Arsenal will look to take a decisive lead back to north London when they take on Olympiacos in the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie on Thursday night.
The Premier League side advanced in the competition having won Group F, while their opponents qualified by coming in third place in their Champions League group.
The Gunners warmed up for the match with an emphatic 4-0 win at home to Newcastle United, and currently lie six points off the top four in tenth place.
Likewise, the Greek side also won 4-0 against bottom-of-the-table Panionios to maintain their two-point lead at the top of the Super League.
Where to Watch
|When is Kick Off?||Thursday 20 February|
|What Time is Kick Off?||20:00 (GMT)|
|Where Is it Played?||Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 2|
Arsenal will be travelling to Greece with several injury concerns. Defenders Calum Chambers (knee) and Kieran Tierney (shoulder) are long-term absentees, and are joined by new signing Cedric Soares, who is still recovering from a knee problem. Youngster Reiss Nelson is a doubt having missed the Newcastle win with a hamstring issue.
Olympiacos on the other hand have close to a fully-fit squad to choose from. Algerian winger El Arbi Hillal Soudani is the only player to miss out with a knee injury.
|Olympiacos||José Sá; Elabdellaoui, Semedo, Ba, Tsimikas; Valbuena, Guilherme, Bouchalakis, Camara, Masouras; El-Arabi|
|Arsenal||Martínez; Bellerín, David Luiz, Sokratis, Saka; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Aubameyang, Özil, Martinelli; Lacazette|
Both sides match up well, having each won four of their last eight encounters against each other. Their most recent fixture in Greece featured Olivier Giroud scoring a hat-trick for the English club as they won 3-0 in 2015, with only Bellerín and Özil presently remaining from the team that played that night.
However, prior to this game Olympiacos had won the previous three games at home to the Gunners. They also managed to hold fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur to a 2-2 draw earlier this season, suggesting they are not an easy team to beat on the road.
Arsenal are coming off an eight-game unbeaten run, having beaten Bournemouth 2-1 in the fourth round of the FA Cup, before failing to score in a goalless draw at Burnley earlier this month. They most recently warmed up for the trip to Piraeus with a comfortable 4-0 win at home to Newcastle.
Meanwhile, Olympiacos have their own unbeaten streak, having not tasted defeat since their 4-2 loss at Spurs in November. A slender 1-0 win away at Atromitos was followed by a close 3-2 victory against Lamia in their Greek Cup quarter-final. They decisively put away strugglers Panionios 4-0 to set themselves up nicely for Thursday’s clash.
Here’s how both sides have fared in their last five games.
|Olympiacos 4-0 Panionios (15/2)||Arsenal 4-0 Newcastle (16/2)|
|Olympiacos 3-2 Lamia (12/2)||Burnley 0-0 Arsenal (2/2)|
|Atromitos 0-1 Olympiacos (9/2)||Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal (27/1)|
|Lamia 0-0 Olympiacos (4/2)||Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal (21/1)|
|Olympiacos 3-1 Xanthi (1/2)||Arsenal 1-1 Sheffield United (18/1)|
Both sides are coming off impressive wins and recent form suggests there will certainly be goals in this tie.
Interestingly, Arsenal have failed to win away in Europe this season since the 3-0 win at Frankfurt back in September, while Olympiacos have not lost at home at all this season except for the 3-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in October.
All signs point to this being a closely contested but entertaining game, and will likely end in a draw to leave the tie evenly poised before the return leg in London.
Prediction: Olympiacos 2-2 Arsenal