Panathinaikos to try to frustrate Arsenal again

Portugal international Paulo Sousa believes Panathinaikos can frustrate Arsenal today for the second time in quick succession and qualify for the next phase of the Champions League. The Greek club incurred Arsenal’s wrath when they met in Athens in a Group C encounter last month. Arsenal striker Thierry Henry and manager Arsene Wenger claimed the home players had dived and faked injury as Panathinaikos enjoyed a 1-0 win. The English Premier League club, struggling in third place in the group, will seek revenge with a win that would transform their indifferent campaign. But Panathinaikos traveled to London yesterday knowing they need only a point to smooth their passage to the competition’s second phase. With calm, good organization and concentration we can get the result that we are looking for, Sousa told reporters. Arsenal are a high-quality team and are especially strong on home territory. A draw would leave Panathinaikos with 10 points and Arsenal with four. With just two games of the first phase remaining, Arsenal’s maximum point tally would be 10. While Real Mallorca are in a good position in second place, if Panathinaikos and Arsenal finished level on points, it would be the Greek team who progressed because of their superior head-to-head results against the Highbury club. Despite registering three straight victories in Europe to top Group C, all is not well for the Athens side. They have struggled in the Greek league, despite coach Yiannis Kyrastas’s insistence that the domestic championship is our top priority. Panathinaikos, who were held to a goalless draw by top-flight debutants Akratitos at the weekend, trail league leaders AEK by four points.

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