Arsenal vs Olympiakos preview: Young squad to travel to Greece

It’s just a very brief post today involving a preview of the final Champions League group stage game against Olympiacos.

As expected, Arsene Wenger has named a youthful squad for the trip to Greece. Players like Fran Merida, Jack Wilshere and Craig Eastmond will help make up a blended squad that will also include first-teamer Alex Song and a host of fringe players like Carlos Vela, Aaron Ramsey and the fit-again Theo Walcott.

With nothing but pride riding on this game the manager has made the right decision to give most of the first team a rest. With the injury situation as it is we need as many of our first-choice players fresh for Liverpool at the weekend and a midweek round trip to Athens is not going to help with that. With Olympiakos still needing a result to guarantee qualification it should be a good test for the younger players as well.

In other news today the manager has been talking up Aaron Ramsey’s qualities, while he also revealed that he wouldn’t be against Jack Wilshere going out on loan for the rest of the season.

Anyway, that’s it for me. I’ll be back with a longer post and a full match review tomorrow.

Have your say on Arsenal v Olympiakos by leaving a comment.



  1. I totally agree with Arsene sending the Young Guns out for this match – which is in every other way a dead duck for us now. This at least gives our kids a bit more of a boost – and maybe make them feel appreciated. It’s Gunner be interesting.
    As for the Liverpool game – 4 goals for Arshavin again? That’ll do nicely. Can’t believe he’s scored 4 and we still didn’t win that game!

  2. I really agree with arsene for sending young guns to greece because:

    1.Will lower the injury crisis.

    2.Will have an inform team and will be ready for the Liverpool match.

    3.Will let the Young Guns play.

    4.Not really an important match.(Arsenal are alredy qualified)

  3. I find this Adriano link intriguing.I do not believe Wenger will sanction the move due to his attitude, however has he now matured, at 27?? Nobody can question his goals versus appearance record, as it is remarkable. As he comes on a free transfer, I believe it is worth a one season punt, just as we did with his compatriot, Baptista. The only risk is attitude and the dressing room, will Arshavin, Cesc RVP and Adriano get along?? Cheers

  4. When speculating on what Wenger may or may not do in the transfer market, before the who, why and where’s, the first thing to do is take a look at his history. On numerous occasions he has resisted calls to get out the cheque book and instead, although not always, let someone already in the squad blossom and fill the position. Fabregas / Vieira, Song / Flamini, Clichy / Cole are the obvious ones. Anelka / Henry would provide an outnumbered but legitimate counter argument. This leads me to think that calls for a new goalkeeper for example are at least 12 months premature.

    If Wenger finally agrees with the majority of Arsenal fans and gives Almunia the elbow then he is likely to give Fabianski at least a few months to copper fasten his place as our No.1. Should that go horribly wrong then maybe he would look to the transfer market in January 2011 to fill the void. He may also decide that by then Wojciech Szczęsny or Vito Mannone are mature enough to warrant an extended run of games between the sticks. That would put any potential purchase a further few months into the distance.

    Buying a centre forward would at the moment seem a priority but again don’t be surprised if this doesn’t happen in January. Considering the boxes that this player would have to tick (Champions League eligibility, Arsenal quality, experienced, big in stature, low wage demands and low, if any, transfer fee) it would be a lot easier to find someone suitable in the summer and rely on Bendtner going injury free for the rest of the season along with Vela and Eduardo getting up to speed with more game time.

    Our other perceived weakness is our over reliance on Gallas and Vermaelen at centre back. God forbid should one of them get a long-term injury then we are relying on Silvestre or Song to step into the breach and neither of those two covered themselves in glory against City last week in the Carling Cup.

    Although you shouldn’t judge or condemn a player on one performance in Silvestre’s case it is a damning verdict built up over a lot longer. Philippe Senderos is of course still on our books but seems to have disappeared from Wengers radar while Johann Djourou will be lucky to see any game time this season and Hazard Nordveit while plying his trade in the Bundesliga is being deployed by Nuremburg as a defensive midfielder.

    While like everyone else I would love to see Wenger splash the cash and shore up our goalkeeping, defence and forward unit it is with more hope than expectancy that we face the next transfer window. A more realistic hope would be that Wenger finds a way of integrating our existing talent into a formation that removes the need to constantly remind ourselves of how much better things would be if Robin van Persie was still out there. The sad fact is that van Persie is never likely to go a full season without an injury lay-off and its probably best that we see such brilliant players as Robin and Rosicky as a bonus when we have them as opposed to a blow to the team when we lose them.

    There is a certain team on Merseyside preparing for our visit next Sunday and I would be confident that had their manager a chance he would trade Arshavin, Vela and Eduardo for Voronin, Lucas and Kyrgiakos. Things might have been better at the Emirates from time to time but they have rarely been worse at Anfield.

    It’s all relevant. Keep the faith.

  5. Today I’ve read, and I can read, that Dennis Bergkamp has claimed Arsene Wenger wants him back at Arsenal. Not in a playing sense as the experienced striker we all want, that would be silly, but to join the coaching set-up.

    What are you waiting for Dennis??!!

