Monday, September 28, 2009

Arsenal vs Olympiacos Preview & Live Score: UEFA Champions League 2009-10

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Arsenal hosts Greek champion Olympiacos on Tuesday (29 September 2009) in a Group H match of Champions League 2009-10. Both teams had a winning start to the Champions league campaign this season. Arsenal pulled off an excellent 3-2 come-from-back victory over Standard Liege, while Olympiacos defeated Dutch side AZ 1-0 in their Champions league openers. So, the winner of the game will move to the no. 1 position in point table. With Arsenal playing at home, it seems that the Gunners will have some advantage, but you can not rule out the chances of Olympiacos, given their recent form.

If you want to get the live score and updates of the match between Arsenal and Olympiacos, then visit BBC.

Match: Arsenal vs Olympiacos, Group H, UEFA Champions League 2009-10

Date: 29 September 2009

Venue: Emirates Stadium, London, England

Kick off: 18:45 GMT (Local Time 19:45)

Following two successive defeats at the hands of Manchester United and Manchester City, Arsenal has won four games on a row including the inspirational 4-0 thrashing of Wigan Athletic. Arsenal might have struggled against Fulham to pick up three points, but there are some positives in their 1-0 away win. First of all, 21-year-old Italian goalkeeper Vito Mannone showed that he has come of age at last and is now ready to play at this level regularly. Moreover, striker Robin van Persir, who scored the winner, has proved that he is now capable of capitalizing the chances more than ever.

Arsenal is currently at the no. 5 position in the premier league standing with 12 points from 6 games, though they are level with 6th placed Manchester City in terms of points. To be honest, Arsenal’s league standing does not reflect their impressing on-field performance. It is true that Arsenal lost both the games at Manchester, but if you look at the two games, you can see that their performance was not bad. Rather, for some time, Arsenal looked in dominating form. For example, against United, they conceded two goals through penalty and an own goal. Against City, they played toe-to-toe most of the time, despite conceding two late goals.

Olympiacos has been in high-flying form so far this season. Since the arrival of new coach Brazilian Zico, the Greek champions have won all of their four games. Zico replaced Temuri Ketsbaia as the new manager of Olympiacos just before their Champions league opener against AZ.

Ahead of the trip to London, Zico is now worried about the tiredness of the players as his boys played 4 games in the last 10 days. However, he is confident that his side will do well in London and expects his players to show the winning mentality in the game.

Espnstar reported:

"We hope to play good football in London," Zico said to Sky Sports.

"I am worried because of the tiredness. At the second half against Panionios [on Saturday] I saw tired players and this is something that I have to resolve.

"We hope to overcome the problem and have a good game. We know very well the difficulties of playing against Arsenal.

"They are a big club but we are confident of doing well in London. We must show that winning mentality that we show in Greece."

Olympiacos now stands second in the standing of Super League Greece with 13 points, just two points shy of leader Panathinaikos. They won 4 out of their 5 league games and the only game they could not win was a goalless draw with Kavala.

Arsenal’s recent form may indicate that they do not need to worry a lot about the Olympiacos game, but still Wenger has to deal with a number of injury concerns ahead of the European fixture. First of all, Arsenal is missing the service of striker Nicklas Bendtner who suffered bruises in a car accident on Sunday when he was on his way to club training ground. The accident did not let him take part in the training and Wenger has confirmed that the striker will be out for the Olympiacos match.

Times Online reported:

"Nicklas did not practice because he had a car accident yesterday," Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said. "Fortunately, there was no real long-term damage, but he was bruised and we thought it better he did not train. He should be back for Sunday."

Meanwhile, another bad news for Arsenal fans is that Brazilian midfielder Denilson will be on the sideline for two more months. Initially, his back injury looked minor, but doctors have now found out a fracture on his back. Let us now come to the good news of the Arsenal camp. Arsenal starlet Theo Walcott is now all set to return to action with the Olympiacos match. The English striker has been sidelined since he picked up a back injury during the pre-season match against Valencia in August. Wenger has indicated that Walcott might be in the Arsenal squad for the Champions league game, but he would not be brought straight into the starting line up of Arsenal.

Extrafootie reported:

Wenger concedes however, that Walcott will not be named in his starting XI but has a chance of making the squad as the Gunners look to make it back-to-back victories in Group H.
"He has a chance to be in the squad but not to be starting," Wenger told The Sun. "He has played only 45 minutes since June."

Following his heroic performance during last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Fulham, Arsenal’s third choice goalkeeper Vito Mannone is now all set to start against Olympiacos too. First choice Manuel Almunia and second choice Łukasz Fabiański are both injured at this moment, and it has been reported that Almunia has not yet got over the chest infection fully. Naturally, Mannone will be seen in the Arsenal goal in the upcoming match in Europe.

Olympiacos does not have any big injury concern and it is expected that the Greek side will give some tough challenge for the Gunners, even though they will be playing at Arsenal home ground in front of Gunners fans. They now have an inspirational coach in Zico, former legend of Brazil, and it is pretty much clear that picking up at least a point is the ultimate target of the visitors.

Until Arsenal’s semi final defeat to Manchester United at the Emirates stadium last season, Gunners were undefeated at home for five years. It is pretty much clear that Arsenal fortress is always very strong to break in Europe. What is more important is that Olympiacos could score only once in their 8 away games in England in Champions league. Out of their 16 Champions league fixtures against English teams, they could win only twice, both coming at home. In their 8 away games, Olympiacos conceded 27 goals- meaning more than 3 goals per game. Naturally, their away record in England would be a big cause of concern for Zico ahead of the visit to the North London club.

However, it would be a big mistake if Arsenal takes the Greek side lightly and feel any level of complacency ahead of the game. No doubt, Arsenal has a very good squad and their recent form is pretty much satisfactory. I do not think that they need to worry about the absence of Bendtner. Arsenal has two excellent forwards in Robin van Persie and Eduardo.

Arsenal midfield also features some creative players like Cesc Fabregas and Andrei Arshavin, but in the absence of Denilson, Arsenal may face some problems in deciding whom to deploy as the holding midfielder. I think, Abou Diaby should be perfect person to play in this position, but Wenger can also think about Emmanuel Eboue. Back line should be pretty much same with Gallas and Vermaelen taking up the central roles, while Sagna and Clichy doing their jobs in the right back and left back positions.

Online Live Score and Updates

You can get the live score of the match between Arsenal and Olympiacos in the following websites:

Live Score


Live Football Scores

Footie Scorez

I think, Arsenal has an edge given their home advantage, but having said that, I am not writing off Olympiacos. The Greek side will be looking to create an upset in the England capital and they will go into the match full of confident under the new coach Zico. So, I think, we can expect an entertaining match at the Emirates stadium on Tuesday.

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