The Independent London Newspaper
23rd April 2019

Arsenal ready to face big guns

    Arsenal FC

    Gunners prepare to meet European giants despite losing their unbeaten record

    Champions League
    Olympiakos 1, Arsenal 0

    THE Gunners could be handed a tough draw in the knockout stages of the Champions League despite topping their group.
    A youthful Arsenal side surrendered their unbeaten run in Group H last night (Wednesday) when they suffered a narrow defeat against Greek champions Olympiakos.
    A Leonardo strike was all that separated the two sides at the sound of the final whistle, but despite the result Arsenal still finished three points clear at the top of their table.
    They could now face German side Bayern Munich, or Italian giants Milan or Inter Milan when the draw for the last 16 is made next Friday.
    The Gunners enjoyed much of the possession against Olympiakos but Carlos Vela was guilty of wasting two excellent chances. The hosts livened up in the second half and Leonardo burst through the defence to slot home what proved to be the winner.
    Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski then denied Leonardo and Kostas Mitroglou, while Aaron Ramsey had a shot cleared off the line.
    With Arsenal’s top spot assured going into the game, boss Arsene Wenger could afford to rest many of his stars, handing debuts to 18-year-old Tom Cruise and reserve-team captain Kyle Bartley. Fit-again striker Theo Walcott also made the starting line-up.
    The Gunners, who fielded the youngest team seen in the Champions League this season, remained determined to avoid defeat in Greece and only Leonardo’s leg stopped Ramsey from scoring a deserved equaliser in the final minutes.
    STEVE BARNETT

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