LONDON. — Arsenal were given a scare by Olympiakos last night but had enough from the first leg to beat the Greek side 2-3 on aggregate and reach the Europa League last eight.
Leading 3-1 from the game in Greece, the Gunners were comfortable throughout the first half but some nerves began to show after Youssef El-Arabi’s shot found the net, via a deflection off Gabriel, to give the visitors hope of repeating last season’s shock — when they knocked the Gunners out of the tournament, in the last 32, by scoring in the final minute of extra time at Emirates Stadium.
However, Olympiakos were unable to build on El-Arabi’s goal as Arsenal managed the remainder of the tie adequately to progress, helped by a red card shown to Ousseynou Ba for dissent late on.
They will discover their quarter-final opponents when the draw is made in Switzerland today. Arsenal have developed a habit of making life hard for themselves under Mikel Arteta.
Once again, they were their own worst enemies at Emirates with a tame and occasionally sloppy second-leg display that offered the incentive to their opponents.
Thankfully for the Gunners, most of the heavy lifting for this win had been done in the first leg in Pireas, where late goals from Gabriel and Mohamed Elneny made amends for some poor defending which allowed the Greek side to briefly regain parity in the tie.
That frailty at the back resurfaced again in London, though, with Dani Ceballos’ loose pass allowing the Greek side to set up El-Arabi for his goal. Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says his side should fear no one in the Champions League football after the London club secured a spot in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2014 with Wednesday night’s 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid.
Tuchel believes his new-look Chelsea boast the “edge and glue” to become genuine Champions League title contenders.
Goals from Hakim Ziyech and Emerson Palmieri helped Chelsea complete a 3-0 aggregate win and extended their unbeaten run to 13 games in all competitions since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as coach in January.
Holders Bayern Munich and English Premier League leaders, Manchester City, are among the sides left in the competition, with the draw to be made today, but Tuchel said Chelsea deserved their place among Europe’s elite. — BBC/AFP.