Saturday 22 October 2016

Ozil: We must keep focus in Athens cauldron

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil

Arsenal must stay focused and not be influenced by the "crazy" atmosphere at the Karaiskakis Stadium, midfielder Mesut Ozil has said ahead of tonight's make-or-break Champions League clash against Olympiakos Piraeus.

The London club need to beat the Greek champions either by two clear goals, or by any margin if they score at least three times, to progress from the group stages. If they fail to do so, they will drop into the Europa League.

Having lost the reverse fixture 3-2, Arsenal head into game with host of key players missing through injury, including forward Alexis Sanchez and midfielder Santi Cazorla.

Ozil, who has been involved in 14 goals in his last 13 Premier League appearances, is confident the Gunners can qualify for the knockout stages for a 16th consecutive year.


"It will be very, very hard. Olympiakos can play good football and we saw that at the Emirates. They want to play on the counter-attack but we can't concede goals like we did before again," Ozil said.

"The fans will be behind them and our goal has to be to beat them. I have played in Greece before. I know that there will be a very good atmosphere, the fans are crazy and they really support their team right through the full 90 minutes.

"We have to be focused on the game, we have to give a really good performance.

"It is possible to win there with two goals in our favour and that's what we want to do. We have to really give everything so that we can achieve this and get through to the next round."

Arsenal know exactly what they need to do against Olympiacos and the club will give their all to qualify for the knockout stages for a 16th consecutive year, manager Arsene Wenger has said.


"Personally the record means a lot because it's important for the club and for the players. I want to win and I want to qualify. For me our job is to win the next game, and do what is requested," Wenger said.

"There is one positive thing for us - we know exactly what we have to do. We know that we have to go for it from the start. So let's do that and hopefully we can get through."

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who excelled playing in midfield and scored in Saturday's Premier League 3-1 win over Sunderland, said Arsenal must not get ahead of themselves and get exposed at the back.

"It is in our hands - we know what we have to do. We have to choose the right times to do that but we will always create opportunities - just hopefully we can stop them, keep a clean sheet and grab a couple of goals ourselves," Ramsey said.

"I have made no secret that I prefer to play in the middle and hopefully now I can stay there. Hopefully I can keep building on that now to play where I prefer to play."

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