With all of the change at Arsenal, it’s nice to see some things remain the same. For example, Gunnersaurus is still our lovable mascot, the club’s defending is still woefully inadequate, and Arsenal are still drawing Olympiacos in European competition. The Gunners were a bit unlucky to draw a side the dropped down from the Champions League as opposed to one of the twelve Europa League group runners-up, but bookmakers still have the Gunners favored to win the tie.
February’s Europa League Round of 32 tie will be the 9th and 10th times the clubs have met in a little more than 10 years. The clubs have split the previous 8 meetings, all of which came in the CL group stage. In 2015 when the clubs last met, Arsenal were powered to a 3-0 Matchday 6 win in Greece by an Olivier Giroud hat trick, tying Olympiacos on points in the group and advancing on goal difference.
Olympiacos are 1st in the Greek Super League by virtue of their +23 goal difference. They struggled in their Champions League group however, winning only 4 points — a 1-0 home win over Red Star Belgrade and a 2-2 home draw against Spurs. The most familiar name on their roster is former French international Mathieu Valbuena, who is having a strong season, tallying 4 goals and at least 7 assists (the assist-tracking in the Greek Super League is spotty).
As group winners, Arsenal get the benefit (?) of playing away in the first leg. The Gunners will travel to Greece on February 20th and return to the Emirates for the second leg on February 27th. Update: both matches will kickoff at 8 pm UK time.