Arsenal face Olympiacos in their Europa League Round-of-32 first leg on Thursday, on the back of a big win over Newcastle United.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side travel to Olympiacos for their first Europa League knockout tie this week.
Despite their 4-0 victory in the Premier League this weekend, the team remain seven points off the top four. The Europa League is still probably the best way to achieve Champions League qualification as things stand.
Even with the inclusion of the eliminated Champions League clubs, the Gunners still hold some of the best odds to win the competition, and in facing Olympiacos benefit from being drawn against one of the lesser UCL clubs to transfer over.
All the same, the North London side only have one win in four attempts away to the Greek club, so Arteta will have to go strong to get a result. Let’s have a look at our Arsenal predicted lineup for the Olympiacos clash.
For once, Arteta has a decision to make here. Emi Martinez is the cup goalkeeper, and he played the Europa League group stage for the team.
Does the head coach stick with him, or swap to first-choice Premier League goalkeeper Bernd Leno now that these ties are so important? We expect Martinez to keep his place for now, but as the competition goes in, he may find himself fighting for his spot.
There are a few calls to make here. At left-back, Bukayo Saka played excellently at the weekend, but Sead Kolasinac is back. The 26-year-old has more experience in these kinds of games, and especially away from home he’s probably the safer pick.
David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi are forming an unlikely partnership at the back, and it’s hard to see Arteta dropping either one of them.
He has other options if he wants them, from Sokratis Papastathopoulos to Rob Holding and Pablo Mari, who both played 45 minutes for the u23s on Monday.
Hector Bellerin should start at right-back. Ainsley Maitland-Niles didn’t even make the squad against Newcastle, and Cedric Soares isn’t ready yet.
The Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos and Mesut Özil midfield worked well against Newcastle. The most likely change is Lucas Torreira coming in for Ceballos, to add a bit more solidity away from home and avoid overplaying the Spaniard.
Joe Willock and Matteo Guendouzi are also available – if Guendouzi sorts out his dispute with the head coach. Still, it feels like Arteta might stick with what worked at the weekend. Anything to keep the momentum going right now.
Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette all scored at the weekend. It’s hard to look past the trio for starts in this one.
Gabriel Martinelli showed great form in January, but he never seems to get the nod ahead of Lacazette up front, and it’s unlikely Aubameyang drops out of the team. Eddie Nketiah did get a chance at the weekend, but he’ll probably concede his place for this one.
Reiss Nelson is back, but again, it’s a question of who he’s going to replace. Pepe is on the back of a goal and two assists against Newcastle, so it would be bizarre to drop him now.