Football

Arsenal lost in Olympiakos in 2011 – but their squad was truly awful

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Arsenal face an epic task to avoid following Manchester United into the Europa League tonight, needing to beat Greek champions Olympiakos by a scoreline of 3-2 or better.

The challenge is made even tougher by their dire record at the Karaiskakis Stadium. In the three games they have played there, they have lost them all. Coincidentally, all of those defeats came on Matchday 6. Needless to say, it is not a good omen.

But the stats are lying to all of us. The Gunners had already sealed qualification to the knockout rounds in their previous visits to Piraeus – 2009, 2011 and 2012 – and Arsene Wenger took the opportunity to rest his best players.

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As a result, Arsenal fans are now laughing at just how bad their starting XI was in the 2011 version of this fixture. It is truly terrible. And I mean absolutely God awful. It is no surprise they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat.

The starting XI sports some of worst player ever to play for the club in the Wenger era, including Sebastien Squillaci, Andre Santos and Marouane Chamakh. Out of the starting XI, only two players remain at the Emirates. On the bench, Tomas Rosicky is the soul survivor.

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What happened that day?

Arsenal had already secured top spot in Group F so Wenger made nine changes to his squad. The back four, consisting of Johan Djourou at right-back, Squillaci and Thomas Vermaelen in the centre, and Santos at left-back, were ruthlessly exposed by Rafik Djebbour and David Fuster, who gave Olympiakos a 2-0 lead going into half-time.

Worse yet, Lukasz Fabianski was stretchered off, to be replaced by Vito Mannone while Santos was forced off with injury early in the second half. His replacement: Ignasi Miquel.

Yossi Benayoun – on loan from Chelsea – pulled one back for Arsenal, but Francois Modesto would seal the three points and the Europa League spot.

Top 5: Where are they now?

Andre Santos

The Brazilian went back to his native country, enjoying short spells at Gremio and Flamengo, but failed to impress at either club. He is now seeing out his career quietly in India with FC Goa.

Sebastien Squillaci

Squillaci left Arsenal in 2013 on a free transfer and quickly found a new home in Ligue 1 with Bastia. He is still playing for their first-team at the ripe old age of 35 and recently made headlines after branding Zlatan Ibrahimovic a 's***' player.

Johan Djourou

The Swiss defender spent time on loan with Hannover and Hamburg before eventually joining the latter on a permanent basis in 2013. He remains a first-team regular at the Volksparkstadion and with the Swiss national side.

Andrey Arshavin

Once Arsenal's club-record signing, the diminutive Russian never got going for the Gunners and was sent back to Zenit St Petersburg on loan in 2012, never to return. He joined Russian Premier League side Kuban Krasnodar in the summer.

Oguzhan Ozyakup

The Turkish midfielder did not make it onto the pitch that night, but we've chosen him because he is probably the only man flourishing away from north London. He was sold to Besiktas for a nominal fee in 2013 and has now become one of their best players. Now a fully fledged Turkish international, expect him to make a big impression at Euro 2016 next summer.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Premier League
Football
UEFA Champions League
Theo Walcott

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