On September 29th, Arsenal will welcome Greek Champions Olympiacos to the Emirates Stadium. After both of these teams lost their opening group game, they’ll be desperate for a win to keep pace with group favorite Bayern Munich. Arsenal will be especially hungry for victory after their embarrassing 2-1 loss away to Dinamo Zagreb. That loss has turned this fixture into a must win for the Gunners, as anything else will leave them in a very bad position in the group. Their Greek opponents will be looking to frustrate and get whatever they can from this game. Even a point would put the Greeks in a fantastic position to qualify from this group.
Arsenal could be missing a few key players going into this match. Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck, and Jack Wilshere are all missing out through long term injuries. Arsene Wenger has not announced whether Francis Coquelin will be be fit, and Mathieu Flamini looks doubtful after going off injured at the weekend. They’ll also be without Olivier Giroud after his suspension against Zagreb.
Olympiacos captain Giannis Maniatis is one of a few injury doubts going into this one. Along with Maniatis, Dimitris Siovas and Andreas Bouchalakis look like they could miss the clash with Arsenal. They’ll also be without Luka Milivojevic will be out with a suspension.
The two sides are very familiar with this being the fourth time in the past seven seasons that they’ve been drawn into the same group. The home team has won in all of the previous six meetings. Olympiacos lost all three of their away games in the Champions League last season and have lost five away games in a row. Arsenal on the other hand were unbeaten in all three of their home group stage games, averaging three goals a game. Arsenal have never lost at home to a Greek opponent with six wins and two draws.
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez
After a dismal performance in the Champions League two weeks ago, Arsenal need their star players to stand up and put in a big performance here. If there’s anyone that Arsenal can depend on to score goals, it’s Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean finally got himself off the mark for the season at the weekend, and he did it in style with a hat trick. He showed his ability as a pure goalscorer with a lot of variety in the Leicester game, scoring a tap in, a soaring header, and a screamer from 25 yards. Now that he’s finally opened his account for the season, Arsene Wenger will hope that the goals start flying in every week now.
Olympiacos: Kostas Fortounis
After failing to score in their opening Champions League game against Bayern, Olympiacos will be looking for goals in this one. They’ll be hoping young Kostas Fortounis will be able to start scoring in the Champions League like he’s been scoring in the league this season. After scoring seven goals in 25 appearances last year, the 22 year old seems to have stepped up another level notching five goals in his first five matches this season. The Greek side will need their young international to show off his goal-scoring prowess at the Emirates if they are to get something from this match.
It’s hard to see past Arsenal in this match. The loss away to Zagreb will be a wake up call for the Gunners, and they’ll know they need to win this match. After hitting high flying Leicester for five at the weekend, it looks like they may have found their scoring touch, which would be bad news for Olympiacos.
Prediction: 3-1 Arsenal