Five youngsters set for Olympiacos squad as Arsenal take shadow side to Greece

A clutch of players from Terry Burton’s U21 side were involved in first-team training at London Colney this morning ahead of tomorrow’s final Champions League group stage fixture away to Olympiacos.

Arsenal have already qualified for the Last 16 and, although it is not yet certain whether they will finish first or second in their group, manager Arsene Wenger is taking the opportunity to call upon several youngsters for tomorrow’s game, in a similar vein to Arsenal’s last two visits to Greece, which have both ended in defeat.

In addition to Abou Diaby, Laurent Koscielny (both thigh), Bacary Sagna (foot), Andre Santos (muscle strain) and Lukasz Fabianski (ankle), who are all still sidelined, many players who featured in the disappointing defeat to Swansea City at the weekend will be rested. Kieran Gibbs, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Jack Wilshere will all be kept at home, with just thirteen senior players poised to make the trip.

As a consequence, there were some younger faces involved in training today, with Zak Ansah, Elton Monteiro, Jernade Meade, Sead Hajrovic, Chuba Akpom, Martin Angha and James Shea all involved in proceedings. Serge Gnabry, Nico Yennaris and Ignasi Miquel all remain injured, whilst Hector Bellerin, Jon Toral, Kristoffer Olsson, Damian Martinez and Thomas Eisfeld are not eligible for the Champions League.

Of those mentioned, Meade could be in for his first senior start at left-back, whilst Hajrovic, Akpom and Ansah are poised to receive their first call-ups to the squad.

Possible team:






subs: Mannone, Hajrovic, Squillaci, Angha, Rosicky, Akpom, Ansah.



    1. its written in the article mate. He isn’t eligible. Hmmm i would actually start akpom over chamakh. Why not give him the experience rather than chamakh who lets be honest is off soon.

  1. This is Wenger wanting to win the group I don’t think so. He is so predictable and yet again instead of making the players earn their wage he gives them a night off !!

    1. And when the players return more jaded and injured and we still don’t win the group with a Shalke win then what are you going to say then? Remember last season when Arsenal was on a high and qualified already and Andre Santos was brilliant, Gibbs out injured and Wenger decided to play Santos, our only available senior left back, in that game and he got injured. After that the bad run of games began. We could have done way better in the league at that point.

  2. I cant see why he is leaving so many first team players out of the squad, yes we have qualified, but surely we want to finish top of the group? Yes the league is our priority, but we need confidence at the moment and by winning this game it will surely give us confidence.

    1. to be honest if you look at the current standings and who will finish top of their groups, i actually think we will be better off finishing 2nd.

  3. why is wenger not taking this last match serious as if arsenal lose or draw this lat match as runners up in the group then they will face another top team in another group and may get eliminated

  4. Such a shame Eisfeld doesnt make it. I was really hoping to see him play a part in this match. Eisfeld should start getting game time in the league / fa cup / COC.

  5. wenger has a lose-lose situation on this. Try and go all out he will be critcised for exhausting key players ahead of wba. Play the youth and he will be criticized for not winning the group. However i must point out considering the teams coming first and second in other groups there really isn’t much benefit to coming first.

  6. we’re not going to win the champions league this year, so finishing 1st or 2nd in our group doesn’t matter. we’re going to get knocked out so it might as well be sooner rather than later so we can concentrate on the league. not finishing in the champions league places would be a real disaster. build a stable champions league team and try to win it when we have a team capable of winning it. europe is a distraction this year.

  7. All I can think is, with that defensive midfield pairing. Le Coquelin is going to be a busy boy?
    At least Eisfeld will be fresh for the WBA and Bradford games?
    I seem to recall that Angha and Ansah had a good understanding going in the not too distant past? Far better to have Angha pair Coquelin if we want the defence to have any chance of keeping a clean sheet? Indeed, go the whole hog and go 4-4-2, with Ansah up front with Chamakh. That would mean Ramsey and AOC dropping to the bench to shore things up late on. If we don’t attack with purpose it could end up being a 90 minute onslaught?

  8. To me, the priority is West Brom.
    Wenger’s decision to rest the majority of his 1st teamers for this weekend is the correct decision imho.
    Let’s face it, do we really think we’re going to win the Champions League anyway?!

    1. agreed, i reckon we have as much chance of winning it as chelsea did last season!

      lets face it we have a much better chance of winning one of the 3 cups than we do of winning the league. we could actually win the champions league without winning another match in the competition.

      we could lose this match and finish second
      then in the next 3 knockout rounds we could draw 1-1 in the away legs and 0-0 in the home legs, thus reaching the final

      then all we have to do is win on penalties just like chelsea


      1. chelsea won because of cech, terry, cole, lampard, drogba.

        a team mainly in their 30’s with hundreds of games of experience can win the champions league. a team of kids who haven’t played a season together cannot.

