Speaking at the pre-match press conference held yesterday evening, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger expressed his opinion that the team needed to keep adapting to the situation on the field if they wanted to win against Olympiacos. The Gunners head into the game needing to win by a two-goal margin to progress, while any other result would see Olympiacos progress instead.
Needless to say, the Greek side is expected to set up defensively and will likely park the bus right from the start of the game. Thus, it will require some extra effort on the part of our players to break through and score the needed goals. The manager revealed that the players had been briefed about the possible scenarios and would adjust accordingly. He said:
We have to put every scenario in our head, it is important we focus on the performance. The results come if we play well so let’s focus on that. When the goal comes I don’t know, but if we play well we have a chance to score.
Mentally, you prepare yourself to adapt to every situation and give the right response to every situation you face. We will have to adapt to what is happening on the pitch and to all of the scenarios, accept them and respond.
Ideally, you would like to not have to be patient but we might need to be. What is important is that basically the same for every game in Champions League you attack well and defend well, that is the best way, go into the game with a desire to win it and knowing you need to do both sides of the game well.
Of course, we have a history where we have positive results. We know we can do it so the best way to do it is with a top-quality performance and that is what we want to focus on.
Patient buildup is the general style of play for Arsenal whenever we dominate possession, which we are likely to do tonight as well. The Greeks might in fact be expecting this and would probably prefer it, given that they would only have to defend in numbers to slow us down. It will take some special magic from the likes of Ozil and Ramsey to ensure that the possession is converted into actual chances, and then our forwards will need to be alert enough to finish.
The return of Walcott is a big boost, since he offers us a very different style of play compared to Giroud. With Walcott, Campbell and the Ox on the front lines, we would be boasting some serious pace and could get off to an explosive start in the game. This might be the best option open to the manager, coupled with bringing on Giroud in the second half to test a tiring defence with some aerial balls.
What do you think? Will Giroud retain his starting spot or is tonight Walcott’s night?