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UEFA Champions League

  • December 6, 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Stadio Georgios Karaiskáki, Pireás (Piraeus)
  • Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
  • • Attendance: 30816

Champions League Preview: Olympiakos v Arsenal

With the Gunners safely through to the second round, manager Arsene Wenger is likely to rest a host of key players, while the hosts need a win and a favour from Borussia Dortmund



Maniatis, Mellberg, Papadopoulos, Torosidis Potouridis, Holebas, Orbaiz, Abdoun
Pantelic, Djebbour


Koscielny, Vermaelen, Squillaci, Santos
 Coquelin, Frimpong, Benayoun
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Arshavin

Olympiakos are without Argentine playmaker Ariel Ibagaza for the crucial clash. The former Mallorca man has wrestled with a thigh injury since early November, and will sit out the match on Tuesday night along with Ljubomir Fejsa and David Fuster.

Although they opted for a 4-5-1 system for the surprise win over Marseille last time out, Olympiakos are expected to go 4-4-2 for the visit of Arsenal, with Rafik Zoheir Djebbour and Marko Pantelic likely to lead the line. Both players netted in the weekend victory over Panaitolikos, and the Greek side will be looking to them to carry the team through to the knockout phase of the competition.

Arsene Wenger, with his side already confirmed as group winners, will look to give some much-needed game time to a selection of fringe players. Francis Coquelin is likely to anchor the midfield in place of Alex Song, while Marouane Chamakh is expected to replace goal machine Robin van Persie as Arsenal’s target man.

One or two Gunners are hoping to get a run-out as they recover from injury. Tomas Rosicky could be set for a return after picking up a thigh injury against West Brom, whilst Abou Diaby could be in contention to feature after missing the victory over Wigan.

  • Olympiakos have won only three of nine matches at home to English opposition – including against Liverpool in 2004-05 Champions League, and in a Uefa Cup clash with Tottenham Hotspur in 1972.
  • The Greek side are bidding to reach the knockout phase for the third time in succession, although they need a favour from Borussia Dortmund, who play Marseille, if they are to climb above the French team into second place.
  • Arsenal have won in only two of their last six visits to Greece – both of those came against Panathinaikos.
  • Whilst their opponents’ fate hangs in the balance, Arsenal have already confirmed progression to the next round as group winners. It’s the eighth time in the last 12 seasons they have qualified at the top of their group table.
  • Robin van Persie netted his 22nd goal in 24 matches for club and country, taking his tally for 2011 to 32 goals in 31 Premier League outings.
  • Arsenal won the reverse fixture 2-1 on September 28, with Alex Oxlade-Chaberlain netting a goal on his Champions League debut at Emirates Stadium.
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Players to watch

R. Djebbour

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Djebbour has an impressive combination of speed and strength, which could be enough to unsettle the heart of the Gunners’ defence. He could be made to work off scraps from his teammates, however, with playmaker Ariel Ibagaza ruled out after aggravating an injury at the weekend.

A. Oxlade-Chamberlain

Position: Midfielder

Games: 6

  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
With star trio Van Persie, Walcott and Gervinho likely to be rested, there could be another chance for young Oxlade-Chamberlain to prove his worth at European level. The youngster grabbed a goal on his debut in the competition in the reverse fixture back in September, and he will be hoping to give his manager a timely reminder of his talents with the fixture list continuing to pile up.

Editor's Prediction

With Arsenal likely to rest key players and Olympiakos desperate for goals, this could be a lively and entertaining fixture, with plenty of attacking play in the offing – particularly from the hosts, who have everything to play for. Even with the Gunners at half strength, expect Wenger’s men to prove a match for the Greek side.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Olympiakos Piraeus



Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Olympiakos CFP OLY
Olympiakos CFP Olympiakos Piraeus
Arsenal FC ARS
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Top 3 Predictions

Olympiakos CFP OLY
1 - 2
Arsenal FC ARS
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Olympiakos CFP OLY
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Arsenal FC ARS