Fifteen straight years Arsenal have been in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. That outstanding record is under serious threat when they travel to Athens to play Olympiakos in a vital Group F encounter on Wednesday.
After losing their first two matches in this season's Champions League and with it putting themselves in a major hole, Arsene Wenger's men now need a comprehensive victory over Olympiakos if they are to extend that brilliant knockout stages run to 16 years – the last time they failed to qualify for the knockout rounds was in the 1999/2000 season.
Arsenal basically need to better or equal the 3-2 result that Olympiakos picked up in the reverse fixture in order to go through at the expense of the Greek side with a better head to head record.
That means a 2-0 victory will put them through, as will a 3-1 win, with a 3-2 result also enough considering the English Premier League side have scored more goals than Olympiakos. A 1-0 or a 2-1 win, though, will see them consigned to the Europa League, like their fellow Premier League rivals Manchester United.
"We have to put every scenario in our head, but it is also important we focus on the performance," Arsene Wenger said. "The results come if we play well so let's focus on that. When the goal comes I don't know, but if we play well we have a chance to score.
"Mentally, you prepare yourself to adapt to every situation and give the right response to every situation you face. We will have to adapt to what is happening on the pitch and to all of the scenarios, accept them and respond."
In recent times, when Arsenal have had a tall order in the Champions League – most often in the second leg of the last 16 – Wenger's side have fallen marginally short, managing to pick up a victory, but yet only end up with one of those glorious exits.
"Ideally, you would like to not have to be patient but we might need to be," Wenger added. "What is important is that basically the same for every game in Champions League you attack well and defend well, that is the best way, go into the game with a desire to win it and knowing you need to do both sides of the game well.
"Of course, we have a history where we have positive results. We know we can do it so the best way to do it is with a top-quality performance and that is what we want to focus on."
Arsenal were pretty shambolic in the match at the Emirates earlier this season, defending like a Sunday League team and gifting most of those goals to the Greek side. That doesn't mean that Olympiakos did not deserve the victory, but Wenger will also know, if his team play to their full potential, then that desired scoreline will probably come.
Team news: Olympiakos: Midfielder Andreas Bouchalakis is ruled out for the home team, while defenders Manuel Da Costa and Giannis Maniatis are doubts.
Arsenal: Seven players are missing for the Premier League team, with Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Francis Coquelin, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez on the treatment table.
Expected lineups: Olympiakos: Roberto; Elabdellaoui, Botia, Siovas, Masuaku; Milivojevic, Kasami; Seba, Fortounis, Pardo; Ideye.
Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Flamini, Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Campbell; Giroud.
Where to Watch Live
Get the goals and highlights of Olympiakos vs Arsenal HERE
Arsenal vs Olympiakos is scheduled for a 9.45 pm local time (1.15 am IST, 7.45 pm GMT, 8.45 pm CET, 2.45 pm ET) start.
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