Match Preview: Arsenal vs Olympiakos

Arsenal v Olympiacos
UEFA Champions League, Emirates Stadium
Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 19:45

It’s match day! And the games are back to their twice weekly cycle and before we can digest one game, we’re already previewing the next one. And after our tiresome win over Standard Liege, we’ve got a good old fashioned home game, which really has to be considered a home banker, 3-pointer.

One familiar face in the Olympiacos line up will be ex-Aston Villa Olaf Mellberg and the former Premiership player has been part of a very successful defence, a defence which has only conceded 2 goals in the last 10 games. The player commented ahead of tonight’s game:

“It will be a really tough match,” said the 32-year-old. “We will need to be on top of our game all over the pitch. They’re probably one of the best teams in Europe at playing quick football. We’ve defended well so far this season and we need to do that to stop Arsenal. Going forward they are one of the best sides, not only in England, but in Europe. We played in the first ever game here and I scored the first goal. We got a draw too so it was a good game and I have happy memories of it.”

In terms of team news ahead of the game, news is that we’re planning in giving Tomas Rosicky his first start in a while in a front three with Van Persie and Arshavin, whilst Sagna and Clichy may be rested for Eboue and Gibbs respectively. Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela look set to take part in a closed door friendly against Olympiacos Reserves, which means the likely line up will be:

Mannone

Eboue – Gallas – Vermaelen – Gibbs

Song – Diaby

Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin

Van Persie

With a bench of WS (our keeper whose name I can’t spell), Sagna, Clichy, Silvestre, Ramsey, Wilshere and Eduardo.

Ultimately, if we dropped Diaby and played Cesc deeper, moving Rosicky central, Arshavin right and Vela or Eduardo left, we’d probably have a better team, but I’m not the boss and the boss really wants to play Diaby, week in and week out until eventually he becomes good!

I’ll be at the game tonight, so won’t be able to run Match Day Live, but I’m hoping some of the readers watching the game will add a few comments to help others not watching the game know what is going on!

Before I go, a quick excerpt from Arsene regarding the money situation. We made a whopping £35.6m profit this year – and that’s £6m more than last year. In fact, we’ve been making profits every year despite the stadium and despite the service debt. Remember, these numbers are after the debt payment has been made, which makes the situation even more positive…

“It is true there is money and people reproach me for not losing money. It is not a personal thing, it is just that I have a squad that is strong enough to compete.  We have worked with the young players and I am at a stage where they are now coming out – Diaby, Denilson, Song, Fabregas, Walcott, Vela, Ramsey. I have so many players and if I buy now in front of them, I will not find better players. I will not have a better team. Look at the two last players we bought – Arshavin and Vermaelen. We have spent money. When we bought Vermaelen was he a big name? Certainly not because nobody knew him.  It’s not because I’m against spending money, I have nothing against spending money. But I do not spend money because out of the squad [to face Olympiacos] is Nasri, Walcott and Bendtner. And people want me to buy strikers, but where do I put them? I don’t know. I have to then lose players, who, for me, are world-class.  If you are convinced you can maintain your policy and he is the player who makes the difference, then you spend money. But if you buy one player who you have to pay £15million a year, you cannot keep the rest at two [million]. You have to think about the consequences.”

And that’s a good summary of our financial situation, our policy of players and the reality which is the disruption super duper high value players can make. Good on ya Arsene, all we need to do now is win something!!!

Til tomorrow…!

  • Yemi

    I hope to see a good game and an even better win !!! Go on Boys!!

  • Pete

    Dev, do you know how much debt we still have to pay off exactly? Seems like there’s been more money avaiable to spend in the last year or so than in the previous 3 years.

  • wills

    Looks like Vela may be in the sqaud instead of Wilshere, as he didn’t feature in the 2nd XI game against Olympiacos, which was won 3-1. Both Walcott and Wilshere played 60 mins though so I’d expect to see Theo on the bench for Sundays game.

  • devday

    It’s a little ambiguous. Recent news suggests we have been able to pay our £138m bank loan off by June 2010 and ask for a 6 month extension. Which doesn’t tally up with the recent profit report.

    As I understand it, the club is keeping the repayment structure separate to the rest of the business, meaning that we have money but would rather stick to the original agreements.

    I’ve got a copy of the annual accounts, which I’ll be reviewing in more detail later this week…!

