Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Arsenal can exploit wary Greeks, claims Wenger

By Jim Van Wijk

Published 09/12/2015

Confident: Arsene Wenger still believes Arsenal can progress
Confident: Arsene Wenger still believes Arsenal can progress

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal can take advantage of a fear of failure from Olympiakos tonight. The Greek champions are favourites to advance to the knock-out stages of the Champions League as they host the Gunners in a Group F showdown - with Wenger backing his side to be a danger in the latter rounds if they come through this test.

Having won 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium back in September, Olympiakos can afford to lose to Wenger's side and still progress.

Arsenal, meanwhile, need to win by a two-goal margin or better that result from earlier in the group to get through, but Wenger feels they can panic the Greeks if they play at their best.

"We play against a side that will be motivated but we face that every week," he said.

"They can lose what they have and that can create a fear factor, the best way for us to achieve it is to believe in our quality.

"Mentally, you prepare yourself to adapt to every situation and give the right response to every situation you face.

"We will have to adapt to what is happening on the pitch and to all of the scenarios, accept them and respond."

Arsenal have lost on their three previous visits to the Karaiskakis Stadium but all have come as dead-rubbers at the end of group stages where Wenger's side have secured qualification.

This time the scenario could not be more contrasting but the Frenchman has backed his team to show their quality and rattle some cages when the knock-out rounds begin in February.

"We just want to give absolutely everything, if you want to jump over a hurdle you don't think what happens if you miss," he said. "If you fall down then you respond, if you want to have a chance to get across you have to give absolutely everything you can.

"Of course we can be dangerous if we go through because we come from far back.

"At the moment we have two or three super-favourites (to win the competition) and whoever gets through will have to chase them."

Both Arsenal and Wenger are defending an impressive record which has seen them get out of the group stages for the last 15 seasons.

That statistic does not tell the whole story, however, as they have then failed to progress beyond the round of 32 for the past five years.

Wenger has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game and is likely to field the same starting XI that secured a 3-1 victory over Sunderland on Saturday.

Theo Walcott is again likely to only make the bench as his comeback from injury continues, while Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey have been backed to continue their partnership in the heart of midfield.

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph