Olympiacos v Arsenal
UEFA Champions League;
Tuesday 6th December;
Arsene Wenger is set to make wholesale changes to the side that walloped Wigan on Saturday.
This means a start for new sensation Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin are set to renew their partnership in the midfield from the Carling Cup defeat to Manchester City.
Midfielders Oguzhan Ozyakup and Craig Eastmond are in the squad, while defenders Ignasi Miquel and Nico Yennaris are expected to start.
Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky is set to return after a thigh problem kept him out the last couple of fixtures.
Senior squad members Yossi Benayoun, Johan Djourou, Thomas Vermaelen, Andrey Arshavin and Andre Santos are included.
Park Ju-Young and Marouane Chamakh are both likely to get another chance to prove one of them can be an effective understudy to club captain Robin van Persie.
Olympiakos boss Ernesto Valverde will be without midfielders Ariel Ibagazaand David Fuster with thigh and groin injuries respectively.
Knee injuries have ruled out Jean Makoun and Ljubomir Fejsa, while Francisco Yeste has a calf problem and is doubtful.
Wenger: ‘Catastrophe’ if other English clubs go out
Arsene Wenger has said it would be a ‘catastrophe’ if the other English teams failed to qualify for the Champions League group stage.
The Gunners are currently the only side to have secured their progression with a game to spare, as well as guaranteeing a first place finish in Group F.
Both Manchester United and Chelsea will qualify if they win their final fixture, but Manchester City could go out despite victory.
“Having only one team left in the Champions League would be a catastrophic scenario for England,” said Wenger
“It would harm our places in Europe for the future. But hopefully that will not happen.”
The Emirates Stadium chief was referring the UEFA coefficients, which decide the number of European places a country should be allocated.
This is decided by the performances of the teams from each association and a failure by many of them would seriously affect a country’s coefficient.
Wenger also predicted that either Barcelona or Real Madrid arte the most likely to triumph on this year’s Champions League.
The Frenchman has not given up hope of his side pulling off a shock, but conceded that the Spanish giants were ‘super-favourites’.
“At the moment I would say in Europe there are two super favourites – Barcelona and Real Madrid,” said the Gunners boss.
“Behind them, everyone else can hope to win it and we will try to win.
“At the moment we are not one of the favourites but one advantage we have is that we have finished top of our group.”
Wenger also thinks the knockout stages will make shocks more possible and any team can succeed, given a slice of fortune.
“From now it becomes a cup competition. The Champions League becomes different when you go in the last 16, it is more open,” he added
“You need a bit of luck in the draw and you need to have your players available in the two games.”
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms