Arsenal and Olympiacos face off again

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey scores a goal against Olympiakos Piraeus during their Champions League Group B soccer match at the Emirates Stadium in London October 3, 2012. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Arsenal and Olympiacos need no introduction having met three times in the previous six seasons and both will be seeking to put an opening defeat behind them on matchday two.

The clubs are in the same group for the fourth time in seven seasons, having also been drawn together in 2009/10, 2011/12 and 2012/13. Each of the six preceding games has been won by the home team.  In 2012/13, the Gunners won 3-1 in London. Gervinho gave the home side the lead just before the interval, with Kostas Mitroglou equalising in added time. Second-half goals from Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey secured the points.

The lineups in north London on 3 October 2012 for Arsenal were: Mannone, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Walcott 71), Coquelin, Arteta, Podolski (Ramsey 80), Gervinho (Giroud 80), Santi Cazola.  While Olympiacos had: Megyeri, Diakité (Ibagaza 73), Manolas, Contreras, Holebas, David Fuster, Maniatis, Siovas, Greco (Abdoun 67), Paulo Machado (Pantelić 81), Mitroglou.

Arsène Wenger’s men prevailed 2-1 at home in 2011/12, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring on his UEFA Champions League debut, and 2-0 in 2009/10.

The Gunners’ 18th successive group stage campaign began with a 2-1 defeat at GNK Dinamo Zagreb. Olivier Giroud was sent off six minutes before half-time. Last term they reached the last 16 for the 15th successive season but were eliminated at that stage for the fifth consecutive campaign.

Arsenal beat Galatasaray and Borussia Dortmund at home and drew with Anderlecht to finish second in Group G with 13 points, the same as Dortmund. A 3-1 home defeat by Monaco put Arsenal on the back foot in the round of 16. A 2-0 away win was not enough to retrieve the situation.

That home reverse means they have lost five and won five of their last 11 home games in the competition proper. Arsenal are unbeaten in eight home contests against Greek visitors, winning six and drawing two.

The Greek side, in the group stage for the 17th time and fifth in succession, lost 3-0 at home to FC Bayern München on matchday one. Last season Olympiacos finished third in Group A, losing all three away games.

They transferred to the UEFA Europa League and were defeated in the round of 32, losing 2-0 away to FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk ahead of a 2-2 home draw.

They have lost five away games in a row in the UEFA Champions League and six in succession in all European competition. Olympiacos will be seeking to improve on their poor record in England – they have lost on each of their 12 visits, conceding 37 goals and scoring only three.

Giroud is suspended following his dismissal against Dinamo Zagreb. Arsenal followed up their matchday one loss with a 2-0 derby reverse at Chelsea FC on 19 September – their first back-to-back defeats since November 2014. Gabriel and Santi Cazorla were sent off at Stamford Bridge. The former’s red card was subsequently rescinded.

Mathieu Flamini scored two goals in a match for the first time in his senior career as Arsenal triumphed 2-1 at north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur FC in the League Cup third round on 23 September.

The Gunners have only scored in one of their three home games this term – the 2-0 defeat of Stoke City FC on 12 September.

Jack Wilshere was ruled out for six to eight weeks after sustaining a hairline fracture to his right ankle in training on 1 August. Danny Welbeck, who has not played since 26 April because of a knee injury, had an operation on 3 September and is expected to be sidelined until December.

The greek side would be without Luka Milivojević who serves the second of his two-game ban following his dismissal in the second leg of Olympiacos’s 2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie against Dnipro.

Olympiacos are the only team in the Greek Super League with a 100% record. Da Costa was ruled out of the Arsenal match after sustaining a meniscus injury and calf strain during the 3-1 win at Xanthi FC on 22 September.