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Arsenal Defeated In Greece

by on December 6, 2011

Arsenal took on Olympiakos at the Karaiskakis Stadium, this was Arsene Wenger’s 200th European game in his management career. Arsenal were already qualified to the knockout phase of the Champions League which meant the likes of Robin Van Persie and Mikel Arteta etc were rested. Wenger made nine changes to the team which started against Wigan on Saturday, with the likes of Francis Coquelin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Emmanuel Frimpong starting for the North London side. Thomas Vermaelen and Andre Santos  were the only players to remain in the starting line up from the Wigan game.

Olympiakos still had a chance of qualifying which meant Arsenal were in for a tough game. As soon as the match kick-off you could see Olympiakos were going to press Arsenal as soon as they got the ball. Costanzo saved well to stop Arshavin from scoring which was Arsenal’s first real chance of the game. Frimpong came close for the gunners striking the ball on the edge of the box but it just hit the side-netting.

A mix-up between Djourou and Squillaci allowed Djebbour to knock it past Fabiański and score for the Greek side. It wasn’t against the run of play Olympiakos were the side on top in the opening stages of the first-half. Just after Olympiakos scored, Fabiański was forced to be substituted due to a collision with a Olympiakos player. Third-choice goalkeeper Vito Mannone came on for the Poland international. Good work from the highly rated Oxlade-Chamberlain who put in a good delivery and Benayoun’s effort just went wide.

Frimpong lost the ball in midfield which resulted in Mannone coming out of his box to head the ball away, but the clearance fell to David Fuster who’s shot wasn’t cleared away by Mannone and the Greek side doubled their lead. The young Italian goalkeeper opted to try to kick it away rather than catching Fuster’s effort. Mannone missed the ball and it went past him in the Arsenal goal.

Shortly in to the second-half Arsene Wenger’s problems got worse Brazilian full-back Andre Santos was forced of through injury which meant Reserve team captain Ignasi Miquel came on at left-back. Arsenal did pull a goal back when Miquel’s cross found Chamakh and he chested it down for Benayoun. The Israel captain brilliantly scored a superb volley to put Arsenal back in to the game.

But after Arsenal scored Olympiakos were still the team on top trying to find a third goal. Wenger took off French U-21 midfielder Francis Coquelin on the 67th minute for the returning Tomáš Rosický. Great play by Benayoun and Rosický but the Czech international couldn’t score for the gunners.

Late on Chamberlain went on a solo-run taking on a number of players but nothing could come from it. Moments later Vermaelen went on one of his charging runs but the Belgium defender couldn’t keep the ball in play. Frimpong gave a silly foul late on and in the resulting free-kick was crossed in to the Arsenal box and it was tapped in by Modesto.

Arsenal were already qualified for the next phase of this years Champions League so the result tonight couldn’t affect any think.  But tonight was a chance for the likes of Arshavin and Chamakh to stake claims and impress Wenger. Arsenal were disappointing throughout the game and lost Santos through injury but I can’t still can’t get my head around Wenger starting him in the first placed. Only two players stood out for me was Yossi  Benayoun and Ignasi Miquel when he came on, Chamberlain had his moments as well.

You can follow me on twitter @AFC_93.

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