Arsenal 2-1 Olympiakos: Oxlade-Chamberlain Shows Theo The Way

The Ox may not have arrived from Southampton with the same fanfare of Walcott, but this latest wing sensation looks a far more complete footballing package if Arsenal's triumph over Olympiakos is anything to go by.
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The Ox may not have arrived from Southampton with the same fanfare of Walcott, but this latest wing sensation looks a far more complete footballing package if Arsenal's triumph over Olympiakos is anything to go by.

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The Ox may not have arrived from Southampton with the same fanfare of Walcott, but this latest wing sensation looks a far more complete footballing package if Arsenal's triumph over Olympiakos is anything to go by.

If Theo Walcott wasn't quick he would not be an Arsenal player. Oxlade-Chamberlain followed the Saints path to Arsenal but seems to have developed a football brain along the way. Combined with pace and muscle, the youngster started his Champions League debut in dream fashion to give a makeshift and rested Arsenal the lead.

It was my first sighting of The Ox. His physique is immense as every muscle works perfectly to powerfully accelerate at or past the defender. He made football look simple, playing the right pass without thought whilst Theo would still have been trying to get the ball under control.  The performance and promise of Chamberlain proved Theo is not a winger and there's no higher praise for Oxlade-Chamberlain than the hint of a resemblance to the late David Rocastle.

With Arshavin offering protection to full back Santos Arsenal's left hand side has never been chunkier. The Brazilian found the lungs to bely his arse and broke forward to finish neatly to double the lead midway through the first half, after his attempted cross had initially been defended.

The collapse of the Greek economy had no effect on the traveling Olympiakos fans, who were encouraged by their team refusing to crumble like their countries finances. Playing Arsenal encourages hope, even when you are losing and skint.

The Gunners naively switched off at a short corner and the resulting cross found the penalty spot and  David Fuster, was waiting with enough space for an en-suite to header home.

Teams come to the Emirates tepidly remembering the Arsenal that was. The Arsenal that would have ripped Olympiakos to shreds and spat them out before half time. Fairly quickly teams realise that that Arsenal doesn't exist anymore and they might as well have a go.

The performance and promise of Chamberlain proved Theo is not a winger and there's no higher praise for Oxlade-Chamberlain than the hint of a resemblance to the late David Rocastle.

The Greeks certainly had their moments. Either side of their goal only a stunning clearance off the line from Arteta and the thunder of the ball against the bar prevented another.

As the game grew Arsenal's experience told, and tellingly the likes of Arteta, Santos and Mertersacker used their know how to push Arsenal over the finish line, assisted superbly by Alex Song at centre half.

One man who wasn't much help was Tomas  Rosicky. Selected as captain by way of having the longest hair, he issued a bollocking to Aaron Ramsey when the young Welshman had the cheek to not control a pass which the Czech had misplaced. He was reigned in by Bacary Sagna, who hopefully told him to shut up and worry about his own game. Moments later Bacary was having a go at his captain ineffective for cheaply giving the ball away with an aimless pass down the line. His performance had my mate Dessie wondering if UEFA rules stipulated if a captain had to be named at all. Each week the coin toss could be called by a lucky raffle winner in the stands. Heads!!

A run of wins faintly masks the shortcomings. Shrewsbury, Bolton and Olympiakos. Three home wins have provided shelter from the storm but grey skies still threaten. However, four points from the first two Champions League games is perfectly fine and compares favourably to the start made by the money spent in Manchester.

Upon exit, the Emirates screens confirmed Barcelona's 5-0 win, ramming home our inefficiencies and the fact that Arsenal aren't in the Champions League to win it. We're in it for the money. As such merely qualifying from this group and the cheque it rewards will be deemed a success of resources.

It beats playing Thursday nights on Channel 5 against Shamrock Rovers.

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