Bergkampesque Live Blog: Olympiakos-Arsenal Line-ups. Talk About Your Big European Nights

They get no bigger than this…

Do we parachute into the Europa League–with the dullest of thuds–or do we make it into the round of 16 as we have for the past 15 years?

Either way, life will go on, but it seems a big moment. High expectations–or the remarkable consistency Arsenal has delivered in this competition–leads to high expectations.  That said, when the group was drawn most Gooners had to believe 2nd place was our proper level.  Rotation–and bench players not quite measuring up–plus a measure of bad fortune means we’ve got our work cut out for us on the final night.

Winning by the 2 clear goals (or by a single goal if we can score 3 or more) would be a big statement–and a shot in the arm for our collective confidence–given how our season seems to be teetering on the edge of disaster due to recent injuries.

Since we need goals we need attackers to step up. In the match preview I singled out Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott, and both will be starting:  Here’s your starting 11:

Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Campbell, Walcott, Ozil, Giroud

Subs: Ospina, Gibbs, Chambers, Debuchy, Gabriel, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi

All attack or so it seems…

Time for a bit of this–from one of Arsene’s favourites…

Too mellow, probably, but there you go…

Remember, we don’t need all those goals all at once.

In fact, if we can position ourselves correctly maybe Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can finish the deed off the bench.

His first Champions League Goal was against Olympiakos some four years ago.  If you get your chance, take it, Alex!

Or maybe the Ox should think about growing out his hair.and taking up the guitar…

Please join me in the comments tonight–And pardon my sticky space bar if I blur some words together… It’s not sticky so much as it takes a firm thumb (and a direct strike) to make it engage… Read into that whatever you like… 😀

by 17highburyterrace

106 thoughts on “Bergkampesque Live Blog: Olympiakos-Arsenal Line-ups. Talk About Your Big European Nights

  • Olympiacos starters:

    Roberto; Elabdellaoui, Da Costa, Siovas, Masuaku; Kasami, Milivojevic; Seba, Fortounis, Pardo; Ideye

    I can’t find their subs with a cursory search…

    Anybody else around or am I just talking to myself?…

  • Oh well… ‘Puter troubles at this end, but it seems a bit better atm… We’ll see…

    An early goal takes the crowd out of it…but it sounds like Olympiakos are VERY comfortable squeezing the life out of opposing teams and hitting on the break. Tonight, of course, they don’t even need to do part B…

    Regardless, Theo + Giroud is something we haven’t seen for quite awhile so that could be inneresting…

    Anthems (to endure) then kickoff…

  • WOW, Ollie and Theo – Attack – Attack – Attack!!!!!

    Nice touch by Wenger to play Campbell from the start.

    COME ON YOU RIP ROARING GUNNERS!!

  • Olympiakos subs: Kapino, Botia, Finnbogason, Dominguez, Leandro Salino, Hernani and Cambiasso…

    We have kickoff…

  • 2nd min: First Chance falls to Olympiakos… Rushed finish booted well over…

    Olympiakos look eager enough to get forward…

  • 4th: Oly pressing us backwards and Cech ballooning his kicks early on…

    Finally we have a bit of possession (greeted by loud whistles)… This could be an open game, Olympiakos not holding back on the counter…

  • Hi there AB… Let me know what they’re saying… We’re not looking very dangerous as of yet…

  • watching at home, 17HT. With lots of rain on the roof of the conservatory. There is plenty of space on this pitch, so Theo should get a chance or two…

  • 8th: Bellerin lured into a wild swing and a miss onto an Olympiakos shin… FK coming…

  • FK passed to the top of the box, for Pardo’s blocked shot at the point… Dive in the box shown yellow. Still, Greeks have the ball down in our end…

  • Not much in terms of judgement. But sounds like all the threat is coming from them at the moment, not us. A Theo break perhaps coming?

  • Doesn’t sound too bad, TA… We need to get the ball and start raining in some goals…

    12th: Wow…Oly dangerous on the break… Cech has to leave his line… Luckily, the pass from Ideye is to a blue shirt…

  • It almost seems like we cannot figure out their spacing… Campbell playing into a cul-de-sac…

    14th high ball to Theo = fail…

  • Bad giveaway by Bellerin but Cech deals with Ramsey’s tackle/backpass…

    17th min: We get a ball in the box through Nacho but Greeks push us back easily. Possession ends with Ramsey failing to find Bellerin with a return pass. Sloppy…

  • 18th. Ramsey yellow to break up a counter after Campbell, now on the right, cannot find Giroud with a return throughball…

  • Ref calls back advantage for a foul on Campbell…

    Doesn’t get a 2nd foul near the touchline…

  • Pardo curls one wide…Best chances for the home side in the first 20 mins…

  • 22: Still all in our half… Campbell, among others struggling with controlling 1st touches…

    No comfort yet in much of our play…

  • 24th min: Goal kick for Cech…

    Flams hits the bar!

