Arsenal’s in-form playmaker Mesut Ozil believes his side can complete their comeback from Champions League crisis and secure their spot in the knockout stages, with the German targeting an early goal to overcome Olympiakos.
Defeats in their opening two games left Arsene Wenger’s side on the verge of elimination and, whilst they have dragged themselves back into contention ahead of the final round of games, they need an impressive result in Athens to book their place in the knockout stages.
If they are to pick up the result they need Arsenal will almost certainly need Ozil, with four goals and 12 assists in 19 matches this season, to continue his sparkling run of form and take on further responsibility for his injury-ravaged team-mates.
And the 27-year-old believes that if his team can get off to a fast start they should be able to continue a qualification run from the initial group stage that dates back to 2001.
“We have to be focused on the game; we have to give a really good performance,”Ozil said.
“If we score an early goal, I’m confident that we can win this game and go through. I hope that I can help the team with a good performance on the night.
“We know that we have a lot of quality up front, but our goal is to go into half-time ahead and then we will know that everything is possible. We have to also be careful in defence that we don’t concede a goal.”
A series of calamitous defensive errors by David Ospina and Kieran Gibbs gifted Olympiakos a shock 3-2 win at the Emirates that has allowed them to build a three point advantage over Wednesday’s opponents.
With the Gunners needing to match or better that result to qualify for the next stage Ozil has urged his team-mates not to make the same sort of mistakes that marred the early stages of their campaign.
“Olympiacos can play good football – we saw that in the first match. They want to play on the counter-attack but we can’t concede goals like we did again,” he said.
“We have to be good in defence. If they score a goal then we have to score three goals, although we know that we can score goals.”