Arsène Wenger's assertion that Arsenal FC were a bit late leaving the station this season is just as appropriate for Wednesday's Group F opponents Olympiacos FC, who had to wait until matchday one to start their campaign after their first two domestic opponents were relegated. They looked off the pace in a 1-0 defeat by Olympique de Marseille, and coach Ernesto Valverde concedes his side will be hard pushed to launch their challenge in London.
Manager Arsène Wenger
We know we are a train that left
a bit late, so we cannot afford any more to drop our consistency. Any victory will help us. I've always been optimistic because I feel the players are mentally strong and focused. I'm impressed by the quality of all the players we brought in, not only on the football pitch, but also their mental attitude is absolutely fantastic. That's what's at stake for us – to show that we can deliver week in, week out.
We have a lot of respect for Olympiacos. I've seen the game against Marseille; they played well. In the Champions League, you never win easy. You have a chance to win when you give absolutely everything. We [have spent] 14 consecutive years in the Champions League; if we have not learnt that, then we are really stupid. If you do not prepare properly, you have no chance.
Saturday: Arsenal 3-0 Bolton Wanderers FC (Van Persie 46 71, Song 89)
Szczęsny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta (Rosický 82), Song, Ramsey; Gervinho (Arshavin 78), Van Persie (Chamakh 86), Walcott
• Robin van Persie scored his 99th and 100th goals for Arsenal.
Gervinho (muscle injury), Laurent Koscielny (ankle) and Theo Walcott (knee) are all out after picking up injuries against Bolton. Johan Djourou (hamstring) and Yossi Benayoun (thigh) both missed that game, but Tomáš Rosický returned from a knee injury. Jack Wilshere will be out for four months after undergoing ankle surgery; Abou Diaby (ankle) and Sébastien Squillaci (calf) are yet to feature this season.
Coach Ernesto Valverde
It's going to be very difficult for us. The pace of Champions League matches is very different to the Greek game – very quick, very swift. Arsenal have a lot of quality players with a great deal of experience, but we have to focus on our game and try our best.
We are far better prepared than on matchday one [Olympiacos's first game of the season], but that does not mean it will be easy for us: we are up against the toughest of opponents.
We know we are underdogs, but why not come here and try to give a good account of ourselves to try and get a result?
Football is sometimes simpler than people think. The team that wins is invariably the team that imposes its own style on the match; the one that has to adapt its style often loses. So we will try to play our natural game and see what we can do.
Saturday: Ergotelis FC 2-3 Olympiacos FC (Romano 55 85; Mirallas 4, Fuster 42pen, Marcano 76)
Costanzo; Torossidis, Papadopoulos, Marcano, Holebas; Modesto, Orbaiz; Abdoun (Ibagaza 62), Fuster (Javito 73), Mirallas (Mellberg 88); Djebbour
• Olympiacos's first five league goals this term have each been scored by a different player: Marko Pantelić, Rafik Djebbour, Kevin Mirallas, David Fuster and Iván Marcano – his first for the club. It was only their second match as the first two were cancelled.
Fuster (thigh), Ljubomir Fejsa (groin), Giannis Potouridis (groin) and Ariel Ibagaza (right foot) are available after shaking off knocks. Giannis Fetfatzidis (abdominal problem), Giannis Maniatis (groin) and Francisco Yeste (rib/lack of fitness) have been ruled out.
Olympiacos have lost all nine away games against English sides, conceding 29 times and scoring just once. That sole goal came at Anfield in a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool FC on matchday six of the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League.
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