11/03/2021 – Olympiacos vs Arsenal Predictions

Preview

Olympiacos and Arsenal face off in the Europa League knockout stages for the second season in a row after the Greek champions knocked Mikel Arteta’s side out of the competition last season.

The two sides are likely to set up more conservatively here after conceding a large number of goals in the round of 32. Olympiacos shipped four goals over the course of two legs vs PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal three goals against Benfica.

The Gunners in particular, will make themselves difficult to break down and look to utilise the pace of their frontline on the counter attack. This may lead to most sides cancelling each other out in this first leg, so maybe not too much goals on the evening.

Regardless, revenge is on the cards for Arsenal and they will fancy their chance of putting one leg in the quarter-finals of the competition with a victory over familiar foes.

Form Guide: Olympiacos

It has been a little over a year since that fateful evening at the Emirates Stadium in last season’s Europa League, but Olympiacos forward Youssef El Arabi probably still appears in the nightmares of Gooners up and down the country.

With the tie delicately poised at 1-1 after Arsenal had taken a 1-0 victory home from the first leg, El Arabi struck in the 119th minute before Gunners captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a gilt-edged chance to send the Gunners through, and Olympiacos progressed to the last 16 in the 2019-20 tournament to leave an Emirates crowd shell-shocked.

This week’s hosts did not make life easy for themselves against PSV, and the Dutch side were minutes away from going through after an Eran Zahavi double put them 2-0 up in the second leg after a 4-2 first-leg defeat, but substitute Ahmed Hassan struck in the 88th minute as they reached the last 16 for the second year running.

Martins’ men eased to a 3-0 victory over Lamia in the league at the weekend and they are unbeaten in 10 matches at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, winning nine of them and scoring 28 goals in that run. Surely, an Arsenal team who are becoming incredibly difficult to predict must have their wits about them if they are to gain the upper hand this week.

Form Guide: Arsenal

Arsenal have blown hot and cold so far this season. Not many expected the Gunners to be in 10th position at this stage of the season. A dominant Arsenal struck inside the opening six minutes at Burnley through a rejuvenated Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but in a tale as old as time, the Gunners failed to put the game to bed and were once again the victims of their own downfall in calamitous fashion at Turf Moor.

A mistake from Granit Xhaka proved to be costly and they must avoid such against Olympiacos. Arteta’s men took to the pitch at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium as recently as February 25 as their three usual suspects – Aubameyang, Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka – all produced the goods in a nervy finale against Benfica to send the Gunners into the last 16. However, Olympiacos are sure to capitalize on any further mistakes that Arsenal seem almost destined to make.

However, the Gunners can take solace from the fact that they are unbeaten in 10 away matches in the Europa League and have won four of their last five on unfamiliar territory in the tournament, plus with Olympiacos winless in four at home against English teams, Arteta’s men could be forgiven for expecting another positive result on Greek soil.

How the Match Could Go

With most of the Arsenal cohort involved this week also turning out in that humiliating last-32 exit last year, they will be desperate to show Olympiacos that they are made of tougher stuff than during the earliest days of Arteta’s reign. The hosts’ defensive crisis is certainly a point of concern for Martins, but they have no trouble finding the back of the net at home, and we are expecting a closely-fought first leg at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.

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Tip: Over 1.5 Goals

Despite their Premier League struggles, Arsenal have found goals easy to come by in the Europa League this term. Bar the 1-1 draw with Benfica in the first leg of the round of 32, Arsenal have scored at least two goals in the remainder of their Europa League goals this season. However, Olympiacos are a difficult nut to crack at home but we’re still backing the Gunners to at least score. At the moment, Olympiacos have a defensive crisis with a number of their key players injured and Arsenal will be motivated to capitalize on that. Regardless, the hosts could easily grab a goal themselves and we should see at least two goals after 90 minutes. Bet9ja have 1.28 odds, 1xbet have 1.29 and Bet365 have 1.30.

Double Chance

Olympiacos and Arsenal are well familiar with each other, given the number of times they’ve met over recent years. The Gunners have only drawn once in the Europa League this term and that came in the 1-1 stalemate against Benfica. Either the Gunners’ attack proves to be too much to handle or Olympiacos laid-back approach on the counter working in their favour, there should likely be a winner and we’re not expecting a draw for this one. Bet9ja have 1.24 odds, Bet365 have 1.28 and 1xbet have 1.31.

Both Teams to Score: YES

As earlier mentioned, Arsenal have enough firepower in their attack that should see them get on the score-sheet one way or the other. On the path of Olympiacos, they are resolute at home and are yet to lose a single game at that venue domestically this season. In fact, Olympiacos have only lost once in the Greek Super League this campaign and that came away against Panathinaikos. Given their strength at home, Olympiacos would push to score at least and for a winner, it could be a case of which side out-scores the other. Bet9ja have 1.72 odds, Bet365 have 1.80 and 1xbet have 1.85.

Anytime Goal-scorer (Olympiacos)

 El-Arabi

If history has taught the Gunners anything at all, one of them is that the Moroccan forward must be quiet. Last season, he was the one who scored the crucial goal that knocked Arsenal out of the Europa League. He has carried on his impressive form this term as well, with 20 goals to his name across all competitions. If Olympiacos are to punish Arsenal again, much of their hopes would be resting on this man. Bet365 have 2.60 odds for him to score while Bet9ja have 2.75.

Fortounis

The Greece attacking midfielder has been one of the most consistent performers for Olympiacos this term. Asides El-Arabi, he is the next best goal-scorer with nine goals to his name. Based on current form, he is also in sync, having scored two goals in the last three games for Olympiacos. He could come as a value bet to get on the score-sheet. Bet365 have 3.60 odds for him to grab a goal while Bet9ja have theirs at 4.00.

Anytime Goal-scorer (Arsenal)

Aubameyang

As expected, the Gabonese forward is always the number one shout to get a goal for the Gunners provided he is on the pitch at all. This competition also gives Aubameyang the chance to atone for a crucial miss in this same fixture last season. Like El-Arabi, Aubameyang has also impressed this term with 14 goals to his name. Bar the game against Benfica, the Gunners captain has had a goal involvement in all of his last seven cup games for the Gunners. Having fired the Gunners to victory against Benfica, he’ll be looking to keep up that form with a goal today. He also comes into this game with good form, having scored last time out against Burnley. Bet365 have 2.00 odds while Bet9ja have 2.10.

Pepe

Asides Aubameyang and Lacazette, he is the next player with the most goals for the Gunners this season (8). Three of his goals have come in the Europa League and he could yet add to his tally. The Ivorian has looked a positive spark of late and looks like he could be up to something whenever he’s on the ball. He is definitely worth a shout to get a goal today. Bet9ja and Bet365 have 2.75 odds for him to score.

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