Arsenal settle for second spot

Arsenal surrendered a half-time lead to qualify from Champions League Group B as runners-up after a 2-1 defeat to Olympiakos in Greece.

Last Updated: 05/12/12 at 07:24 Post Comment

Kostas Mitroglou: Celebrates his winner against Arsenal

Kostas Mitroglou: Celebrates his winner against Arsenal

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Tomas Rosicky's neat first-time finish allowed Arsenal to take a narrow lead into the break, but goals from Ioannis Maniatis and Kostas Mitroglou midway through the second half gave the hosts their second victory of the campaign and some encouragement ahead of their Europa League participation.

Defeat means Arsenal finish second in the group having failed to capitalise on Schalke's draw with Montpellier.

With qualification already secure for the knockout stages, if not top spot, Arsene Wenger made seven changes from the weekend defeat to Swansea. Defender Jernade Meade, 20, was handed his Champions League debut, while the Arsenal boss packed his bench with youngsters Zak Ansah, Sead Hajrovic, Elton Monteiro and 17-year-old English striker Chuba Akpom.

Gervinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both wasted early openings by shooting wide of the target before the hosts had their first opportunity in the 11th minute, when Djamel Abdoun's cutback was cleared by Thomas Vermaelen to deny Rafik Djebbour a tap-in.

With both sides happy to attack, Aaron Ramsey was wasteful when Marouane Chamakh headed Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross back towards the penalty spot in the 17th minute, but the midfielder horribly miskicked an attempted first-time shot with his left foot.

A spell of Olympiakos pressure followed, with Rosicky having to kick Vasilis Torosidis' header away from the far post following a corner, before Wojciech Szczesny was forced to parry away Abdoun's 24th-minute drive from inside the box. Six minutes before half-time, however, Arsenal made the hosts pay for their missed chances.

Gervinho wasted one promising opening, but immediately regained possession on the right before driving towards the right touchline and pulling back a low pass for Rosicky, who strode on to the perfectly-weighted ball and curled it inside Roy Carroll's far post.

The goalscorer was replaced by Andrey Arshavin at the break and the Russian wasted the second-half's first opportunity when he directed a free-header over the crossbar after Chamakh's fine delivery from the right.

Arshavin hit the target just after the hour mark to round off a fine Arsenal counter-attack, but the substitute's well-struck shot from a tight angle was parried away by Carroll on its way towards the roof of the Northern Ireland keeper's net.

Olympiakos capitalised on a questionable decision from the officials to equalise in the 65th minute. Paulo Machado's header appeared to glance the post on its way behind Szczesny's goal, but a corner was awarded to the hosts, with the keeper accused of having finger-tipped the ball to safety. Arsenal failed to fully clear the set-piece, which resulted in Ramsey inadvertently chesting the ball to Maniatis, who poked home from close range at the far post.

The Greeks completed the turn around eight minutes later. Mitroglou, who had come off the bench only a minute earlier, was gifted time and space to turn on the edge of the box before curling a lovely low shot around Szczesny.

OlympiakosTeam StatisticsArsenal
2Goals1
01st Half Goals1
9Shots on Target3
4Shots off Target2
2Blocked Shots1
6Corners2
16Fouls16
2Offsides3
1Yellow Cards4
0Red Cards0
82.4Passing Success80.3
24Tackles15
75Tackles Success73.3
53.1Possession46.9
54.4Territorial Advantage45.6
450Total Passes412
31Total Crosses10
153Lost Balls153
59Recoveries66
55.51st Half Poss.44.5
48.52nd Half Poss.51.5

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

P

S I've always envisioned him as a Pirlo or a Scholes, though he needs some of Andy Murray's conditioning and shiny, ankle supports to keep his own from buckling under the tackles that will (inevitably) come his way. He's got the physique and low centre of gravity to flourish, but needs to make himself more resilient.

rab
Time For Another Wenger U-Turn On Wilshere?

A

s a United fan I fell I can say this without accusation of bias, Sergio Aguero is for me the only player close to Ronaldo or Messi, what goes against him is his injury record, Hazard is good in fits but doesn't give enough end product in my eyes, Tevez would be 4th for me

shea666
Suarez (Not Hazard) Is The World's Third Best

Q

uite funny because it's true. Remember when rodgers and stevie me came this close to winning the league though?

sarcasticgooner
Wenger: Arsenal Came *This* Close

Footer 365

Dave Whelan in anti-Semitism row after comments made in defence of Wigan boss Malky Mackay

Wigan owner Dave Whelan has been accused of anti-Semitism after defending the decision to appoint Malky Mackay.

World Cup: Michael Garcia's report to be examined by FIFA Audit and Compliance Committee

Michael Garcia's report into the World Cup bidding process will be examined by FIFA's Compliance Committee chairman.

Whelan: Mackay Caused No Offence

Wigan owner Dave Whelan believes that new manager Malky Mackay caused no offence with the content of text messages.

Mail Box

Why Wilshere Can't Play DM For Arsenal...

We have a long mail on where Jack Wilshere fits in for England and Arsenal. Plus, thoughts on Liverpool's poor form, Dave Whelan, and the historical county of Lancashire...

Where Have All The Defenders Gone?

Somebody has done their research and concluded that the top teams in the Premier League concede more goals than ever before. It's interesting; it's the mails...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property