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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.