Arsenal v. Olympiakos
Wednesday 3 October 2012, 7:45PM GMT/2:45PM ET/11:45AM PT
Emirates Stadium, Islington, London, England
Form (League): Arsenal: DWWDL / Olympiakos: WWWWW
TV: Fox Sports Net (in your area), foxsoccer.tv (subscribers)
Arsenal head into tonight's UEFA Champions League encounter versus Olympiakos off the back of a loss in EPL action last Saturday to league-leaders Chelsea hoping to further secure their entrance into the knockout stage. Tonight's match should prove a stern test for the Arsenal; no matter how you feel about the overall competition faced, there is little that dent the armor of a consistently-winning side and Olympiakos arrive in London with victories in all five league matches they've played in the Greek Super League with their defeat to fellow Champions League group member FC Schalke being their only competitive loss this season.
While a draw will still see Arsenal in a position to move on to the knockout stages, as we saw last year it's much more advantageous to win the group stage in order to avoid the potential horror matchups that come with finishing second in the group. Arsenal defeated this side last season at the Emirates with such players as Emmanuel Frimpong, Andre Santos and Marouane Chamakh starting (with Robin van Persie coming off the bench for the final 19 minutes), so although our Greek visitors will provide a challenge, a win should be easily-achievable with a draw being the worst result our side can afford. A loss tonight with a Schalke win could potentially see Arsenal fall out of the top two with two-straight group stage encounters with Schalke on the horizon. This would not be good.
A quick glance at the starting XI shows a team made up of the usual suspects, which is a bit curious with the tricky fixture away at West Ham coming up in a matter of days. To start with, Francis Coquelin replaces Abou Diaby in the midfield. We will also get another glimpse at the Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen pairing at center back. Lastly, Gervinho gets the nod in the left forward role with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starting on the right; Theo Walcott will start the match sitting in a chair on the sidelines that probably has his name engraved on it.
Arsenal: Mannone; Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Coquelin, Cazorla; Chamberlain, Podolski, Gervinho
Subs: Shea, Santos, Giroud, Walcott, Ramsey, Djourou, Arshavin
Olympiakos: Megyeri, Maniatis, Paulo Machado, Mitroglou, Contreras, Fuster, Holebas, Siovas, Manolas, Diakite, Greco
Subs: Carroll, Modesto, Ibagaza, Pantelic, Lykogiannis, Diogo, Adboun
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COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!