  9. Some people really do chat out their backside on here! If Wenger sent out a first team to Greece everyone would be saying they need a rest and shouldn’t be travelling. He is doing the right thing imo, the players selected can’t be any worse than the players who played Saturday

  10. Finnish first or second doesn’t help us a jack shit! Whats the point of facing a “not as good side”, losing players because of injury, them being more frustrated, lose motivation… we get the first place.. and then what? There are A LOT more disadvantage for us in this situation.

    Giving Akpom and a few others who is not playing regularly game time is a lot more of a help for us in the league and in the CL.

  11. I’d leave as many first team players back home as possible.

    Winning the group might not be that beneficial anyway with Real Madrid or Juve in waiting.

    Saturdays game against WBA takes precedent. We must make sure the first team players receive the required amount of time to rest and recover.

  12. What about the NextGen Series game this Thursday. WIll Gnabry miss that game and will Akpom be avaliable for Thursday? Good to see Meade given a start, been good this season for u21 and a Champions League appearance looks good on the CV.

  13. Jeorge, thanks for the update. Do you know if Djourou Gnabry, Miquel and Yennaris are expected to be fit for the Capital One Cup fixture next week?

  14. And my first comment hasn’t appeared. I was asking if Djourou, Eisfeld, Gnabry Miquel and Yennaris are expected to be fit for next week’s COC fixture at Bradford.

  15. There’s no such thing as an ‘easy’ game in the CL, in my view it doesn’t matter where we finish in the group. Either way, I think AW is completely right in resting our games, we’ve looked awfully fatigued recently and our key players desperately need a rest. Besides, we’ve already qualified and it won’t hurt giving players like Gervinho, Chamberlain and Rosicky to regain their form. Not to mention the prospect of Akpom’s first appearance, as well as Meade.

  16. I remember hearing mixed reviews of Monteiro, Angha and Hajrovic over the past season or so. Do you think any of them has what it takes at the top level Jeorge? Would be nice to start producing some more defenders through the ranks.

    1. If I’m being honest then I don’t think any of them will likely make it here. I’d say that Isaac Hayden is probably the most promising defensive-minded player in the ranks at the moment.

      1. I’ve always looked as angha as a center back tbh. I know he’s been deployed at full back. Recently but isn’t central Defense where he started off?

  17. Why do you not think Angha will make it at Arsenal??? He seems to have a lot of natural ability…but maybe he’s too attack-minded??? I’ve seen him play a few times, and he looked pretty composed and had a high technical ceiling…but I’ve also heard that he’s made a number of mistakes…he’s an Arsenal supporter too, so it would have been nice if he could have made it here. Do you think him not making it is down to talent??? Maybe the fact that he changed positions a lot, or the fact that he loses focus at inopportune times, or a combination of all three???

  18. Does anyone else think that what Wenger said, regarding a possible transfer for Frank Lampard, was as priceless as I found it to be???:D “We are in the land of Socrates, therefore I know, that I know nothing.” I’m not saying that Lampard is a bad player, I’m just quoting what Wenger said, and I found it to be rather amusing…:D

  19. no way chamakh is starting. I think the line up will look more like this


  20. i wonder why on earth is vermalean playing ths game,it doesnt make any sense,if he picks an injury,its a blow,useless game,its beter to face dortmund than madrid,why nt play skwilachi and rest verminator,we got miguel as wel?its better if we loose than win,can u imagine facing ronaldo and ozil towards the end of the cup…man!

  21. hayden is a english version of busquets i think he’s a smart player good skills defensive good he got all bellerin for me he can be better than sagna and jenkinson and monteiro looks like a old type of arsenal defender like toure ,lauren

  22. talk sport says that arsenal has lost a bright young talent to barcelona he’s name is Giancarlo Poveda he is a colombian and he’s 12 year old and was playing for arsenal academy when barca got it he’s a winger

  23. Please look at the other tables and you will realise that finishing second in the group will promise a much easier draw!
    Wenger is absolutely right in resting key players. This match is dead rubber. More importantly, there seems to be no REAL advantage in finishing first.
    I’d rather we finish second!!

  24. Those moaning about Wenger resting players for this game will be the very first to moan if Szczesny or Vermaelen get a knock in this game because they weren’t rested. Those sort of fans just want to complain, whatever option Wenger takes will always be the wrong one in their eyes. Their opinion should not matter to anyone as it doesn’t come from a rational place.

  25. Ramsey was shit. Yesterday he got his chance to prove it once again and he failed. Alot of the other player was bad too but ramsey has been playing regularly for the side and he has got soon 2 season behind him. No he never JUST come back.. He has played a while now. Wilshere will take his spot. Very disappointing. Bad performance from the team again. I see no hope other than 5-6 new signings. How we manage to turn our players to shit is obvious… we play them til they can’t and get constant injuries.

  26. Yes, that’s just what Wenger do, he won’t or can’t rotate, never done that, he always burns them out and his squad is always so thin that he could not do that.

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