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Gervinho gunning for Greek triumph

Arsenal's Gervinho. Photo credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Arsenal's Gervinho. Photo credit: Nigel French/EMPICS

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
1:39 PM

Gervinho does not believe the absence of some senior players for tonight’s final Champions League group game will affect Arsenal’s chances of victory against Olympiakos.

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The Gunners have already qualified for the knockout stages and they have the chance to top Group B, but that outcome is not in their hands as they need to win in Athens while leaders Schalke must lose to Montpellier for that to happen.

Manager Arsene Wenger has left several first team regulars in England including Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere and instead will flood the bench with youngsters.

Forward Zak Ansah, 18, Swiss defenders Sead Hajrovic and Elton Monteiro, both 18, as well as 17-year-old English striker Chuba Akpom will be in the squad but Gervinho insists that, regardless of personnel, the north Londoners will be going all out for victory in Athens.

“It’s a bit different for us because first place of the group is still up for grabs so we do have something to play for, even if we have qualified already,” he told Arsenal’s official website.

“Also, the manager might rotate the team and then it becomes a good opportunity for some players who don’t always play to play well and they will be very motivated.

“Even if we have already qualified, we have to stay focused and humble. For the rest of the competition, it would not be good to finish the group stages with a defeat.

“Anything is possible in football. Montpellier drew in Schalke earlier in the season so they can do it at home.

“I hope Olivier [Giroud] will make a few phone calls to the manager, the president and his former team-mates to make sure they help us.

“More seriously, if Montpellier win and we don’t, it will be pointless anyway. So first of all, we need to do our part of the job.

“We will stay focused on ourselves and beating Olympiakos and then we will have a look at how Montpellier are doing.

“Look at Real Madrid. They are sure to finish second (in Group D). So if you win your group, you could still face them in the last 16.

First, let’s beat Olympiakos and then whoever we face in the last 16, we’ll be focused on going through.”

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