Welcome to a new feature on Arsenal.com - Talking Heads.

Before and after every first-team fixture our MatchDay Show team - and an Arsenal blogger - will have their say on the match.

Arsenal took on Olympiacos in the Champions League on Wednesday and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck, Gunners legend Nigel Winterburn and Sian from A Girl Who Loves The Gunners.

Read on for their post-match thoughts and recap what they said before the game.

Dan Roebuck - Arsenal Live

That was a big, big win for Arsenal. They could easily have been behind at half time but, basically, the home side took their chances while Olympiacos spurned theirs. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain caught the eye again and it was good to see Andre Santos break his duck, but it's clear that the defence still has to gel. They improved a lot in the second half and kept their shape better - credit to Pat Rice for his half-time team talk - but in the first half there were lots of holes, not least for the Olympiacos goal. Aside from one shot that hit the bar, the Greeks were less dangerous after the break and Arsenal should have put the game to bed. But four points from two group games is a decent return and the Gunners are well-placed to qualify.

Home banker? Until news of Arsenal's latest injury problems seeped through that's the way I saw it. But losing Koscielny, Gervinho and Walcott on top of Wilshere, Vermaelen and Diaby means Wenger's squad will be more stretched than he would have liked. I expect Olympiacos to set themselves up not to concede while trying to pinch a goal on the break so patience and invention will be needed in equal measure. Arshavin has been impressive of late and he could be the key to unlocking the Greek side's defence while Van Persie showed on Saturday that he is bang in form. Don't be surprised to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain make an important contribution from the bench.

Nigel Winterburn

I thought it was a fantastic start by Arsenal - two goals up inside 20 minutes and some free-flowing football. But they started to get a bit sloppy, they gave the ball away and Olympiacos came back into the game and got their goal. From there on in it was an entertaining game. Arsenal couldn't get any real rhythm in the second half and they got a bit nervous because they lack a bit of confidence at the moment. In the end though a 2-1 victory gives the team a bit of momentum going into the game against Tottenham at the weekend.

Arsenal can be very pleased with their start to the Champions League group - they got a terrific, battling draw against Dortmund a couple of weeks ago. They had to defend a great deal in Germany but I think they will look to dominate Olympiacos from the start on Wednesday night. I expect them to play at a high tempo - a tempo that the Greek side will probably not be used to. Mikel Arteta will need to be at the heart of a quick-passing game, feeding the front men as early as possible. Gervinho, if he's available, can use his pace and skill to supply Robin van Persie. As we saw at the weekend the Dutchman is in fine fettle and he can score the goals to win the match.


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It wasn’t the glossy win it looked like it might have been once Santos had booted his goal home, but sometimes the less attractive victories seem better for the confidence than the ones in which you dominate. We didn’t completely outplay Olympiacos or score lots of goals but we still came away with three points despite letting them get back into it with Fuster’s goal in the first half. It was a fantastic match for record-breaking Oxlade-Chamberlain, and I thought both Song and Santos were excellent too. After a bit of a howler for their goal, we picked up defensively after the first half. We needed a win to bump up spirits ahead of the Spurs match, but not enough of one to allow complacency to creep in. We got that. Right now I’d sooner win slightly ugly all day long than lose while looking good.

Extensive research tells me Olympiacos are seventh in the Greek Super League, with just six points to their name - that they’ve played only two matches is really neither here nor there. Anyway, Arsenal’s weekend win over Bolton can only have been good for the old confidence ahead of this. The late equaliser by Borussia Dortmund in our last European game wasn’t ideal but there weren’t many complaints with the result overall. It’s our first group stage Champions League home game of the season, and they’re always special. Olympiacos lost their opener to Marseille, so it won’t be an easy ride, but they haven’t a good record in England. Our fans have been consistently great this season, so hopefully we’ll be there playing as the twelfth man once again. I’m equally hopeful, however, that that twelfth man will not be needed.

* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.

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29 Sep 2011