Finishing touches

Arsenal have a strong cushion now, says Smith

Gervinho: hitting form

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Arsenal owe a debt of gratitude to Gervinho after they secured a 3-1 win over Olympiakos in the Champions League last night, according to Sky Sports' Alan Smith.

"He quite rightly got a standing ovation from the Arsenal fans, who have not always been his biggest supporters for the times that he has been wasting the final ball."

Alan Smith

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The 25-year-old gave the Gunners the lead three minutes before the break and then set up a goal for Lukas Podolski in the 56th minute after Olympiakos had drawn level.

Aaron Ramsey rounded off the victory with an injury-time third for the Gunners, but Gervinho was the star man for the Gunners according to their former frontman.

Smith told Sky Sports: "They owe a huge debt of thanks to Gervinho for his industry and desire. He dragged his team round, got the goal, made the second so he was a great plus for them tonight.

"And he quite rightly got a standing ovation from the Arsenal fans, who have not always been his biggest supporters for the times that he has been wasting the final ball. But he is enjoying a nice little purple patch and it has come at the right time for Arsenal.

"He is always going to work hard, work the channels and make defenders run with him but he has added that little bit of finishing to his game."

Assistant boss Steve Bould was once again in charge on the touchline at the Emirates with Arsene Wenger watching on from the stands as he continued his three-match suspension in the Champions League.

Nervy

Wenger would have endured some nervous moments in the first half as Arsenal's defence showed signs of frailty but they were much improved in the second half.

And Smith believes his former team-mate Bould will have played a big role in the half-time turnaround that leaves Arsenal in a strong position with six points from their opening two Champions' League group games.

Arsenal take maximum points

"He (Wenger) will be a relieved man," said Smith. "All is well that ends well because they gave us a few scares and him a few scares along the way, particularly in the first half. But give the boys credit.

"They did defend better in the second half, I can't think of (Vito) Mannone having too much to do in the second half.

"So whatever Bouldy said seemed to have an effect. They saw it through and it was fairly comfortable in the end. There have been a couple of Champions League games when they have had their moments defensively but with six points what more can you ask? They have given themselves a nice cushion now."