    Of course Dennis Bergkamp is currently at Ajax, as the youth team coach. Ajax, like Arsenal, will always have a big place in Bergkamp’s heart and the Ajax fans may love the Dutchman but I doubt that they love him like we Gooners do!

    That’s why I’m calling for THE DON to come back home now. Imagine the impact that bringing the Ice-Man back into the fold would have at the club? Not only would it raise the players but it would raise us Gooners too.

    Over at Le Grove the guys talk about the impact the likes of Arshavin and Vermaelen have made with Arsenal. I totally agree. Of course as players they have an influence on and off the field but imagine the influence of someone like Dennis Bergkamp on this squad. The man has been there, done that and done it some more.

    An Arsenal legend, if these players couldn’t learn from him then who could they possibly learn from?

    A change behind the scenes may do Arsenal some good too. It’s been pretty much the same set-up for a while now and the arrival of someone like Dennis Bergkamp would freshen things up a little.

    Bergkamp has said that he and Arsene Wenger share the same vision, that’s great because we Gooners have become accustomed to a very familiar type of football nowadays. What Bergkamp will bring is different ideas and that will only benefit our boys.

    Ajax churn out player after player of quality who play football the right way. Arsenal do too. The next step up for Bergkamp at this stage of his career would be to join Arsenal sooner rather than later.

    It makes sense. Come home

  6. I am just hoping that the youngsters do well obviously with a win, but even as an Arsenal supporter I think I maybe watching the Dynamo v Barce game on Turkish tv tonight, the Arsenal game isn’t on the telly here anyway, will probably listen to the Arsenal game though.
    With regard Dennis it would be great to have him bck but it wont be yet, lets bring Tony back as well while we are at it.

  7. I believe Senderos will be gone in January. His national team is in the WC and he is not getting any playing time. May be Arsene is saving him from being injured before he sells him. I thought I read that he wanted to leave as soon as possible, or is it just gosip?

  8. gunnerboss im dissapointed with the treatment of senderos,although i never rated him as highly as some i cant understand wot he has done to merit this treatment…he went on loan and came back,hes never complained or asked for a move away to my just seems a pure waste to not even showcase the guy for sale purposes
    11 changes to the team so lets not ask for too much as far as the result goes…its how the young guns express themselves that will be interesting,will be a hot atmosphere no doubt and goodluck to bartley and cruise in particular
    lets be seeing something from theo and vela to stake claims in the first team

  9. Mixed night tonight. Although we lost, some stand out performers in my opinion from Kyle Bartley, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Song the 3 that come to mind. Kerrea Gilbert, Lukasz Fabianski, Theo Walcott and Fran Merida all had good games too but the first 3 were at the top of their game.
    Song continuely stopped their attacks, got in some sticky situation yet used his strength to kepp the ball and looked very confident in possession.
    Ramsey played some fantastic passes (1 world class ball to Ramsey), he pulled the strings in midfield, am happy that he is the future of arsenal.
    Bartley, wouldn’t have known it was his debut. Good height, strong, passionate and very good defender. I can see him filling in for Verm/Gallas in the prem. He was very impressive.
    Walcott lacked sharpness, but his speed and runs were very effective.
    Merida did fairly well, not great deliveries from corners, but a great ball to Vela for a chance.
    Fabianski was fantastic, caught EVERYTHING in the air, denied Leonardo and their lone striker very well.
    Gilbert is very pacy and good defensively, however he must learn the art of attacking full back from Sagna to make it at Arsenal. Vela and Wilshere were both dissappointing, Wilshere never got the creative mind going, the attacks were through Merida and Ramsey. Vela had a couple of chances but he never looked like scoring which is unlike his talent. Only a 1-0 loss away in greece with the youngest side in Champions League history, not a bad result at all. Some impressive performances. Im pleased.

  10. The lost at Greece was not really a bad result at all because:

    1. Arsene sent the youngest side

    2.It was not really an important match

    3.There were no injuries

  11. That’s a very nice piece, Tom O’ Flaherty, thanks for that. One thing I don’t quite agree with though is your assessment of the boxes a new striker ‘would have to tick’.
    Arsene bought Arshavin although he was not eligible to play in the Chumps League for us at the time. Bendy should be back soon so he can do the Champions League shift while the new guy helps us out in the league and FA Cup.
    Big in stature, yes, surely, but I’m not sure how experienced he’d need to be – as long as he’s shown he knows where the goal is.
    Low wage demands? I believe the Gunners are very well paid. The bloody wage bill’s high enough.
    And low price? Well – we’ve got plenty of cash after the Toure and Adebeyor sales etc. – about 40 mill isn’t it? Of course Arsene wouldn’t spend all that but there’s no reason he shouldn’t push the boat out a bit to get someone he really wants. I’m sure people on this board can think of a lot of people Arsene should go for – I don’t follow international football enough for that – but I liked the look of Carlton Cole when he played us. Imagine his power linked to the rest of Arsenal’s creativity.

    Well done to the baby Gunners last night.

  12. did u here wenger sed he would cosider sol campbell if 1 of his centre halfs became injured or left?
    Senderos ? he has expressed he wants to leave to find 1st team action so maybe sol will be wearing the no.6 jersey again the rest of this term or next??

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