Champions League review: Arsenal’s heroics, Gary Neville’s reality check and more

Joel Campbell stood out for Arsenal on his return to Olympiakos, José Mourinho settles another score and it was a bad night for England’s favourite former pundit

When Joel Campbell left the field in the 91st minute, to be replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, he did so to a standing ovation from the Arsenal and Olympiakos fans. The Costa Rican was magnificent in a loan spell at the Greek champions during 2013-14 – remember that 25-yard curler against Manchester United? – and on Wednesday he impressed again in familiar surroundings. If Olivier Giroud hadn’t scored all three of Arsenal’s goals, Campbell would probably have been Arsenal’s man of the match.
The 23-year-old was a thorn in the side of his former club all evening, loitering on the right flank, cutting in on his left foot. If Mesut Özil is the Rolls-Royce of Arsenal’s midfield, Campbell is fast becoming the wasp trapped inside, buzzing incessantly on the fringes and piercing opposition defences with regularity. His best moment on Wednesday was a sublime assist for Giroud’s second, the goal that finally turned qualification to the last 16 in Arsenal’s favour. Neatly cushioning a difficult Özil pass out of the air under heavy pressure, he turned inside, dragback-bamboozled the covering defender and threaded a perfect through ball to Giroud, rendering four Olympiakos defenders helpless. All the Frenchman had to do was sidefoot home from six yards. If Özil, Alexis Sánchez or Santi Cazorla – or heck, even Lionel Messi – had done the same, Twitter would have gone into meltdown.
Yet this is not the first time this season that Campbell has produced a moment of magic such as this. In Arsenal’s previous Champions League match, against Dinamo Zagreb last month, he picked a near-identical pass to set up Sánchez for Arsenal’s third and final goal. At the weekend he scored the Gunners’ opener against Sunderland, calmly finishing after a fine pass from – who else? – Özil. With injuries continuing to plague Arsenal’s squad, Wenger needed his so-called fringe players to come to the fore. Campbell is taking his chance. MB

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