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Taking a 3-1 lead into the second leg of their Europa League Round-of-16 clash, let’s take a look at our Arsenal predicted lineup to face Olympiacos.
Having beaten Spurs at the weekend, Arsenal’s next task is to ensure qualification to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
After last Thursday’s 3-1 victory away from home, they’re in a strong position to progress in the tie. But Mikel Arteta won’t want to risk a confidence-destroying comeback defeat, so he’ll probably avoid taking too many risks.
If Arsenal get an early goal or two and kill the tie, Arteta can always use some of his five available substitutions at half-time. Better to start strong in this case.
Bernd Leno will almost certainly start in goal. Even with the 3-1 lead, you don’t want to risk rotating your goalkeepers and a couple of howlers suddenly throwing Olympiacos back into contention.
Arsenal still have to play all of the PL’s bottom five in their final 10 league games, so perhaps those are the matches for Mat Ryan to aim for, as Leno hopefully focuses on the latter stages of the Europa League.
Hector Bellerin will probably come back in for this one, after starting the first leg before missing out on the Spurs clash.
The rest of the back four should stay consistent, with too much riding on the result. That means Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Magalhaes, and David Luiz starting.
It’s a little harsh on Pablo Mari, and it’s certainly not impossible Arteta selects the Spaniard to start in Gabriel’s place. But Gabriel was fantastic in both games last week and has made himself difficult to drop.
Whilst it’s not impossible Arteta decides to switch things up a bit in midfield, it’s also hard to see who he could easily drop without taking a bit of a risk.
Dani Ceballos has proven too error-prone in these knockout stages so far, and Mohamed Elneny starting could invite Olympiacos on a bit much. It’s probably safer to start with Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey and then bring the other two on when the tie’s over.
Martin Odegaard will likely start in the number 10 position. The only real alternative is Smith Rowe, who played out on the left against Spurs.
This is the area we’re expecting the most changes in. For a start, Bukayo Saka picked up an injury against Spurs, so Nicolas Pepe is the obvious call to take his place on the right.
With Emile Smith Rowe only recently returning from injury, it’s probably safer to rotate him out as well, with Willian coming in.
Up front, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has served his disciplinary absence for lateness and will probably get a chance to put things right on the pitch.
Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Olympiacos