What a night for our young Englishman, at just 18 years old he scored his first ever Champions League goal and became the youngest player ever to do so!
That was possibly the brightest part of this game, other than Santos securing our victory with a second…..
None of us really wanted to Alex Song in defence but with so many injuries, it was inevitable and he started alongside Mertesacker.
Yet again we didn’t start too well, Olympiakos had their first chance within minutes but Fuster fired his shot wide from just ten yards out. We follow this with a break but the ball over the top for Chamberlain is too strong and he has no chance of catching it before the ball goes out for a goal kick.
Seven minutes into the game, Santos and Chamberlain combine well, only for Rosicky to lose the ball just outside the penalty area.
Then the moment of magic, Chamberlain collects the ball on the edge of the penalty area, jinks passed a defender and finds the bottom of the net. I thought it was a fantastic goal from the youngster, cool head, calm finish, 1-0! This seemed to pick us up a bit too after a nervy start.
Straight after, Sagna crosses from down the right but Olympiakos head clear for a corner which came to nothing.
Arshavin then tries to set Rosicky on his way, but the Czech is too slow these days and the away side defend with ease.
Chamberlain, possibly our best player of the night, shows his skills again before finding Arteta, whose cross is deflected out for a corner. The Spaniard fires in the corner, Chamakh meets the cross but wastefully heads wide.
Arteta was then the hero, clearing off the line a Rafik Djebbour chance which looked easier to score than miss. Great defensive work from our number 8, shame the same can’t be said of the defending which led to the chance!
Santos is the next player to fire a ball forward, but yet again it’s with too much pace and goes through to the goal keeper.
Then, on 20 minutes, Santos worked well, his cross failed to find Chamakh but as the ball rebounded back to him, he blasted it into the back of the net. 2-0! That was his first goal in the Champions League too.
2-0 but hardly cruising!
We go on the attack again, Frimpong plays a wonderful ball through to Arshavin but the little Russian was judged offside. Chamakh was then guilty of a shocking miss and the chance to go 3-0 up, having been put through by Arshavin; he dragged a simple chance wide.
Olympiakos then go on the attack but Fuster ruled offside, however, within minutes he finally get’s his chance and takes it well. Gifted of course by shocking defending, not one player picked up Fuster from a corner and he had a free header which he powered passed Szczesny!
That was only half an hour into the game….
Suddenly, from a comfortable lead, we look shaky – same old same old eh, Szczesny makes a good save from Djebbour, the resulting corner calls the Pole into action again. We looked all over the place.
Not a lot really happened up until half time, other than Rosicky picking up a yellow card… Couple of half chances for both sides – Arshavin and Rosicky can’t decide who is going to shoot during one of our chances and their dilly dallying allows the ball to be cleared.
The away side get the second half started and it’s not long before they have another chance on goal from outside the box – Szczesny dives across goal but thankfully the shot goes wide.
Chamberlain has the chance to get his second of the night, having been played in by Chamakh; he’s one on one with their keeper but just fails to lift the ball over him and into the net. The Englishman is involved again when he sends in a cross but neither Arshavin nor Chamakh can get any good connection on it.
Just on the hour mark, a big moment for the ref, who totally bottled it in my opinion! Chamberlain out does Holebas with his pace down the right and the latter hauls him back. Holebas had earlier been booked and this should have seen him off to an early bath but the referee gave nothing, no free kick, no booking, nowt! Shocking decision!
After that, both sides have a few half-hearted attacks but little came of them.
Just after the hour, Torosidis saw a fantastic effort from the right edge of our box, beat Szczesny only to rattle the crossbar!.
Olympiakos thought they might have earned a penalty from a Chamberlain ‘handball’ in the box.
Shortly after, Chamberlain is replaced by Ramsey. Great display from the 18-year-old, he’s going to be very good…
Chamakh, who again looked lost last night was finally replaced by Robin van Persie on the 70 minute mark and it wasn’t long before the Dutchman had his first shot on goal but it’s blocked by a defender and cleared away from danger.
In to the final fifteen minutes and Djamel Abdoun and Francois Modesto are brought on for the away side in place of Mirallas and Pablo Orbaiz and shortly after Gibbs replaces Arshavin.
In the final ten minutes, we hung on and it seemed that Song stopped everything. I didn’t want him to start in defence but I’m now sure glad he did. He worked hard, especially in the second half and in my opinion the MOTM award is a close run between him and Chamberlain.
Not a convincing win by any margin, not a convincing display but we can’t forget how many players were missing last night and we can’t forget that getting three points was vital and we did just that.
Sometimes we need to win ugly, that’s just what we did. We were the only English side to win on match day two of the Champions League and all with our manager sat in the stands.
That ban is now served and he’ll be back where he belongs when we face Marseille, the side that sit top of our group.
Have a good day all, next up is the NLD, bring em on….