Arsenal came back from Athens with a 1-0 lead from the first leg of their UEFA Europa League Second Round tie last week.
The Gunners followed this up with a 3-2 win over Everton in the Premier League to keep them within seven points of Chelsea in fourth and reduce the gap to four points behind Manchester United in fifth.
Fifth place could be a Champions League spot this season as Manchester City face expulsion from Europe’s elite club cup competition for the next two years. Last season’s Premier League winners are taking the ruling to the court of arbitration for sport though, and the FA are yet to announce what will happen to City’s spot if the decision is upheld.
Mikel Arteta is expected to field a strong lineup for the visit of Olympiacos on Thursday, just as the rookie manager did in the first leg last week. There was a rare start for Joe Willock, but otherwise it was the Spaniard’s favourite team with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bernd Leno, David Luiz and Granit Xhaka all starting.
The bookmakers are expecting Arsenal to progress comfortably from this tie, with odds as short as 1/2, and this can be backed up by using free bets from online bookies. Many fans will feel those odds are too short to back but may fancy backing the Premier League at 6/1 to go all the way in this season’s Europa League instead. Before the first leg, the Greeks were favourites to go through.
Coming back from Greece and taking three points from Everton on Sunday was a huge boost for the squad, who can realistically aim for a top five and even top four finish this season.
Following their Europa League game this week they have the weekend off as their scheduled Premier League game with Manchester City is postponed due to City’s involved in the EFL Cup final. So, Arsenal aren’t in action until Monday in the FA Cup, away to League One opposition Portsmouth.
Their next four Premier League fixtures are very favourable too – West Ham United (home), Brighton & Hove Albion (away), Southampton (away) and Norwich City (home).
Presuming that Arsenal will get the job done against Olympiacos on Thursday night, their 6/1 odds to win the Europa League will shorten. This would be further aided if any of the other favourites are eliminated – Manchester United are 1-1 from their first leg away to Club Brugge, Sevilla were held 1-1 at CFR Cluj, and injury-plagued Ajax were beaten 2-0 away to Getafe.
Arsenal will be busy concentrated on a top five Premier League finish, the FA Cup and Europa League between now and May. A favourable run of games in the Premier League and the weekend off certainly helps them in Europe this week.