season’s Champions League. Rafik Djebbour will be the main attacking threat for Olympiacos at the Emirates.

Arsenal v Olympiakos Betting Tips Conclusion

As mentioned, Arsenal always look good when playing at home in the group stages of the competition. If they can pick up three home wins then they’ll be cruising into the knockout phase.

  • As well as winning (best priced @ 7/19 with Pinnacle Sports Bookmaker), the Gunners are likely to grab a handful of goals. I’m backing Arsenal to win 3-1 on the night @ 11/1 with William Hill.

One Response to Arsenal v Olympiakos Preview

  1. Aidan October 3, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Amazing tipping. Well done – a fantastic 11/1 winner & I was on!