In Review

Arsenal keep Euro hopes alive - can they beat Olympiakos?

Ozil and Sanchez fell Zagreb to give the Gunners a chance of making the last 16 of the competition

Arsenal 3 Dinamo Zagreb 0.

Two goals from Alexis Sanchez and a man-of-the-match performance from Mesut Ozil eased Arsenal to a comfortable win over their Croatian visitors to keep their European hopes alive and set up a showdown with Olympiakos for Champions League survival in a fortnight.

The ease of the Gunners' victory only emphasised the absurdity of their defeat to Zagreb when they two sides met on match day one in September.

That 2-1 defeat in Zagreb meant the Gunners have been playing catch-up football ever since, and the subsequent 3-2 home defeat to Olympiakos could still be the result that stops them qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League for the 16th consecutive season.

The Greek side were crushed 4-0 by Bayern Munich on Tuesday night in the other Group F game, which means that Arsenal travel to Olympiakos on 9 December with a clear understanding of what is required. The match is now essentially the second leg of a knockout tie and the Gunners must overturn their defeat at the Emirates, which means victory by two goals or by a margin of one if they score three goals.

"It gives us a chance but how big the chance is I don't know," said Arsene Wenger, whose side are on six points, three behind the Greeks. "We just need to win. It might not be enough, but what I mean is if we go ahead 1-0 then they will be in a situation where they could lose it and we will be a situation in the game which we can win it, so we have to go there to win the game. If you can win 1-0, you can win 2-0. It is a must-win for us and the task is very clear."

Asked if he was confident, Wenger replied: "I believe we can do it."

Arsenal have the capability to win in Greece but do they have the consistency? They've blown hot and cold all season - not helped by their injury crisis - but against Zagreb it was hot Arsenal. Ozil, who was energetic and imaginative throughout on a cold November night, bravely headed the Gunners ahead on 29 minutes, and four minutes later Sanchez stroked home Nacho Monreal's cross from close range.

The Chilean added his second midway through the second half as Arsenal won back to back Champions League matches at the Emirates for the first time since 2012. "It was a good night and Bayern did a good job too," said Wenger. "We played at a good pace, produced a game of quality that we wanted. I believe the speed of our movement and passing gave Zagreb a problem."

The Croats' coach, Zoran Mamic, whose side have failed to win any of their past 12 away matches in the Champions League, believes Arsenal have what it takes to progress to the last 16. "Today Arsenal were the much better team, they were much better than when we played in Zagreb," he told reporters. "I'm sure they can go through. They have a big chance. They have a lot of quality, much more than Olympiakos. In my opinion they will go through."

Recommended

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s two superstars compare
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s two superstars compare

A World Cup every two years - for football and rugby union?
Football’s Fifa World Cup and rugby union’s Webb Ellis Cup trophies
Pros and cons

A World Cup every two years - for football and rugby union?

The Ronaldo effect: what big players mean for the finances of major football clubs
Pin badges showing face of Cristiano Ronaldo
Expert’s view

The Ronaldo effect: what big players mean for the finances of major football clubs

Cristiano Ronaldo’s second coming
Ronaldo
In Brief

Cristiano Ronaldo’s second coming

Popular articles

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying
The feet of a person sleeping in a bed
Tall Tales

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021
Wildfire in Greece
In pictures

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives
Kenneth Feinberg at a Congressional hearing
Profile

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives

The Week Footer Banner