Kostas cranks up pressure on Wenger as Arsenal limp into Euro last 16

21:51 04 December 2012


Olympiakos' Kostas Mitroglou, right, celebrates with Vassilis Torossidis after scoring the winner against Arsenal. Photo credit: (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

UEFA Champions League: Olympiakos 2 Arsenal 1

Olympiakos' Kostas Mitroglou scores the winner against Arsenal. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis StavrakisOlympiakos' Kostas Mitroglou scores the winner against Arsenal. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Arsenal’s winless run continued as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Olympiacos to miss out on seeding for the knockout stage of the Champions League.

With qualification already secure ahead of the last Group B tie, manager Arsene Wenger had elected to leave several first team regulars behind as 20-year-old defender Jernade Meade made his European debut.

Although Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky fired the English side ahead after 38 minutes, the Greeks fought back through a somewhat controversial effort by Giannis Maniatis and a well-taken strike from substitute Kostas Mitroglou to leave Wenger facing more questions about the direction of his team - who have now not won in the last four games and plummeted down the Premier League table.

It had been a bright start by the visitors, looking to silence the partisan crowd in the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.

Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky, left, celebrates scoring the opener against Olympiakos with Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis StavrakisArsenal's Tomas Rosicky, left, celebrates scoring the opener against Olympiakos with Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Rosicky, fit again following a long injury lay-off, fed a quick pass on to Marouane Chamakh in the penalty area, but the ball got stuck under the Moroccan’s feet before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain drilled a low effort across the face of goal.

Olympiacos threatened down the left through Djamel Abdoun and his cutback to Rafik Djebbour was blocked at the near post by Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen.

On 17 minutes, Arsenal got away on the counter through Oxlade-Chamberlain in the right channel, and his deep cross was headed down by Chamakh.

The ball bounced off a defender into the path of Aaron Ramsey, but the Wales midfielder mistimed his kick with a goal there for the taking.

Olympiakos' Giannis Maniatis, right, levels against Arsenal. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis StavrakisOlympiakos' Giannis Maniatis, right, levels against Arsenal. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

At the other end, Olympiacos captain Vassilis Torossidis saw his powerful downward header hacked off the line.

Abdoun then forced a good save from Wojciech Szczesny as the hosts pressed again, spurred on by the vocal home support.

It was Arsenal, though, who took the lead on 38 minutes.

The ball was worked to Gervinho out on the right, and for once the Ivory Coast forward showed good close control to weave into the penalty area, before cutting a pass back to the penalty spot - where Rosicky arrived on cue to sweep in his first goal since March 2012.

Arsenal's Jernande Meade (left), on his Champions League debut, tackles Olympiakos' Paulo Machado. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis StavrakisArsenal's Jernande Meade (left), on his Champions League debut, tackles Olympiakos' Paulo Machado. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Rosicky was replaced for the start of the second half by Andrey Arshavin, although that could well have been tactical rather than enforced via another injury scare.

The Russian darted away down the left on 54 minutes as Chamakh was released on the near side, but the Moroccan’s floated ball across the penalty area was just too high and Arshavin’s header went over.

Olympiacos pressed for an equaliser as the hour passed, with Ljubomir Fejsa stabbing his angled effort into the side netting.

At the other end, Gervinho and Chamakh worked the ball out to Arshavin on the overlap down the right and the Russian’s snapshot was beaten away by Roy Carroll at his near post.

Arsenal's Gervinho challenges Olympiakos' Kostas Manolas. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis StavrakisArsenal's Gervinho challenges Olympiakos' Kostas Manolas. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Szczesny was fuming after Spanish referee Alberto Mallenco ruled he had touched a header from Paulo Machado behind for a corner, when the ball looked to have bounced wide off the bottom of the woodwork.

The Arsenal keeper was incandescent with rage moments later when the ball was only half-cleared and Abdoun lofted it back into the penalty area, where Giannis Maniatis bundled his shot in on off the far post, to equalise on 64 minutes.

The Poland international remonstrated with the referee, and was shown a yellow card as Wenger bent the ear of the fourth official on the touchline.

It should have been 2-1 to the Greeks soon after, but somehow Djebbour guided his header wide after Machado had whipped the ball across the six-yard box from the right wing.

Olympiacos were ahead on 73 minutes, when substitute Mitroglou turned on the edge of the penalty area before curling a fine effort past Szczesny into the bottom corner.

Arsenal mounted a fightback in the last 10 minutes, with Oxlade-Chamberlain driving into the penalty area and cutting the ball back across the face of goal.

Meade was replaced by 18-year-old Swiss defender Martin Angha for the closing stages, but the Gunners were unable to conjure a late equaliser and so will head into the draw for the last 16 without the safety of a top seeding.

Olympiakos: Carroll, Diakite, Manolas, Contreras, Torosidis, Paulo Machado, Maniatis, Fejsa (Fuster, 60), Greco, Djebbour (Ibagaza, 82), Abdoun (Mitroglou, 72).

Unused subs: Megyeri, Pantelic, Fetfatzidis, Siovas

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Squillaci, Vermaelen, Meade (Angha, 83), Coquelin, Rosicky (Arshavin, 46), Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Gervinho.

Unused subs: Shea, Ansah, Hajrovic, Monteiro, Akpom.

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain)

Related articles


Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Brondesbury spinner Anthony Wilkinson took four wickets. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Brondesbury extended their winning run to five games in all competitions after another successful weekend.

South Hampstead captain Leroy Shepherd (left) congratulates Touqeer Ahmad after his fourth wicket. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Touqeer Ahmad bowled a five-for and then hit an unbeaten 36 off 15 balls as South Hampstead triumphed for the second week in a row in a rain-affected Division Three match.

Yesterday, 15:06
North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll (left) has praised Rob Fahrenheim (right), who hit 96 against Teddington on Saturday. Pic: Max Flego

New signing Rob Fahrenheim led a much-improved batting display from North Middlesex – but the Crouch End outfit suffered their second successive defeat in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Yesterday, 07:10
Middlesex's James Franklin bowling.

Middlesex all-rounder James Franklin fears the new County Championship toss rule is stifling the competition and generating “attritional cricket”.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Dominique Janssen went close with a last minute free-kick in Arsenal Ladies' 0-0 draw with Birmingham. Pic: Sylvester George

Dominique Janssen hopes Arsenal Ladies’ Wembley triumph will give them the self-belief to challenge Chelsea for the Women’s Super League title.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Middlesex's Ollie Rayner (right) celebrates a wicket with team-mate John Simpson

Middlesex’s bowlers will make former skipper Chris Rogers their top target when he returns to Lord’s with Somerset this weekend, according to Ollie Rayner.

Thursday, May 19, 2016
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (centre) celebrates putting his side ahead against Aston Villa

How do you define a good season? Or more importantly a poor season?

Thursday, May 19, 2016
Great Britain's Jo Pavey won the 2014 European Championships and will be aiming to qualify for her fifth Olympics when she competes in Highgate Harriers' Night of the 10,000m PBs at Parliament Hill on Saturday

Olympic dreams will be realised and dashed on the Parliament Hill athletics track on Saturday night as Britain’s top 10,000m runners battle it out for seats on the plane to Rio.


There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today