Arsenal face Olympiacos at home in their Europa League Round-of-32 second leg on Thursday, taking a 1-0 lead into the fixture.
Arsenal won late on against Olympiacos in Greece, with Alexandre Lacazette scoring an 81st-minute winner.
In all honesty, both teams could have added to their tallies on the night. But it ended 1-0, meaning the Gunners only need a draw at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday to secure qualification to the next round.
It’s very risky playing for a draw though, particularly with just one away goal in the bank. If Olympiacos score once, we’re heading for extra time. Twice or more, and a one-goal defeat sends Arsenal out, despite the aggregate scoreline being level.
For that reason, as well as to keep the momentum going, Mikel Arteta’s side should aim for another win. Let’s have a look at our predicted Arsenal lineup for the Olympiacos clash.
Bernd Leno kept a clean sheet in the away leg, and he revealed afterwards that Arteta plans to use him in the Europa League as well as the Premier League now. Emi Martinez should make the bench.
Arteta doesn’t have much choice at left-back, with Kieran Tierney still not back and now Sead Kolasinac out with injury again. Bukayo Saka will have to start, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles likely on the bench as a backup.
This doesn’t seem like the game to introduce Pablo Mari or reintroduce Rob Holding. The Portsmouth FA Cup tie is a much better option for that purpose.
As a result, David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi should keep their places, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos coming back in on the right. Cedric Soares isn’t quite ready yet, and Hector Bellerin probably won’t want to risk another game so soon after his knock last week.
Granit Xhaka hasn’t missed a minute of football in 2020. Until Pablo Mari is in the team, his left-footed distribution from the back is just too important. He should start along with Mesut Özil, who only missed the away leg for personal reasons.
The third spot is really difficult to predict. Lucas Torreira could come back into the starting lineup after coming off the bench at the weekend. Dani Ceballos could start, or Matteo Guendouzi, or even Joe Willock.
This one is a toss-up. We’re going to go with Torreira purely because he’s a few games without a start now, and probably deserves one. He may well have started the away leg if not for illness.
Alexandre Lacazette was on the bench against Everton on Sunday, but he should return to the starting lineup here. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is probably the most important player in the team right now, so he has to start.
It’s possible Reiss Nelson might make his return to the side on the right. Gabriel Martinelli is also available, though doesn’t seem to perform as well on that side.
Nonetheless, we’re predicting another start for Nicolas Pepe. As with the defenders, the Portsmouth game seems like a better one to reintroduce Arsenal’s young forwards.