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

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

  1. 17highburyterrace says:

    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?…

  2. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  3. TotalArsenal says:

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

    Nice touch by Wenger to play Campbell from the start.

    COME ON YOU RIP ROARING GUNNERS!!

  4. 17highburyterrace says:

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

    We have kickoff…

  5. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey TA… Where are you watching tonight?

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

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

    Olympiakos look eager enough to get forward…

  7. Ab says:

    Evening HT. AB glued to the radio again! Full of hope at the start…

  8. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  9. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    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…

  11. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  12. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  13. Ab says:

    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?

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

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

    14th high ball to Theo = fail…

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    I feel we are settling our nerves a bit now, but our passing needs to improve. Not a bad start though.

  17. Ab says:

    Scrappy is the phrase…

  18. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ref calls back advantage for a foul on Campbell…

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

  21. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

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

    No comfort yet in much of our play…

  23. 17highburyterrace says:

    24th min: Goal kick for Cech…

    Flams hits the bar!

    Giroud heads to keeper…

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Good, typical Arsenal attack, and great pull back by Campbell… shame the woodwork was in Flamini’s way.

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  27. Ab says:

    Giroud!!!

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    GIROUD!!!!

    That’s One…

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    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!

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    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!

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    36th: Arsenal corner…

    Ozil cannot beat the first defender with it…

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

  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    38th Theo from distance,but the daisy cutter is wide left…

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

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

    Campbell offside

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

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

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

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    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….

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  40. allezkev says:

    So far, so good, now just keep a clean sheet and grab the winner at the end.

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  42. allezkev says:

    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…

  43. allezkev says:

    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…

  44. Ab says:

    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…..

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    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.

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    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!

  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  50. Ab says:

    we are in business

  51. 17highburyterrace says:

    GIROUD!!!!

    What Ankle?!? From Campbell!!!

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    WOW, Campbell does an Ozil and Ollie is not going to miss that one! Top stuff by the Arsenal.

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    From Ozil…

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

  55. allezkev says:

    One more should kill off the Greeks….

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

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

    Ozil shoved out but nothing called…

    Let’s hit them on the break…

  57. allezkev says:

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

    But I’ll leave so not to tempt fate 😉

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    Kos wins a foul but replay shows LK got in a Costa-esque face-rake…

  59. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  60. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  61. Ab says:

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

  62. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    We have to play with a bit more discipline in midfield, and I wonder whether we should get Gibbsy to replace the Theo

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  65. Ab says:

    living dangerously, grief

  66. 17highburyterrace says:

    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….

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    Penalty — on Olympiakos for handball!!!

  68. Ab says:

    this will do it

  69. 17highburyterrace says:

    Giroud to take it…

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    FOR THE HAT TRICK…

    3-nil

  71. Ab says:

    Now shut up shop

  72. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    Those who attack get rewarded…. Wonderful hattrick by Ollie and great team work. Proud to be a Gooner! 🙂

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    69th min… Olympiakos still trying but we’ve got the ball now…

  75. Ab says:

    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

  76. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  77. allezkev says:

    Now just one more goal to put a cherry on the cake…

  78. 17highburyterrace says:

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

    Completely agreed, AB… Big night for Campbell…

  79. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  80. Ab says:

    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?

  81. 17highburyterrace says:

    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?)

  82. Ab says:

    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

  83. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  84. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    Keeper punches Ozil’s FK away… Corner now…

  86. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ozil offside after Flamini swings it wide his way…

    Subs please…

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

    Greeks are done now…

  87. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  88. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  89. Ab says:

    Agreed HT. Not sure why we haven’t rested another – Giroud probably

  90. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  91. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  92. 17highburyterrace says:

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

  93. 17highburyterrace says:

    4 mins extra time, two already gone…

    Ooh, Ox shot just deflected wide…

  94. Ab says:

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

  95. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  96. allezkev says:

    Well done 17, good job tonight…

    Gotta luv those Italian referees, especially after a pen…

  97. TotalArsenal says:

    Whole team was magnificent – all men of the match. That was a total team performance. Boys have done us proud. 🙂

  98. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  99. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

  100. FLO8 says:

    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.

  101. 17highburyterrace says:

    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…

    😀

  102. Jnyc says:

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

  103. Jnyc says:

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

  104. Ab says:

    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.

  105. TotalArsenal says:

    good to see you back, Johnnie. How is life treating you?

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