Olympiakos 2 Arsenal 1

Arsenal finished in second place in Champions League group B, after losing their final fixture 2-1 against Olympiakos in Athens. Arsene Wenger made seven changes from Saturday’s Premiership loss to Swansea, and the injection of youth seemed to have given the Gunners a lift. Tomas Rosciky gave Arsenal the lead, his first goal since March after 38 minutes, but two second half goals from Giannis Maniatis and Kostas Mitroglou ensured Wenger’s side’s wretched run of four games without a win in all competitions would continue.

Still Arsenal qualify for the last sixteen and will face a group winner with their two legged fixture meaning they play at home first. Wenger accepted that his priority was to win the group, but any game at this stage of the Champions League will always test the best. 20-year-old Jernade Meade was given his first team debut at left back and he acquitted himself well alongside Thomas Vermaelen. The Arsenal captain was alert to early Olympiakos danger, blocking Djamel Abdoun’s cross, while Rosicky was well placed to clear Pablo Contreras’ header off the line.

Going forwards, Marouane Chamakh lost his footing when well placed, and Aaron Ramsey failed to make contact with a cut back cross from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross which was headed back by Chamakh. The Ivory Coast striker was switching wings at will, and it was from the right side which was to give Arsenal the opener. Gervinho skipped past the Greek side’s defence before pulling back to pick out Rosicky who found the target with a precise strike.

Andrey Arshavin replaced Rosicky at the break, and the Russian was soon carving out a couple of decent chances which he couldn’t finish, and that would prove costly after some controversy for the Olympiakos leveller. Paulo Machado’s header hit the post and Wojciech Szczesny pleaded with the officials that he did not touch the ball as it went behind. His pleas were to fall on deaf ears and at cost.

A corner was awarded, and Abdoun’s centre was headed against Sebastian Squillaci, then off Ramsey before falling to Maniatis to grab the leveller after 65 minutes. That completely changed the complexion of the game, and eight minutes later, the home side took the lead. Mitroglou had netted at the Emirates, and having come off the bench, the striker let fly with a powerful strike to beat Szczesny that was to consign the Gunners to second place in the group.