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UEFA Champions League

  • 29 September 2011
  • • 00:15
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
  • • Attendance: 59676

Arsenal 2-1 Olympiakos: Oxlade-Chamberlain Becomes Youngest English Champions League Scorer As Santos’ First Strike Edges Out Greeks

Arsenal 2-1 Olympiakos: Oxlade-Chamberlain Becomes Youngest English Champions League Scorer As Santos’ First Strike Edges Out Greeks

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Arsenal keep up their impressive home form in the Champions League with both Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andre Santos getting their first European goals for Arsene Wenger’s side

Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain announced himself to the European stage with his first goal during the Gunners Champions League victory over Greek side Olympiakos.

The victory also showed the Emirates side’s defensive weaknesses, as they failed to cope with the visitors attacks and were bailed out by the goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who helped the English Premier League side secure all three points.

The victory which was secured by a first half strike from full back Andre Santos sees the North London side go clear in second place in their Champions League group.

Arsene Wenger decided to leave out both Aaron Ramsey and Robin Van Persie in preparation for the North London derby against bitter rivals Tottenham on Sunday, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain getting his first start in Europe’s top competition.

The visitors almost silenced the Emirates crowd within the first couple of minutes, as Ljubomir Fejsa drove down the right wing, before crossing to find David Fuster in space, but the Spaniard couldn’t find a way past Wojciech Szczesny in the Arsenal goal, as the ball went wide of the keeper’s left hand post.

With less than eight minutes on the clock Arsenal went into the lead as makeshift centre half Alex Song found young Oxlade-Chamberlain running from left to right and when the former Southampton winger got on the ball he beat a couple of Olympiakos defenders, before stroking the ball beyond Franco Costanzo and into the net.

The Gunners then had a chance to double their lead as a corner kick found the right by Mikel Arteta found Marouane Chamakh in the middle of the penalty area, but he failed to get his header on target, as it went wide of goal.

Olympiakos should have got back on level terms just before the quarter of an hour mark as Fejsa had a shot blocked after a well worked corner, but the ball broke to Rafik Djebbour inside the six yard box, but he failed with two attempts, as firstly Arteta blocked, then he shot wide with the rebound.

That chance helped show that the visitors would be no pushovers and as such Arsenal pushed forward and took full command of the game as Andre Santos dashed down the left wing, before crossing in search of Chamakh, but the cross was blocked back to the Brazilian, who coolly finished from close in, doubling the Gunners lead.

Chamakh should have scored himself minutes later, as he sprung the offside trap, getting on the end of a ball over the top by Andrey Arshavin, but he failed to find the target once again as his strike went wide of Costanzo’s left hand post.

That did not stop the visitors as they searched for a way back into the game and were ultimately rewarded as a short corner involving Kevin Mirallas and Ariel Ibagaza, saw the experienced Argentinean cross for the unmarked Fuster to head home to cut the deficit.

The Greek side then had another two opportunities to level the contest, as firstly Djebbour had a strike from the right hand side of the penalty area which Szczesny got a strong hand to, to divert for a corner.

Then captain Vassilis Torossidis had a chance for an equaliser as Arsenal once again failed to notice a short corner from the visitors, but the centre half’s chance was blocked and eventually cleared away by the home defence to safety.

Arsenal nearly handed the Greek’s a leveller moments later as Bacary Sagna lost the ball in the right back position, allowing Mirallas a free run at goal, but he couldn’t find a way to get his side back into the game.

For the reminder of the half the Gunners looked to get forward, but they couldn’t find a way to penetrate the Olympiakos defence and get a two goal cushion going into the break as the visitors backline managed to stand tall.

Chamber goal | Oxlade-Chamberlain gets his first Champions League goal

The visitors nearly opened the second half with an equaliser as Fuster found Mirallas with a free kick and found the edge of the area he stuck a shot that had Szczesny scrambling to his left hand side as the ball went just wide.

Moments later Oxlade-Chamberlain had a chance to claim his second of the game as he was found racing towards the penalty box by Chamakh, but unfortunately for the winger he could not find the target as Costanzo managed to save with his chest to prevent his side from going two behind.

The Gunners continued to pressure, with chances coming the way of Arshavin, Chamakh and Arteta, but neither of them could find a way past the Olympiakos defence as they looked to secure all three points.

The Greek side then had a superb chance to get on level terms as Djebbour found his captain Torossidis on the right wing, he then cut inside and whipped a vicious shot that cannoned off of Szczesny’s bar, with the Pole scrambling and away to safety.

In an attempt to secure the victory, Arsenal decided to make a change as the impressive Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken off to be replaced by Ramsey in the Gunners midfield, as they looked to find a third goal.

They nearly achieved that goal as Ramsey found the onrushing Arshavin, who managed to beat his defender before getting a shot off, which Costanzo managed to clear away from danger to keep his side only one goal down.

Then in a further statement of intent, the Gunners introduced Van Persie for the ineffectual Chamakh, in an attempt to pry open the Olympiakos defence and kill the game off as a contest.

With ten minutes remaining in the contest, Arsenal could have sealed the victory after Van Persie won a free kick on the left wing; Arteta curled it towards goal, with Costanzo punching the ball clear to safety for the Greek outfit.     

Wenger’s side managed to hold on for the reminder of the game to maintain their impressive home form in European competition at the Emirates Stadium.