Arsenal 2-1 Olympiakos: Oxlade-Chamberlain becomes youngest English Champions League scorer as Santos’ first strike edges out Greeks

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 on 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 goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who helped the English Premier League side secure all three points.

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.

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 pair 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 from 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. 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.

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

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

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

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. They nearly grabbed another goal as Ramsey found the onrushing Arshavin, who managed to beat his defender to shoot, but Costanzo managed to clear away from danger to keep his side only one goal down.

With 10 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, but Costanzo punched the ball clear to safety.

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, but they were made to work for their win.