Late Arshavin strike seals Arsenal win

Arsenal 2 Olympiacos 0

Arsene Wenger continued the quest for the one thing missing from his Arsenal CV as the Gunners maintained their 100% record in Champions League Group H with a 2-0 win over Olympiacos at Emirates Stadium.

The French coach will later this week become the longest-serving manager in the history of Arsenal, whom he openly admits were a "bit crazy" to take the gamble on his appointment some 13 seasons ago.

Time has, of course, since proved that judgement more than sound - but the burning desire to bring more success to Emirates Stadium remains as strong as ever for Wenger and his young side.

The Greek champions, now managed by Brazil legend Zico, had goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis to thank for preventing Arsenal chalking up a big score in a one-sided contest.

However, they were eventually undone with 12 minutes to go when substitute Eduardo set up Robin van Persie before Andrey Arshavin made sure of the win when he netted a cheeky backheel, which had more than a hint of offside.

Arsenal had opened their European campaign away to Standard Liege - where they trailed 2-0 inside five minutes before battling back to a morale-boosting victory.

The Gunners, though, showed no signs of any such repeat tonight as Olympiacos were immediately pushed onto the defensive.

Full-back Gael Clichy, who came through the Arsenal youth ranks under the watchful eye of Wenger, broke down the left and cut the ball across for Arshavin, whose sidefoot shot was gathered by Nikopolidis in a sign of things to come for the Greek keeper.

On 16 minutes, captain Cesc Fabregas rattled the crossbar from 18 yards, with Nikopolidis then producing a fine reaction save to keep out Thomas Rosicky's fierce angled drive.

Olympiacos sat deep and Arshavin tested Nikopolidis again before William Gallas almost connected with Van Persie's corner.

Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone - outstanding in the 1-0 Barclays Premier League win over Fulham on Saturday - finally had something to do after 34 minutes when he comfortably collected a header from Vassilis Torosidis.

Olympiacos skipper Nikopolidis was having a busy night, as he had to touch behind a deep, inswinging free-kick from Fabregas.

Abou Diaby, eight yards out, headed wide following the corner.

Arsenal were almost made to pay for not taking their chances at the start of the second half when former Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg headed a corner down towards the near post - which Mannone parried.

From the quick counter-attack, Van Persie forced Nikopolidis to make another good save, before picking up a yellow card when he clattered into defender Michal Zewlakow chasing the loose ball.

As the hour mark passed, Arsenal maintained their pressure.

Centre-back Thomas Vermaelen - the top scorer so far with four goals - just failed to direct his far-post header on target following Van Persie's deep free-kick.

Wenger made a change with 24 minutes left when he introduced Eduardo - free to play after UEFA's two-match diving ban was overturned on appeal - for Rosicky.

Olympiacos continued to sit back and invite pressure, but all too often Arsenal's final delivery was poor, much to the frustration of the Emirates Stadium faithful.

Arshavin turned quickly to release Van Persie into the left side of the penalty area.

His angled drive was blocked by Nikopolidis but Gallas could not get the rebound out from under his feet, as the keeper once again denied Arsenal, although the assistant's flag was raised anyway.

Nikopolidis was inspired as he saved at full stretch from Diaby, before the midfielder was replaced by Carlos Vela - a move to inject some pace into the attack.

The goal finally came on 78 minutes, when Eduardo darted into the box to collect Fabregas' pass, before cutting the ball back to Van Persie, who this time swept it into the net.

Arshavin made sure of the result when he backheeled in Fabregas' low centre, despite looking suspiciously offside.

While there is still much work to do before this side can genuinely claim to live with those built around Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, Wenger's young Gunners continue to give the wise old manager reason to be positive for the future.

Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star