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Arsenal Take On Olympiakos

by on December 5, 2011

Arsenal take on Greek side Olympiakos tomorrow evening in the Champions League, the gunners have already won the group and are through to the knock out phase of the competition. With this being Arsenal’s last group match Arsène Wenger is expected to make many changes to the team which defeated Wigan Athletic on Saturday. I expect it will be a team which has got youth and experience.  Arsenal take on Olmpiacos at their Karaiskakis Stadium, already beating Olmpiacos at the Emirates earlier this season 2-1. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andre Santos both scored for Arsenal in the victory over the Greek side.

The North London side take on Everton in the Premiership next weekend so Arsène Wenger is able to rest a number of players for the match tomorrow.  Arsenal’s 18-man squad for the Olympiakos match.

Goalkeepers – Łukasz Fabiański, Vito Mannone

Defenders – Thomas Vermaelen, Sebastian Squillaci, Johan Djourou, André Santos, Ignasi Miquel, Nico Yennaris

Midfielders – Tomáš Rosický, Yossi Benayoun, Francis Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong, Oğuzhan Özyakup, Craig Eastmond

Forwards – Park Chu-Young, Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Arsène Wenger has included Thomas Vermaelen and André Santos in the squad but I don’t expect either of them to start the match, just to make the numbers up on the bench. There are four players from Neil Banfield’s side in the first-team squad Oğuzhan Özyakup, Craig Eastmond, Nico Yennaris and Ignasi Miquel. The likes of Chamakh and Park Chu-Young will have another chance to try to impress Wenger. With there being rumors Arsenal could be in for another striker in January, Lukas Podolski is the name being mentioned but more about that on another day.

Possible Arsenal line up – Fabiański, Miquel, Djourou, Squillaci, Yennaris, Coquelin, Frimpong, Benayoun, Arshavin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Park Chu-Young

Possible Bench – Mannone, Santos, Vermaelen, Eastmond, Özyakup, Rosický, Chamakh

I’ve gone for a similar side which played against Manchester City last week in the Carling Cup. With Arshavin staring in the number ten role rather than out on the left, because Benayoun will help out Miquel more defensively. Once again we could see the impressive partnership of Coquelin and Frimpong in midfield. I’ve opted for Park to start ahead of Chamakh because we haven’t seen much of him as the alone striker yet this season. Him and Arshavin linked up well together against Bolton in the Carling Cup earlier this season.

With Chamakh coming on in the second-half, so him and Park Chu-Young both get the opportunity and game time in the match. Hopefully Rosický will come on as well because he has been absent for the last few games due to injury. And I would like to see Özyakup get a few minutes if possible because he’s been very impressive for Neil Banfield’s side this season and has arguably been the Reserves stand out player so far this season.

Arsenal’s Key player – This might be a surprised to some but I’ve gone for Francis Coquelin. He was very impressive Vs Man City last week and came on in the second-half against Wigan on Saturday. Coquelin can help Arsenal control this game in midfield making tackles, getting forward and using his good passing ability.

Prediction – Because it’s a different Arsenal side to the one which defeated Wigan on Saturday it’s harder to predict how Arsenal will do there will be many changes as well. But of course I’m going for an Arsenal victory 3-1 to Arsenal with goals coming from Arshavin, Chamberlain and Park Chu-Young.

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