If you want to progress to the Champions League knock-out stages it’s imperative that you win your home games. Whilst the Gunners can be forgiven for taking home a solitary point away from home (though they were only two minutes away from winning the match and taking home all three), Wenger’s boys will not be forgiven if they don’t take maximum points from their match at the Emirates tonight.
They face Olympiakos, the minnows of the group, at 19:45 tonight (live on Sky Sports 2). Whilst they are expected to win, the Gunners are without a fair number of first-team players. Wilshere has obviously been ruled out until the new year, and will be missed in the centre of the park as much as stren defender Thomas Vermaelen will be at the back. Johan Djourou has also been ruled out, which will leave a backline almost certain to feature newboy Per Mertesacker alongside youngster Carl Jenkinson. Arsenal fans could be in for a rocky ride.
Up-front Arsenal will be without Gervinho, whose pace and power has impressed so far this season, as well as Benayoun and Walcott – all three have niggling injuries but hope to be back in time for Sunday’s match against the Old Enemy.
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Olympiakos lost in their last Champions League match, and we can’t see them having enough to trouble Arsenal at home. It might be tricky for Arsenal, but with Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin they should have just enough guile and skill to create chances, whilst the non-stop running from Song and Arteta should give them a solid backbone. You can get an Arsenal win at 1.57 (Paddy Power). If we had to guess the score we’d go for 2-1 to Arsenal. (9.0 at Ladbrokes).
With the backline looking shaky at the best of times, we think it might get difficult for the Gunners if Olympiakos play on the break. That said, we can’t see us losing. With that in mind, it makes sense to have a punt on both teams to score – available at 1.83 from Bet Clic.
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