Olympiacos vs Arsenal: Preview, Preferred Team & Predicted Score

By on December 6, 2011

Arsenal are in Greece ahead of their final Champions League group game with qualification and top spot already secured. A very nice position to be in but the last thing Arsene Wenger will want is to lose momentum and confidence going in to such an important time of the season, so tonights game is far from ‘pointless’ as some have suggested.

Of course this game represents a good opportunity for Wenger to rest some key players and also give some of the fringe players a chance to impress. Unsurprisingly the likes of Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey have been left behind. In fact only two of the eleven who started against Wigan have made the trip; Vermaelen and Santos.

I’m slightly surprised by the inclusion of Vermaelen. Not only because of his recent injury problems, but because i see him as just as important a player as Van Persie so should be one of the first names to be rested when given the chance. If Thomas picks up an injury tonight, was it really worth it?  Anyway, from the 18-man squad selected, here is the team I’d like to see:

Preferred Team:

Fabianski

Djourou       Miquel     Vermaelen   Santos

Frimpong   Coquelin

Oxlade-Chamberlain    Benayoun    Arshavin

Park

SUBS: Chamakh, Eastmond, Mannone, Ozyakup, Rosicky, Squillaci, Yennaris.

As Vermaelen has travelled it’s almost certain he’ll start, although i would like to see him rested. I’d pick Miquel ahead of Squillaci to give him a chance to impress, and to keep the Frenchman as far away from the first team as possible (although to be fair to him, he had a decent game against City in the Cup). Frimpong, Chamberlain and Coquelin deserve their places in the first team after excellent outings against City and i’d start Park ahead of Chamakh.

This is my team, although i’m sure Arsene will go with Chamack and Squillaci for the game tonight in place of Park and Miquel. He said he’s going with an experienced defence and he’ll give Chamakh a chance to get his confidence back. The only reason i would pick him is to put him in the shop window for a January move.

Predicted Score:

Despite the talent left behind, the Arsenal team will still have enough to cause the Greeks problems. My only worry is we could see a similar problem to what we faced against City….no cutting edge up front. Chamakh and Park have both failed to impress this season and i fear we may struggle to find the back of the net tonight. Chamberlain, Benayoun and Arshavin all pose as goal threats though but Greece is never an easy place to go, so i’m going for a hard earned 1-1 draw.

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