    Giroud heads to keeper…

  • Campbell started it with a wide run… A defender just got a toe to Flamini’s shot after JC’s pull-back…

  • Giroud is desperate for some help from the ref…

    27th: That little bit was better and so is this… a ball from Ozil is just too long for Giroud’s head. Keeper punches clear…

  • What a ball from Ozil to put Ramsey behind lines from where he picked out Giroud’s head. Great finish to beat the keeper at his near post!

  • Ozil, Ramsey, Giroud… beautiful move and great finish. Keeper could have done better but Ollie did all he had to do, and it paid off. UTA!

  • 31st: Corner for Olympiakos… We’re halfway there but only if we can keep the clean sheet…

    They’re using set plays from corners & FKs… That one comes to nothing…

  • 33rd: Announcers saying the Campbell switch to the right has helped Bellerin with defending down that side…

    34th: Olympiakos pushing hard to get an equalizer. We’re doing better keeping possession. Kos wins a foul…Game is getting physical…

  • 36th: Arsenal corner…

    Ozil cannot beat the first defender with it…

    Replay shows that, indeed, the keeper got a hand to the goal….

  • 39th: Olympiakos players and crowd now looking and sounding a bit less convincing…

    Campbell offside

  • Kos block goes OVER our net… Much better than in… 😀

    Corner, taken traditionally, comes to nothing… Greeks still with the ball…

  • Decent dipping effort from distance from the Greeks… Cech handles it professionally…

    42nd: They’re finding space in our half but, so far, ref isn’t buying their dives…

    43rd: Arsenal have a spell of possession but it dies on our right….

  • 44th: Tough FK given but maybe so the ref can book Flamini…

    He doesn’t and the FK only leads to a pot shot from 40 yards…

  • 45th: Ooh Arsenal almost get Theo in but keeper is alive to the danger.

    No extra time played by the ref…

    Half time, half way there…

  • Hey A-Kev… Nice angle on the replays show that Flams shot was very unlucky to get just enough deflection to put it onto the bar…

  • Italian referees are usually safe, but we’re playing a club where the President is suspected of being involved in match fixing…

    What with playing a Zagreb team who were on performance drugs we’ve had a right dodgy group to contend with this campaign…

  • Thanks 17, I’m listening to the radio, the BBC…
    They said that following a late foul by Ramsey that many Greek journalists were up waving imaginary cards..!

    What a bunch of nut jobs…

  • How are we feeling? A goal up at half time was my hope. And we can play much better in the second half to boot. I’m getting very hopeful…..

  • Really professional performance and we could have had two goals already. Need to get a bit more intense in the second half to aim at scoring three. Proud of the boys.

  • Italian refs are usually safe? Is that because they never want a repeat of Calciopoli? 😀

    Indeed, there’s plenty in the game which speaks of a not so level playing field. That said, you would think there’s interest in having Arsenal in the final 16 from some of the powers-that-be…

    Olympiakos look good in the open play but we seem to be containing them well enough so that only high-angle and long shots are the options… They’re not playing the high line so Ozil balls in behind is likely the way through…

    I think a blast of the Ox after the hour mark (for Campbell) might do the trick…

  • It was hardly even a foul on Rambo… The yellow was maybe for the earlier slash by Flamini (advantage was played)…

    2nd half is on!

  • Whoa… Greeks pushing early and BFG has to head out for a corner…which Cech has to punch clear…

    Uh oh, Giroud holding his ankle…looks serious…

  • From my experience, you can have a painful ankle roll which is better in minutes…Otherwise it’s 3 weeks… He looks to have the former…

  • Great one touch cross and upfield ball to set up Campbell’s fine work to make the pass…

  • From Ozil…

    This scoreline works but Olympiakos look dangerous… Corner there but luckily the 2nd header is straight to Cech…

  • 53rd: FK won by Theo…Giroud whistled for shoving…

    Ozil shoved out but nothing called…

    Let’s hit them on the break…

  • 17, yeah I know what you mean about Italian refs…

    But I’ll leave so not to tempt fate 😉

  • 56th: Theo corner poor but Flams works hard to keep it in… Ball comes to Theo but his shot is blocked…

  • Plenty of game left here but Olympiakos have already worked hard…

    Wow…Nice save from Cech on a left footed curler from 20 yards…

    Corner leads to a clash of heads and a goal kick…

  • having to work now. We need another goal. I’m not sure I see us keeping a clean sheet still….

  • Replay on the goal shows intricate footwork from Campbell to buy time for Ollie’s run…

    Very nice…

    Kos gets a dab of Vaseline on his skull…

  • Italian ref allows a Campbell foul…on Fortunis but he was flagged for diving earlier…

    61st…Theo over-elaborate and can’t find Giroud for the hat-trick…

    Pardo at the other end is strong but Kos holds him off for a Goal Kick…

  • Oooh….Brown Ideye with a great first touch just can’t apply the finish before Bellerin (I think) nips in to clear…

    Giroud gets yellow for fouling and flopping…

    I think you’re right, TA…

    Flamini gives a FK for handball…

    We’re feeling some pressure here, but shot from distance ends up in Cech’s hands….

  • Very nice…Well placed and keeper was already committed the other direction…

  • This will be such a lift for the team. If we can do this without Sanchez, Santi and Coq, and the rest, just think what we can do back in the second half of the league

  • 71st… Shall we go for some subs?…

    Nacho with a nice block,but it leads to a corner… and we’re lucky they had two guys go for it with the ball heading over…

    Gibbs for Theo…

  • Gibbs almost gets Giroud in for a 4th… Just deflected away…

    Completely agreed, AB… Big night for Campbell…

  • Speaking of… JC does great work in our half and then turns and runs with it to put in Giroud…Keeper got to it and it was flagged off, but still nice work from JC…

  • Campbell having a good night. Not heard so much about Ozil on the radio – is that the usual, not noticed because he makes it look so easy?

  • Ozil had the key pre-assist for the first two goals… By FAR our best player out there but happy to let others have the lime-light…

    Rambo looks like he could use a sub… (Chambers?)

  • That figures! I read today the ask of Ozil to lift the whole team to get us through this group – sounds like he has delivered again, as he has done all this season

  • 79th: Campbell with several guys running for him, pulls it back and then overhits it… AW up and yelling at him…

    Giroud faking more injury, I’m pretty sure… took a knee in his hamstring, no muscle tear…

  • The goal replays *should* show Ozil’s contribution… He’s just been fouled right on the corner of their box…

  • Ozil offside after Flamini swings it wide his way…

    Subs please…

    83rd…Another decent ball over the top to Ollie…

    Greeks are done now…

  • 85th: Nacho looked fouled there but Olympiakos brind it forward… Not a lot of urgency but all it takes is one touch to make it nervy…

    Greeks use their final sub…

    87th: Arsenal corner…

  • I believe we should be using some subs here…though things are well under control…

  • Cech has to pop the ball over his bar for a corner…Which he punches clear…

  • Yeah, why not get some time for Chambers and the Ox…

    Here comes the Ox and the Greeks as well as the traveling support give him a hand…

  • Chambers for Giroud… Beatles song from the Gooners, whistles from the Greeks…

  • 4 mins extra time, two already gone…

    Ooh, Ox shot just deflected wide…

  • Great night and proud of the boys. No injuries hopefully. Will need to dig deep on Sunday I’m sure.

  • Full time… Never a doubt… 😀

    A VERY memorable group stage has concluded… Some tough names in the draw but also some not so scary…

    Aston Villa on Sunday…

  • Well done 17, good job tonight…

    Gotta luv those Italian referees, especially after a pen…

  • We did it… Like I said, I never doubted we would… Yeah, the ref did his job… Early calls for diving were important…

    Potential draw for the round of 16 = Barca, Real Madrid, Zenit, Atletico, Wolfsburg… Some seem better than others, but not too bad, all told…

    The campaign, I fear, has not been kind to Ospina and the Ox… Those own goals in the first two losses were at the heart of our struggles…

  • Gotta back this up with no let up vs Remy Garde and Villa on short rest… No easy task…

    Question, did Olympiakos blow it by being so eager to score early on? Overall, I think we would have found a way, but it would have been tough if they’d forced us to score three with an early one… Hard to say…

  • Great job 17!!

    Not outstanding but an assured team performance and they got the required result! I thought Campbell had his best performance in an Arsenal shirt to date, Giroud took his chances very well and Koscielny and Cech were commanding in defence.

    Let’s hope for Wolfsburg or Zenit in the next round. Aside from those two it could be Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid or Barcelona.

  • TA, it should be easier doing the match report—if you’re not too pooped… Are you working hard or hardly working? (As we say…) At least no travel to London this week, right?

    Thanks for the company today, fellows… Gotta straighten up the wood pile, wax the skis, etc., before the snow flies…

    😀

  • Thanks to all the gang for the great commentary throughout. i couldnt watch live, and i would rather follow with you than anybody else.

  • And i agree 17.. to the team, dont celebtate too much…. focus on the real prize.. premier league trophy

  • No question things went our way tonight. But we played to win, and with some defensive determination to boot. We are alway the better side, the question is whether we turn up properly. And we did. So I credit the boys for their win, rather than take the view that the Greeks simply bottled it. If they had sat back I still think we would have scored, because we were up for it and believed that we could do he job. Wenger has to take credit for getting the team into the right space for this game, despite all the injuries; it shows real squad unity and belief, all the things he has been striving for and espousing to anyone who will listen.

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