Arsenal Wins At Olympiacos

Arsenal beat Olympiacos 3-0 at the Estadio Georgios Karaiskakis on Wednesday night in their Uefa Champions League Group F clash.  Despite being the underdogs, the Gunners managed to grind out a result away from home in a convincing performance that was inspired by an Oliver Giroud hat-trick.  The win is Arsenal’s first away triumph against the Greeks.

The home crowd was booing Arsenal as they kicked off knowing a win for Arsenal would send the home side packing for the Europa League, whereas a draw would be enough to see the Greek team progress in the competition.  It was a difficult start to the match for the visitors and they were struggling to get their passing game going and often found themselves stretched in midfield. 

The hosts were running rampant in the opening minutes and should have been ahead in the 11th minute when Brown Ideye found himself one-on-one with the keeper, but opted to cross instead of go for goal.  Despite seeing plenty of the ball, Erythroleftki were struggling to score and were made to pay the ultimate price in the 28th minute when Giroud powered home a header at the near post following an Aaron Ramsey cross. 

Mathieu Flamini had come close four minutes earlier but hit the cross bar, while Theo Walcott dragged his effort wide in the 37th minute after a menacing run.  The final chance of the half went to Olympiacos, however after good combination play inside the box, Felipe Pardo’s deflected cross could not find its way in and went over the cross bar for a corner.  At 1-0 down, the home team was still in the contest and the crowd would have been hoping for a better second half performance, and a result that would help them end ahead of their opponents in Group F, but after three second half minutes they conceded again.

Giroud was proving to be a thorn in the side of the Greek champions as he scored his second of the match after Joel Cambell set him up.  Dimitris Siovas came close for the hosts in the 57th minute, however it was not going to be their night as Omar Elabdellaoui gave away a penalty down the other end in the 65th minute, allowing Giroud to complete his hat-trick.  It was a dominant finish to the match by the Londoners.

It was only Arsenal’s blue away strip that would have come to the aid of neutrals who otherwise might have mistaken Arsene Wenger’s side as the home team in Athens.  Despite Olympiacos creating plenty of chances, Petr Cech was in fine form and would let nothing past him.

Teams:

Olympiacos: Roberto; Elabdellaoui, Da Costa, Siovas, Masuaku; Kasami, Milivojevi?, Fortounis, Seba, Pardo; Ideye 
Subs: Botia, Finnbogason, Dominguez, Salino, Kapino, Santos Fortes, Cambiasso.

Arsenal: Cech; Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Bellerin; Ramsey, Flamini, Campbell, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud. 
Subs: Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Ospina, Oxalade-Chamberlain, Chambers, Iwobi.

Venue: Stadio Georgio Karaiskakis