We’re back to Europa League fixtures this week.
After the convincing win against Newcastle, it seems that there is a bit more belief in our chances in this very exciting European competition…but make no mistake, the Greek opponents are not going to roll over and let us go through this round that easily!
Our mission in Greece will be tricky as Olympiakos is unbeaten in 18 matches and currently leads the Greek Super League and is composed of solid players like:- El-Arabi, Hassan, Mor and Valbuena upfront;- Camara, Fortunis in the middle;- Semedo at the back.
El-Arabi is on fire and Valbuena always plays well in European matches but their winger Al Soudani is off injured so they will most likely play in a 4-5-1 against us (see below), which they used against Tottenham and Munich in the Champions’ league group games.
It is not the first time Olympiakos and Arsenal have met each other in Europe. We have previously played against them four times in the group stage of the Champions League. The first 6 matches ended in home wins and the last 2 in away wins. The last away win was memorable, with Giroud scoring a hat-trick for us to win 3-0 in Greece.
Olympiakos’ record at home, with their very supportive and vocal fans, to English opposition is W7, D4 and L4 including a 2-2 this year against the Spurs. In the knockout phases, they have won 2-0 vs Man Utd in 2014 but lost 3-0 to Utd (Van Persie hat trick) at Old Trafford.
Our record in Greece is not great…W3, D1, L4 but if we win, we will set a new record for an English club by recording 23 wins in the Europa League (surpassing Tottenham by 1) so we better win tonight 🙂
Expected line ups:
Maitland-Niles Sokratis Mustafi Kolasinac
Pepe Willock Martinelli
Olympiakos: Sa – Elabdellaoui, Cisse, Semedo, Tsimikas – Masouras, Camara, Bouchalakis, Fortunis (or Valbuena), Hassan – El-Arabi
I think this game could most likely end up in a 2-2 draw BUT I also feel like we can snatch a win so I am going to back an Arsenal win 2-1 with a goal from Sok and a goal from Laca for us and we concede a goal to either Hassan or El-Arabi.
COYG – we want to celebrate Greek style by breaking plates right after the game!