Arsenal return to Europa League action on Thursday against Olympiakos. The Gunners can still finish fifth in the table and secure Champions League qualification that way, but this avenue offers them a chance at silverware.
Olympiakos v Arsenal Preview
Olympiakos are unbeaten in the Greek Super League this season, winning 18 and drawing six. That goes with a massive +41 goal difference. However, the giants of Greece are top of the table by just two points with defending champions PAOK sitting on 58 points.
Former Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom currently plays for PAOK and has scored six goals through 20 top-flight appearances this season.
The main strength of Olympiakos lies in their defence this season: they have given up just nine goals through this point in their league campaign. However, their defensive fortunes haven’t been as good in Europe.
Their group play this season yielded a second-place finish over AC Milan but they themselves yielded six goals. The offensive play from Olympiakos was admittedly potent during group play, amassing 11 goals, just one fewer than Arsenal.
This means that the Gunners will have to be mindful of their hosts’ attack. However, the strike force available to Arsenal will also find life difficult should Olympiakos get their way.
Arsenal have no new injury news ahead of Thursday’s match against Olympiakos. Kieran Tierney has yet to return from his dislocated shoulder, same with Cedric Soares and his knee injury, but both should resume training by the end of the month.
On paper, this may seem an easy win for Arsenal but they will have to be wary else Olympiakos will get their way. Don’t forget the last time these two met in the Champions League, the Greek outfit managed to win one of the two group-stage fixtures.
However, Arteta does have his players working their hearts out for him at the moment. They will also likely put out a strong starting XI, even if a few names are absent due to the match against Everton on Sunday.
Fans will probably see the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Joe Willock and Lucas Torreira feature as none were prominent last time out. This strong, if not strongest, XI should have the firepower to blow Olympiakos away and give Arsenal a leg up in the tie.
It will be close but we are predicting a win for the Gunners.
Predicted score: Olympiakos 1 Arsenal 2
Embed from Getty Images