Search

Wenger eyes early Xmas present with kind Champions League draw

07:34 05 December 2012

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reacts during the defeat to Olympiakos. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reacts during the defeat to Olympiakos. Photo credit: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Manager Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal might need an early Christmas present of a kind draw for the knockout stages of the Champions League after a 2-1 defeat at Olympiakos which ended their hopes of seeding in the last 16.

With qualification already secure ahead of the last Group B tie, 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 on 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 and plummeted down the Premier League table.

Defeat in the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium for a second successive season coupled with Schalke’s draw in Montpellier means Arsenal will head into the knockout stages without the security of a top seeding.

Wenger, though, is not overly concerned. He said: “We need a good Christmas present now [in the draw], but we will see.

“We can get a bad draw or less strong team, but you normally get strong teams through anyway now.

“The disadvantage is we have is we play the second game away, but that is not statistically proven to be a such a disadvantage.

“Let’s see, but for now it is important for us to focus on the [domestic] championship, forget about the Champions League a little bit and get ourselves back in decent form in the championship.”

Wenger tried to remain upbeat despite the disappointing final outcome in Athens.

“We left eight or nine players at home and we had a positive game,” he said.

“We had a good first half, but we dropped physically in the second half because many players lack competition at that level and therefore we couldn’t take the chances for the second goal.

“We also got a very bad decision against us on the goal. I am not against the fifth referee, but you would like at least for them to be concentrated on their job, but that was not the case tonight, Wojciech Szczesny was far away from the ball.

“Why didn’t the fifth official tell the referee? It’s difficult to understand, to concede a corner when it doesn’t go off the goalkeeper.

“However, I don’t want to make a fuss of it, so we have to take it on the chin and go home and focus on our next game.”

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

14:29
Liam Hughes was Hampstead's best performer with the bat and ball but his efforts were not enough to save his side from defeat. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead suffered another setback in their title defence, losing for the third time in their opening four Premier Division matches after falling 99 runs short in their chase against Teddington.

14:59
Jaron Semper was part of a tail-end resistance that added 51 runs to North Middlesex's total but that effort proved to be in vain. Pic: Max Flego

Overseas recruit Mitch Murray hit his first half-century for North Middlesex and was the top scorer in Saturday’s clash with Richmond - but the Crouch End club slumped to their third successive defeat in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County League.

Friday, May 27, 2016
Middlesex's Dawid Malan

Dawid Malan celebrated his first game as Middlesex’s T20 skipper with a classy knock of 93 as his side hammered Hampshire by 69 runs.

Friday, May 27, 2016
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum hits out against England in 2015

James Franklin has warned that Middlesex cannot expect his former New Zealand team-mate Brendon McCullum to single-handedly transform their fortunes in one-day cricket.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Saracens' Chris Wyles scores his second try in Saturday's Premiership semi-final against Leicester

Saracens are aiming to complete an historic European and domestic double as they gear up for Saturday’s Premiership final at Twickenham.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Middlesex batsman Nick Gubbins

While it may be a cliché, to get a first-class hundred for the first time at Lord’s – the home of cricket – was an absolute dream come true.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Henry Collier bats for Hampstead. Pic: Max Flego

Hampstead captain Steve Clark feels his side have shown what they are capable of after the reigning champions kickstarted their title defence with a comprehensive home win.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Left to right: Camden Swiss Cottage's Ally Dill, Amir Castronovo, Lauren Brantley, Alexis Lambropoulos, Marliese Rittenhouse, Brandon Biss, Ella McEver, Lyelle Kahaner, Alexander Chen and Clementine Butler Brown

A contingent of Camden Swiss Cottage’s youngsters faced their biggest challenge of the season so far at the London Regional Age Group Championships, held over two weekends at Crystal Palace.

PROMOTED CONTENT

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

HOT JOBS

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

Competitions

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

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe