Arsenal show gutsy side to beat stubborn Olympiacos
Arsenal survived a scare and managed to see off Olympiacos in a tricky affair at the Emirates stadium through goals from Gervinho, Podolski and Ramsey.
The Gunners looked to have stolen the lead through a Gervinho strike on the stroke of half-time but the visitors responded swiftly with an equalizer right before the teams went back into the dressing room. But Podolski was at hand to restore Arsenal’s lead early in the second half and after repelling a late fight-back from Olympiacos, substitute Aaron Ramsey scored with the final kick of the game to add some gloss to the result.
The hosts were sloppy for much of the first half, both with their passing and in defence, but Santi Cazorla did force a smart save out of Olympiakos keeper Balazs Megyeri on 13 minutes.
Olympiakos were a constant threat and the Greeks should have taken the lead 10 minutes before half-time when Paulo Machado steered his attempt over from six yards out after ghosting unmarked into the box.
The visitors were punished just seven minutes later when Arsenal worked the ball down the left and then inside before Gervinho fired home from the edge of the box.
However, Olympiakos were deservedly level when the half ticked into added time as Kostas Mitroglou deftly guided Leandro Greco’s cross inside the far post.
Cazorla came close to restoring Arsenal’s lead five minutes into the second half, but the home fans did not have to wait much longer to celebrate a second goal.
Gervinho was fortunate the ball bounced back to him after his attempted cross was blocked and he teed up Podolski to control and drill a low shot through the legs of Megyeri.
Substitute Olivier Giroud almost scored his first Champions League goal for Arsenal before Ramsey made the game safe in injury-time with a delightful dinked finish.