Arsenal 2-0 Olympiacos: Arsenal Leave It Late To Break Olympiacos Resistance

Van Persie and Arshavin seal all three points for the Gunners
By John Silk

Goals from Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin earned Arsenal all three points at home to Olympiakos, though van Persie can count himself lucky that the assistant referee had not noticed that he was in an offside position as he poked home from just five yards.

The Gunners left it late, too. Just thiteen minutes remained when Fabregas probed forward, stroked a ball into the channel for substitute Eduardo to pull back for Dutch internation van Persie to stroke home.

Then, nine minutes later, an impudent flick from Arshavin following a Fabregas cross confirmed the win for Arsene Wenger's men and they now sit proudly atop group H with a maximum haul of six points from two games.

Prior to that, the home side had been frustrated by a combination of excellent goalkeeping from Antonios Nikopolidis and some wayward finishing.

The Greek international goalkeeper can count himself unlucky to have ended up on the losing side after a string of fine saves looked to have denied the north London outfit before van Persie and Arshavin found a breakthrough.

There appeared to be an air of certainty before kick of an Arsenal victory and they started in menacing fashion, peperring Olympiakos' goal. First Arshavin was denied by Nikopolidis and then a combination of the woodward and the 'keeper prevented Fabregas and then van Persie from giving Arsenal the lead.

A goal seemed inevitable but the away side's no.1, well no.71 actually, continued to repel all Arsenal could throw at him.

The home support groaned at the half-time whistle. Arsenal domnating but failing to score has been a familiar tale since their move to Ashburton Grove in 2006.

Arsenal persevered and were rarely threatened by the away side. There was little ambition from Olympiakos with their intentions clear- a point will do nicely.

Their wish was looking more and more likely to come true as again Arsenal wasted good openings.

However, Olympiakos nearly took a shock lead after 51 minutes. They earned their first corner of the game and, if that was not enough, they nearly scored from it. Dudu's cross was met powerfully by former Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg but Vito Mannoune and Gael Clichy prevented it from crossing the line.

The pattern of the game soon returned to normal and as the game entered its final phase it looked like the Greeks' wish for a point would be rewarded.

But then Arsenal clearly had other ideas. Van Persie finished off a fine team move after Fabregas' through-ball found Eduardo. A few minutes later, Arshavin killed off the game with a neat backheel, even if there were suspicions of offside.