Greeks unlikely to threaten Gunners

It's been an eventful start to the season for Greek Double winners Piraeus Olympiakos. Former Newcastle midfielder Temuri Ketsbaia was sacked as manager before their opening Champions League match...

It's been an eventful start to the season for Greek Double winners Piraeus Olympiakos.

Former Newcastle midfielder Temuri Ketsbaia was sacked as manager before their opening Champions League match with AZ Alkmaar.

Brazil legend Zico quickly replaced him and watched from the stands as Vassilis Torosidis's late header earned them a 1-0 win over the Dutch champions.

Ahead of this weekend's fixtures they lie in fifth place in the Greek Super League after two wins and a draw from their opening three games.


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And they have some familiar faces to English football followers.

Former Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg is a key component in their back four alongside Frenchman Didier Domi, formerly of Newcastle and Leeds.

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The most unlikely hero among their fanatical support is ex-Blackburn striker Matt Derbyshire, who sealed a permanent move in the summer after his loan spell culminated in two goals and a man of the match award as his side beat Athens rivals AEK in the Greek Cup final.

Others to watch out for include former Italy Under-21 midfielder Enzo Maresca and Argentina international Luciano Galletti, who was the Greek League's leading scorer last year.

Arsenal have met Greek opposition on three occasions before - and each time it was Olympiakos' other bitter rivals Panathinaikos - with the Gunners losing just once in their six games against them, home and away.

As for Olympiakos, their progress in the Champions League has been modest with their best showing being a quarter final place in the 1998/99 campaign.

Prediction: Greek clubs rarely perform well outside their national borders and Arsenal will be overwhelming favourites to make it two wins out of two in Group H. Expect a comfortable home win. 3-0.

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