Champions League: Arsenal, Olympiakos In Crunch Battle


Arsenal won their Group B opener in Montpellier last month, but play host to Olympiakos having lost their last game in the Premier League.

The Gunners lost 2-1 at home to Chelsea at the weekend, and manager Arsene Wenger wants his side to make amends for that result.

“The players are focused and disappointed that we lost the game. They are still down of course, but we have a Champions League game in front of us at home and we want to put things right,” Wenger said at his pre-match press conference.

The Frenchman added: “There were a lot of positives in that game as well, what was not good is easy to correct. I believe the championship is long, but we have to make sure the Champions League is long as well.

“It is about how we respond. I am impressed by the mentality of my team, but the mentality is as well about how you respond to disappointment. I am confident we will, but that is what we want to show tomorrow (today).”

Wenger’s opponent, Coach Leonardo Jardim warned his team to beware of the Gunners, saying “It will be particularly hard – Arsenal at home are very strong – but you can’t give up on a game before you even start it. We will try to enjoy the game and give a good account of ourselves. Arsenal are a particularly difficult team, very technical, and we will try to face them by being very compact. That’s why we try to be very united – all the players together to decrease the chances of our opponents, just like we played against Schalke.

“Like all the other teams participating in the Champions League, Olympiacos want to win every game, but there is some pressure and we do have our backs against the wall. The most important game is the next one – we have problems because we have a number of injuries. But we will make sure that all the players that feature will do their best for the club, and will do their best to win. At Schalke we had several opportunities to win. We have to work out how to win and how to lose.”

Meanwhile, Edin Dzeko has warned Manchester City to underestimate Borussia Dortmund at their peril as they aim to dodge another early exit from the Champions League.

After losing their opening group match away to Real Madrid last month, City are now determined to get off the mark tonight.

But they face another tough test against the champions of Germany, who are aiming to beat City to one of the two automatic qualifying places in the group they share with Real and Ajax.

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And Dzeko, who is in line for a starting spot after scoring the winner at Fulham on Saturday, has warned City against complacency when they meet at the Etihad Stadium.

Dzeko, who spent three seasons at German side Wolfsburg before joining City, said: ‘Dortmund have won the Bundesliga for the last two years and I know from experience that is very hard to do so there is no doubt they are a top team and one we’ll need to be at our best to beat.

‘I remember playing against them on a number of occasions and I think I scored maybe three goals against them in perhaps seven games – I can only remember three, anyway!

‘Dortmund have a made a similar start to us this season in that they have been scoring goals but conceding them as well. Having said that, they beat Monchengladbach 5-0 at the weekend so they are showing signs of coming into form.

‘Like us, it is difficult when you are defending champions because everyone gives 150 per cent against you and want to beat you perhaps more than any other team. It’s something new for us this season, too, so there are definitely similarities between the two clubs.’

Dzeko has impressed this season despite competition from fellow strikers Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.

And the Bosnian insists he has no plans to quit even though his opportunities are limited.

He said: ‘I’ve always wanted to stay at City and fight for my place and my motto has always been “never give up”.

‘I hope the City fans, who have always been fantastic towards me, have seen I can score some important goals for the team and that’s what I want to carry on doing.’

Veteran defender Maicon has warned his team-mates they must make the most of home advantage.

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