Post-Match Report

Reserves friendly: Arsenal 3-1 Olympiacos

Theo Walcott making his return from injury

Olympiacos -

Arsenal Training Ground
Friendly Match
Friendly Match
  Arsenal U23
Arsenal U23
3 1

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By Nick Teale

Theo Walcott returned to action as Arsenal Reserves beat Olympiacos 3-1 on Tuesday morning.
Gilles Sunu, Emmanuel Frimpong and Rhys Murphy got the goals for Neil Banfield's side in the friendly game at the Club's Training Ground.

However the headline news was Walcott's 60-minute run-out after recovering from a back problem. Until now, injury had restricted the England striker to just one half of a pre-season game this term.
The 20-year-old started on the right side of the front three, with Nacer Barazite on the left and Sunu through the middle. Jack Wilshere played in central midfield and - with Vito Mannone and Wojciech Szczesny on first-team duty - James Shea was in goal.
Both sides were restricted to long-range efforts early on with neither team giving too much away.

Giannis Gkavasiadis was the first Olympiacos player to test Shea with a drilled effort. Mark Randall's 30-yard drive was saved then Wilshere crafted the best shot of the opening quarter, hitting the bar from just outside the area.

Kyle Bartley was forced into a sliding block after an acrobatic effort from Gkavasiadis 20 minutes in but still neither side could find a route to goal.
Walcott had shown glimpses of his pace down the right, and seven minutes from the break, slid the ball through the centre of Olympiacos' defence to Sunu. The French forward slotted home Arsenal's first goal at the near post.
However, just two minutes after the break, the visitors equalised. Dangerman Gkavasiadis broke away from the Arsenal backline and fired his shot past Shea to the delight of his teammates.
Then, barely a minute later, only a well-timed tackle from Bartley prevented the Greek striker putting his side ahead.
With 30 minutes remaining Banfield made four substitutions. Randall, Wilshere, Armand Traore and, after an eye-catching contribution, Walcott all went off. Murphy, Craig Eastmond, Frimpong and Cedric Evina came on.

Ten minutes later the Gunners took the lead. After a lung-bursting run through the middle, Frimpong was one-on-one with keeper Nikos Papadopoulos. The Arsenal striker went down and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Frimpong got up and, though the keeper went the right way, his penalty was hit forcefully enough to find the bottom corner.
With seven minutes remaining Banfield's side sealed the victory. Barazite sent in a corner from the left and found Murphy drifting in unmarked at the back post. The substitute headed home and Arsenal had their victory.

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