Arsene Wenger wary of Olympiacos threat as Arsenal aim to advance

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Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal can take advantage of a fear of failure from Olympiacos on Wednesday night.

The Greek champions are favourites to advance through to the knockout stages of the Champions League as they host the Gunners in a Group F showdown - with Wenger backing his side to be a danger in the latter rounds if they come through this stern test.

Having won 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium back in September, Olympiacos can afford to lose to Wenger's side and still progress.

Arsenal meanwhile need to win by a two-goal margin or better that result from earlier in the group to get through, but Wenger feels they can get Olympiacos panicked if they play at their best.

"We play against a side that will be motivated but we face that every week," he said.

"Against a side that is at the moment qualified but they can lose what they have and that can create a fear factor, the best way for us to achieve it is to believe in our quality.

"Mentally, you prepare yourself to adapt to every situation and give the right response to every situation you face.

"We will have to adapt to what is happening on the pitch and to all of the scenarios, accept them and respond."

Arsenal have lost on their three previous visits to the Karaiskakis Stadium but all have come as dead-rubbers at the end of group stages where Wenger's side have long-since secured qualification.

This time around the scenario could not be more contrasting but the Frenchman has backed his team to show their quality and then rattle some cages when the knockout rounds begin in February.

"Before when we came here we had already qualified, that is not the case tomorrow night," he said.

"We just want to give absolutely everything to qualify tomorrow, if you want to jump over a hurdle you don't think what happens if you miss.

"If you fall down then you respond, if you want to have a chance to get across you have to give absolutely everything to get over it.

"Of course we can be dangerous if we go through because we come from far back.

"Overall if you look at the numbers since the start of the group stage, we have played with 10 men in Zagreb, we scored an own goal at home to Olympiacos, every single game we were a bit unlucky but if we get through we will be dangerous that is for sure.

"At the moment we have two or three super-favourites (to win the competition) and whoever gets through will have to chase them."

Both Arsenal and Wenger are defending an impressive record which has seen them get out of the group stages for the last 15 seasons.

That statistic does not tell the whole story, however, as they have then failed to progress beyond the round of 32 for the past five years.

Last season they were knocked out at that stage by Monaco despite winning 2-0 in the principality.

A 3-1 home loss in the first leg meant the damage was too severe to recover from but now Wenger is looking to use such recent tribulations to make sure Arsenal do not slip up in Piraeus.

"From Monaco especially we can learn from what happened to us," he added.

"Overall the game we played in Monaco was very positive, maybe we rushed a little bit in the last 10 minutes and that is what we can learn from the game.

"I believe we played quite well with the right patience until the last 10 minutes - until we rushed."

Wenger has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game and is likely to field the same starting XI that secured a 3-1 victory over Sunderland on Saturday.

Theo Walcott is again likely to only make the bench as his comeback from injury continues, while Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey have been backed to continue their partnership in the heart of midfield.

"Midfield is important in games like this," Wenger explained.

"Flamini and Ramsey will have to play an important part in a game of this stature but I'm confident that they can and will."


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