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This now brings me to our opposition, who are the current Greek champions Olympiakos. While most would expect a comfortable victory, the Greek team should not be taken lightly considering they have dominated their league in the past eight years. They will no doubt take heart they beat an experimental Arsenal side in last years Champions League with goalkeeper Roy Carroll stating his team will come to the Emirates with the intention of winning.
In terms of Arsenal, their are only a couple of fresh injuries from the clash against Chelsea. As we all know, Diaby suffered a thigh strain and will be out for three weeks, a scenario that was somewhat expected. Spaniard Mikel Arteta also faces a late fitness test after sustaining an ankle injury at the weekend, meaning Arsenal could potentially be without two of their first choice midfielders for this clash. It looks as though Coquelin will get an opportunity to impress.
While there are no other injuries to report on, I would expect that Mertesacker will return to the starting line-up after missing the Chelsea clash. The big German has been in form so far this season and looks likely to retain his starting spot after Koscielny had a sub-standard game at the weekend, being directly involved in both of Chelsea’s goals.
Looking up front, I would expect Walcott to get a run with Podolski on the left. Spearheading the attack will likely be Gervinho who has been the preferred option by Wenger, but I am hoping that Giroud will get a chance to lead the line. Hopefully a goal will boost his confidence and make him more clinical in front of goal. We have all seen that he makes the right moves to get the opportunities, but has been lacking that finishing touch.
Personally, I am expecting some backlash from Arsenal’s frustrating loss at the weekend!
on Jack Wilshere’s comeback game…
He came through it alright. There was no reaction. We are pleased but it is now down to taking the right time to ease him slowly back. We are all very happy, and he especially must be exceptionally happy, but he has been out for 14 months.
on Mikel Arteta missing training…
Arteta will have a test tomorrow morning. We will make the decision then whether we include him in the squad or not. He has an ankle injury.
on other team news…
We lost Diaby, who has a thigh strain. He is definitely out for three weeks as well. Apart from Diaby and Arteta everyone came through well.
He is injured and will not be back for two or three weeks.
Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen (c) Gibbs
Walcott Cazorla Podolski
Arsenal to win: 5/4
Olympiacos to win: 12/5
Cleansheet: Arsenal- 10/11
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Arsenal 2 Olympiacos 0 = 11/2