Europa League: Predicted Arsenal line-up (4-2-3-1) vs Olympiacos

Arsenal v Chelsea - FA Cup Final
Arsenal v Chelsea - FA Cup Final

Arsenal make the trip to the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus for the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie against Olympiacos on Thursday.

The north London side progressed to the round of 16 with a 4-3 aggregate triumph over Benfica, which included a terrific 3-2 comeback win in the second leg.

The Gunners were trailing 2-1 shortly after the hour mark, but they managed to come up on top as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted an 87th-minute winner.

The game was the Gunners’ home leg, and it was played at the Karaiskakis stadium due to coronavirus restrictions. Mikel Arteta’s side will now be well familiar with the surface.

Olympiacos shocked the Premier League giants last term as they beat them on away goals in the last 32, and the Gunners will be aiming for redemption.

They were disappointing in last season’s away leg against the Greek side where they scored just one goal, and Arteta will be hoping for a much-improved display.

The Gunners go into the game after a frustrating 1-1 draw at Burnley in the league where Granit Xhaka’s blunder gifted the Clarets the equalising goal.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Predicted Line-up:

Bernd Leno is the Gunners’ first-choice goalkeeper across all competitions at the moment.

Alex Runarsson was utilised in the group stage earlier this term, but he has not been registered for the knock-out phase. January signing Mat Ryan may feature on the bench.

Hector Bellerin seems likely to return at right-back after being rested for back-to-back games.

He was in the matchday squad ahead of Cedric at the weekend, which indicates that he is above the Portuguese in the pecking order.

Calum Chambers made his first Premier League appearance in 14 months at right-back, but he is likely to make way for the Spaniard.

There could be another change in the backline, with Gabriel Magalhaes replacing Pablo Mari in central defence.

Mari has been solid alongside David Luiz, but Gabriel has been a regular in the Europa League games and may get the nod.

Kieran Tierney is likely to feature at left-back once again.

Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey should continue to feature in the midfield, but both players need to step up for the game.

Partey misplaced several passes at Turf Moor while Xhaka had a game to forget as he gifted the Clarets the equalising goal.

Dani Ceballos and Mohamed Elneny may have to settle for roles on the bench.

Further forward, Bukayo Saka has been the Gunners’ standout player this term, and he is likely to start on the right wing.

The Gunners have yet to provide a fitness update on Emile Smith-Rowe. The youngster missed the Clarets game with a minor hip issue.

As things stand, it appears that Martin Odegaard will continue in the number 10 role.

The Norwegian has shown glimpses of his quality but has yet to make any significant impact with a goal or an assist for the club.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has excelled in leading the line, but he may slot into the left-wing tomorrow to accommodate Alexandre Lacazette up front.

Lacazette has been in-and-out of the starting line-up, and he has plenty to prove against Olympiacos after a poor away display against them last season.

The Frenchman found the back of the net in a 1-0 win, but he was guilty of missing a clear-cut chance early in the game which proved costly.

Predicted Arsenal line-up (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Aubameyang; Lacazette.

In other news, Arsenal forward has signed a multi-year deal with New Balance.

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