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Rupert Wyman 28th Sep 2009 - 21:58

Olympiacos need a Brazilian miracle at the Emirates

Olympiacos come to London to face Arsenal at the Emirates on match day two of this season's Champions League.  The Greek champions are coached by legendary Brazilian Zico who took over the reins from ex-Newcastle player Temuri Ketsbaia on 17 September.

Since taking over Zico has done a good job but the Greeks simply should not be able to compete with the Gunners if the odds are to be believed. In the match betting Arsenal are hot 1/5 favourites. A shock away win is a 10/1 shot and the draw is priced at 4/1.

I would not be over keen about getting stuck into the 1/5 though considering the injury problems Arsene Wenger has. Of greatest concern is the goalkeeping position with both Manuel Almunia and Lukas Fabianski both still absent.

Third choice stopper Vito Mannone was impressive in keeping a clean sheet in the 1-0 victory against Fulham on Saturday but there are still big question marks in his abilities especially in the all-important Champions League ties.

In addition Arsenal will be without the services of Denilson for two months and Nicklas Bendtner for this match as a result of a car crash on Sunday. The Danish forward may not have the best reputation in the world but Arsene Wenger clearly rates him and who is to doubt the Frenchman when it comes to judging young players.

The Gunners had a horror start on match day one, going 2-0 down against Standard Liege until turning things around and winning 3-2 with a late winner from Eduardo. Another come-from-behind-victory is a 7/1 shot, but Olympiacos don't look to have enough firepower to test Mannone and the back four.

At the same time as Arsenal were struggling to a win in Belgium Olympiacos were defeating the Dutch champions AZ Alkmaar 1-0.

This will be a far stiffer test for the Greek side, especially at the Emirates which is something of a fortress in the Champions League. Arsenal have only ever lost one match at home at the Emirates, the semi-final loss in last year's competition to Man Utd.

And with Olympiacos having faced English opposition eight times in this competition, with just one win to their name, a 1-0 home success versus Liverpool in 2004, then you would struggle to find any reason to want to back the 10/1 about an away win.

They have also conceded at least three goals in all four of their Champions League visits to England, including a 3-0 defeat in London at Stamford Bridge in March 2008. This stat is particularly appealing regards correct score betting. A 3-0 Arsenal win is 6/1, 3-1 is 10/1 and 3-2 is 33/1. Of these a 3-1 win looks good value at the 10/1.

In the total goals market over 2 goals looks well worth a bet at 8/15 as does the Gunners overcoming a one-goal deficit at 8/11 in the handicap betting.

Former Aston Villa and Juventus defender Olof Mellberg will be charged with organising the visitors' defence to try and keep out Arsenal's attackers. Russian star Andrei Arshavin looks the best bet at evens to score on Tuesday night. Captain Cesc Fabregas at 9/4 is probably also without a bit of interest.

At the end of the night though Arsenal should have more than enough firepower against Olympiacos to overcome any worries over Mannone as Arsene Wenger's side look to make it two wins from two as they seek to get one step closer to the next round.



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