  • http://worldofarsenal.co.uk josiah

    come on gunners!

  • Leeroy.N2

    It looks like I’m set to miss this match boys and girls. I’m at the hospital with my little boy (trampoline injury). So I will need detailed and in depth match commentry and updates please!! Thanks. Come on you gunners!!!

    Win, Lose or Draw.. Gooner Til I Die!!

  • zohaib

    and Diaby starts ! lol

  • http://yahoo.com joel sequeira

    i like how eboue is taking initiative . olympiakos keeeper is keeping them in the game fab shot hit the wood work and rosisky took the rebound saved by the keeper … so typical sublime arsenal moves … goooooo gunnnersss!!!

  • http://yahoo.com joel sequeira

    diaby dissapointng man !! He looks a lil overwhlemed and lost amongst the greats …!

  • Debs

    Nikopolidis is doing a Mannone! Lol

  • http://yahoo.com joel sequeira

    RVP is playing like a STAR STAR-VP…
    Dutch man is showing his class , deseptive deseptive football.
    Fabrigas – Rosisky – RVP – ARSHVIN I cannot see any one but them on the pitch WOW!!! wat display of class football!!
    Its a shame we did not score ! Niko has pulled a mannone On US !! ur right debs!

  • http://yahoo.com joel sequeira

    Hail VITO MANNONE !! Once again pulls up a brilliant save !
    The have increased bodies in defence !!

  • Marc Callan

    Have to say, Song has been brilliant

  • http://yahoo.com joel sequeira

    i think we hier a sniper to shoot niko … or we willl make these brilliant moves only to find him there saving everything ! some one drill a hole in this mans hands pleeeease !!

  • http://yahoo.com joel sequeira

    yeh song has takin it upon him self to not stop the relenless attacks we are putting in !Impressed !!

  • http://yahoo.com joel sequeira

    Great Move ! By Le Boss .. subs diaby gets Vela in !

  • http://yahoo.com joel sequeira

    GGGOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!!!!hahahahahahahhahahah!!!!!

  • http://yahoo.com joel sequeira

    RRRRRRRRRRRRVVVVVVVVVVVVVVPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!

  • Pete

    1-0 Arsenal. Goal by RvP

  • Marc Callan

    I really love that guy

  • http://yahoo.com joel sequeira

    THE RUSHIAN WIZZARD DESERVED THIS FOR ALL THE HARD ONE !!! CHEEKY CHEEKY !! GOAL !!

  • Pete

    2-0 Arsenal, goal by Arshavin.

  • http://yahoo.com joel sequeira

    RUSSIAN*
    HARDWORK*
    too exited to type right lol !! wat lovely play as i type this Vela Arshavin and Fab now killing it !!

  • Pete

    Full time. 2-0 Gunners.

  • http://worldofarsenal.co.uk josiah

    good win for the gunners.

  • zohaib

    finally !

  • RF

    Nice Show. 2-0 for gunners !!

  • RF

    Diaby was disappointing.

  • Fabrez

    Sorry to hear about ur son Leeroy! Hope all is well with him! And sweet victory tonight!! Very sweet! It’s all about the Gunners baby! Can’t wait to see Vela more often…we’re hotttt! Just wondered…with Fiorentina in financial problems and major boardroom uncertainties, would be nice to snap up Melo in Jan with Song missing huh? Good performance lads…let’s keep that momentum going!!

  • Fabrez

    But I’m actually hoping to see Nasri fill in for Song when he’s gone as we all know Nasri can play that holding role! He’s a decent tackler who will only get better! Good times at Ashburton Grove me thinks…things look bright!

  • Berth

    Nasri for Song? Fabrez do you wake up someday and decide that Nasri will be a better DMF for us than Song. Are you blind to see that no one in the team can do what song is doing at the moment and the only player that is near is Denilson. Common guys be reasonable for once.

  • Fabrez

    NOOOO…I’m talking about when Song is at the African Cup of Nations…come on Berth…maybe u need to wake up.

  • dotun007

    I actually think diaby had a good game, one of his better games this season

  • Leeroy.N

    FABREZ – Thanks matey. He is doing good now, he had to have surgery on his elbow because of a dislocation and fracture. But he is a soldier and he will do just fine. Great win!! I hear we dominated and Mannone was a star again, as well as the whole team doing a great job at home. Good times and Good win.

    Win, Lose or Draw.. Gooner Til I Die!!

  • jeffvip

    Since we r playing 2 holding midfielder style, I guess snapping up Melo in January is a good choice. ^ ^

  • Debs

    Good to hear your son’s doing ok, Leeroy! And nothing like an Arsenal win to help ease the pain and anxiety, eh? Lol

  • Debs

    Just seen the highlights. Arshavin’s goal was sick! Awesome stuff from the lads!

  • Berth

    Fabrez – sorry about that I guess I was intoxicated by the victory. I had to read your response to my blog before realising the error. Am sorry mate.

  • Berth

    A bit of overconfidence almost cost us the game. The fulham game and this one will be a good expereince to learn from. But first we need to sort out the little issue of being ruthless and efficient in our finish

  • Leeroy.N2

    DEBS – Thanks, that win made us all feel a lot better. I watched some of the highlights today. We were so commanding in their half. And I love the fact that we were on target so much too. A lesser keeper in that goal and the scoreline would have been more than embarrasing. Top of the table now… Lets stay there.

    Win, Lose or Draw… Gooner Til I Die!!

  • zohaib

    Had Cesc scored that would’ve been some goal. What brilliance he showed to get a sweet first touch with his right foot and smash it with his left only to hit the bar. That was just ABSOLUTE DYNAMITE ! lol

  • Gate7

    OLYMPIACOS 4 EVER.GATE 7 FROM LONDON.GAMA TOUS TIN MANA OLYMPIAKE…..

  • hello

    Amazing performance yesterday… glad to see us not getting too frustrated and maintaining our patience throughout the 90mins…

    Arshavin – Cesc – Roskicy – Van Persie =
    Technique – Technique – Technique – Technique!!

    Melo plays fo Juventus jeffvip and Fabrez went for about 20m… think a transfer is out of the question.

    Nasri in Songs roll would never work… I could see him filling in Denilsons roll but we need someone with real strength, power and stature, someone who the opposition is gonna bounce off!!

  • Pete

    Good win from the lads. Right now I’ll take wins over perfomances at this stage of the season, but it was good to see us dominating the way we did and gind out the win. Two very good goals but Arshavins was a beauty, regardless of the off side. Regarding Diaby, thing is you need games in order to improve, so I guess he has to keep playing if he’s going to get better. Be interesting to see how often he plays once Nasri is back. Perhaps injuring him was part of a masterplan from Diaby to get more first team action lol :-P

    Hope your son get better soon Leeroy mate!

  • Pete

    Btw, Stan Kroenke has increased his shares to 28.7% today. If he buys 29.9% or more he is obliged to make an offer to buy out the club.

  • Fabrez

    @ BERTH – No worries mate!
    @ HELLO – Point taken about Nasri but I said that based on what he himself said… He as well as the France manager said it’s a role he cud end up playing but he has loads of physical work to do I’d think…but I do like the fact that he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t mind getting stuck in during matches. I think he can be a bit like Flamini for us. And I know Melo’s price is high… That was more wishful thinkin than anything!

  • hello

    FABREZ…

    That’s news to me about Nasri and Raymond Domenech saying about turning into a DM, you’ve got me quite excited now!!

    He could well turn out to be our very own Macherano, but better tecnically… that would be awsome!!

    Still i think in today’s game you would need him next to a SONG (especially in the premiership)… nice piece of inside info tho…

  • Leeroy.N2

    Thanks PETE. He’s doing good, home and resting now. Can’t stop watching the highlights. We were so precise and goal hungry. It was a joy to catch what I did. They seem to be building on each performance and bringing something new or different. I hope Wenger has something in store for us this January, another one or two signings and if they have the same impact like Arshavin did, the future will be definatly looking bright. Come on you Gunners!!

    Win, Lose or Draw… Gooner Til I Die!!!

  • devday

    Leeroy, good to hear that you’re son is better! Great game yesterday… good to have some flair back in the side with the Arsh + Rosicky + Eddie, Vela, VP and of course Walcott back on the weekend….!

  • Leeroy.N

    DEVDAY – Thanks, he’s fine and comfortable. Gonna cost me a bomb keeping he occupied for the next week. HAHA! We have to keep Vela here, we can’t let him go on loan anymore. I know it’s frustrating for him, but he really needs to stay.