Olympiacos Vs. Arsenal, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Victory For Athens Side Not Enough

Olympiacos beat an Arsenal backup side 3-1, but failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League after Marseille’s incredible comeback against Borussia Dortmund. Therefore, Olympiacos will go to the Europa League.

Arsenal started brightly, with Andrey Arshavin creating a chance for Marouane Chamakh, but were unable to take their chances before Olympiacos scored. Johan Djoruou and Sebastien Squillaci got in each other’s way, allowing the latter to whack a clearance off of Djoruou to put in Rafik Djebbour, who swept past an advancing Lukasz Fabianski. Fabianski had to come off after a collision with Thomas Vermaelen, and was replaced by Vito Mannone, who made a quite laughable error for Olympiacos’ second. His headed clearance dropped to David Fuster, who attempted a volley from 35 yards out. It should’ve been easy to deal with, but Mannone, back tracking into his penalty area, tried to volley it clear with his left foot, but fell over as the ball trickled into the empty net.

Arsenal got a goal back when Yossi Benayoun struck a beautiful volley from Chamakh’s knock down, but Olympiacos sealed the points a minute from time when Francois Modesto tapped in Olof Mellberg’s shot that had rebounded off the post. News of Marseille’s winner, however, cut short Olympiacos celebrations.

For Arsenal, the loss was compounded by an ankle injury suffered by Andre Santos, who is now a major doubt to play against Everton and Manchester City. Santos, quite frankly, shouldn’t have been playing, and it was a bad decision by Arsene Wenger to start him. Arsenal, though, won’t be troubled too much by the performance, as it was valuable experience for youngsters like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Francis Coquelin.

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