Arsenal go into this match knowing progression in the knock-out phase is secure along with first place in Group F. With a heavy schedule expected in coming weeks no doubt the likes of Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott will be rested for fringe and young players to get more first-team experience on the big stage.
Going into the tie one feels that if Marouane Chamakh does feature he is going to have to take his chance. The Moroccan started his career at the Emirates firing in goals, but as of late his woeful form is unfortunately the only thing to talk about in his performances. Hopefully he gains some much needed confidence and at least registers a solid performance, especially if he wants to stay at the Emirates with the January window looming.
On the more positive end of the scale, the match should provide another opportunity to the likes of Francais Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong and Oxlade-Chamberlain. The up-and-coming Arsenal youngsters all impressed in the Carling Cup tie against Manchester City and will hopefully be hungry for a win after unjustly losing that match.
Overall the match should give an interesting look at Arsenal’s fringe and young players. With the team likely to resemble the one used against Manchester City in the Carling Cup, if they perform to a similar level they should definitely have a chance at winning. It would be great if Arsenal could go into the knock-out phase after being unbeaten in the group stages.
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It is true that some of the players [in this squad] do not play many games but they will be even more motivated to show they deserve to play.
The game will be more difficult for them than if we had brought the team who played on Saturday. I wanted to bring this team because they gave a hard time to Manchester City last week.
I left some players at home because I did not want to put players on the bench when there is training at home but this side will be up for it.
I like to give a chance to young players when they deserve it. I like to do it when I can do it. I have shown in the past that I am not scared to do it when they have the quality to turn up. I believe everyone needs to chance to show their quality. When I am able to give that chance I am always happy.
I know we have a big responsibility tomorrow. I would be deeply disappointed if our winning attitude was not right. I will make sure we walk out there with an immense desire to win the game.
Arsenal – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – The young Englishman terrorised the Manchester City defence in the Carling Cup tie last week and let off a couple of powerful shots that stung the keepers palms. Expect more from Chamberlain as he looks to push further into the first-team
Olympiakos – Rafik Djebbour – The Algerian has been Olympiakos’ main source of goals in the Super League scoring 7 goals in 10 games. Expect him to try and trouble Arsenal’s fringe players at the back.
Yennaris Djourou Squillaci Miquel
Chamberlain Chamakh Park
With first place of Group F secure, expect virtually wholesale changes to the Arsenal side that played Wigan in the weekend. The side is likely to resemble the team that played Manchester City last week in the Carling Cup.