Arsenal battle indifference and injury as Olympiakos visit

Oct 3, 2012

Have Gunners fans started taking Champions League football for granted?

ARSENAL take on Olympiakos in the Champions League tonight with something of an injury crisis hanging over the Emirates.

Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta (above, with team-mate Santi Cazorla) faces a late fitness test on an ankle injury and Arsene Wenger has revealed that Abou Diaby will be out for three weeks with a hamstring problem, confirms the BBC.

With Tomas Rosicky absent with an Achilles problem and Emmanuel Frimpong and Jack Wilshere both still on the comeback trail Wenger has few options in the middle of the park.

It means that out-of-favour players like Andrey Arshavin or youngsters such as Francis Coquelin could get the chance to impress, particularly if Wenger decides that he cannot afford to risk some of his big names ahead of the Premier League trip to West Ham on Saturday.

Such a decision could add to an air of anti-climax at the Emirates, with at least one Arsenal blogger warning that fans now have little enthusiasm for the group stages of the competition.

"It is notable that their first Champions League home tie of the season has provoked such sluggish activity at the club's box office," writes Gingers4Limpar at "The competition remains a big feast, with everyone wanting a place at the top table. As Arsenal fans, we should be grateful to stuff our faces year in, year out, even if games such as Wednesday's are sometimes less than appetising."

One reason for indifferent Arsenal fans to take an interest in the game could be to watch speed merchants like Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in action after American sprinter Michael Johnson, who won golds at three Olympics, made an appearance at Arsenal's London Colney training ground this week.

Some of the club's academy players have visited the Michael Johnson Performance Centre in McKinney, Texas and now he appears to be taking an interest in the first team.

Whether the legendary American was able to do anything for Olivier Giroud and his confidence in front of goal remains to be seen, but the misfiring Frenchman, who has scored only once this season and missed yet another sitter against Chelsea on Saturday could be given another chance up front.

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