Wenger backs Arsenal to win in Greece and reach last 16 of Champions League
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
Arsene Wenger is confident that Arsenal can defy history by overcoming Olympiacos in Greece next month to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Gunners have visited Olympiacos three times in the last six seasons, losing on each occasion – but will almost certainly need a two-goal win in Athens to avoid crashing out of the competition.
Arsenal managed to stay in contention for a second-place finish in Group F on Tuesday by beating Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 at Emirates Stadium, while the Greeks lost 4-0 to Bayern Munich.
And Wenger believes his side can complete an impressive turnaround – having lost their first two matches in the competition – to triumph on December 9 and reach the knockout stages.
“What we wanted was to come out of the game with a chance to qualify,” said the Frenchman. “We needed to do the job and Bayern needed to do the job and we both did it well.
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“It gives us a chance – how big the chance is I don’t know but I believe we can do it. Let’s make right what we didn’t do right until now.
“We just need to win. It might not be enough but what I mean is that, if we lead 1-0, they will be in the situation where they can lose it and we will be in the situation where we can win it.
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“If you can win 1-0, you can win 2-0 as well. For us the task has one advantage, it is very clear.
“Sometimes we went to Olympiacos already qualified, this time we go to Olympiacos having to qualify. It’s tough but we have to believe we can do it.”
Wenger’s side – who are now at least assured of European football in the new year – never looked in any danger of failing to pick up the victory they needed against Zagreb.
Mesut Ozil put them in front just before the half-hour mark, heading in a cross from Alexis Sanchez, who then made it 2-0 soon afterwards as he tucked away Nacho Monreal’s pass.
And it was Sanchez who rubber-stamped the Gunners’ win midway through the second half when Joel Campbell played him in to round Zagreb goalkeeper Eduardo and find the net again.
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey returned to action as a substitute following a month on the sidelines and should feature again when the Gunners travel to Norwich City in the Premier League on Sunday.
Wenger confirmed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also be back in the squad at Carrow Road after recovering from a hamstring strain.