ARSENAL 3 vs OLYMPIAKOS 1
ARSENAL assistant manager Steve Bould last night demanded his side remain focused on qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League after they laboured to a victory over Olympiakos that took them to the top of Group B.
After Kostas Mitroglou’s powerful header had cancelled out Gervinho’s neat goal on the stroke of half-time, Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey both scored with equally, yet varying, classy finishes to seal Arsenal’s second Champions League win from two and leave them in a powerful position to proceed further into Europe’s elite competition.
“It was tough,” said Bould, who has been given much of the credit for the improvement in Arsenal’s back four since the season’s start.
“They made it really tough for us and defended really well. The result from the weekend drained us a little, we lost a little bit of confidence, but overall it is a fantastic result.
“We’ll have a look and try to correct [some things]. Overall they did not have a lot of chances but they played well.
“The other game [in the group] was a draw but it’s early days, we’ve still got an awful lot of work to do.”
The almost-effortless style displayed in both Arsenal’s movement and execution for much of this season was last night largely absent as Olympiakos frustrated them in possession. For every instant in which a move provided true promise, there was a misread or intercepted pass that undermined their progress.
It took Arsenal until three minutes before half-time for Gervinho to shoot them ahead from the edge of the box but even then Olympiakos had time to equalise before the break through Mitroglou’s header.
A little over 10 minutes after the resumption of play, Podolski turned and powerfully finished from inside the area to again give Arsenal the lead and then in the closing stages, Ramsey calmly, masterfully chipped in his side’s outstanding winner.