clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Arsenal vs. Olympiacos: Europa League - Predicted Lineup & Bench

New, comments

The Gunners kick off the knockout stages in Greece.

Arsenal Training - London Colney Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Been enjoying your week Arsenal nation? Of course you have. 4-0. In the Premier League. At home. It was a wonderful Sunday result that saw Pepe score and get two assists, Lacazette break his scoring drought, and even got Ozil on the board. Two clean sheets in a row has the team looking confident under Mikel Arteta’s leadership and the fans buzzing.

Now the attention turns towards Thursday and the start of the Europa League knockout stages. The Round of 32 sees Arsenal paired with Olympiacos and will travel to Greece for the first leg. Olympiacos are currently in first place in their domestic league and haven’t lost since late November when Tottenham beat them 4-2 in the Champions League group stage.

With Manchester City’s current European ban, 5th place in the Premier League is only six points away, giving Arsenal a few reasonable ways to chase the Champions League. So with a big squad and on the back of a big win, how far does Arteta rotate his squad?

Notes on the XI:

  • Arsenal are finally healthy enough that they have two full squads. I’m rolling the dice here thinking that Arteta will do a full rotation, but he has the option and can start the same XI who played against Newcastle this coming weekend versus Everton.
  • There are a few safe bets for the XI on Thursday - Martinez, Lacazette and Martinelli seem like locks. I could see Arteta operating with more of a 4-3-3 with Neslon out on the right of the attacking line and Willock being the third midfielder, but the one who presses forward more often.
  • Xhaka and Ceballos combined well against Newcastle, but team news this morning indicated that Lucas Torreira didn’t travel with the squad. So I’d like to see Ceballos and Guendouzi start against Olympiacos, consider Xhaka played the full 90.
  • In defense Kolasinac was fit for the bench on Sunday so it seems reasonable that he will get the start midweek. Sokratis and Maitland-Niles were left out, so presumably they are rested and first choice on Thursday. Rob Holding is a bit of a gamble here as he played midweek for the Arsenal U23s. Mari is available for selection for the first time, but just recently got his first minutes with the U23 side.
  • On the bench you’d have Pepe, Saka and Nketiah to bring on the attack late if needed. Which means Aubameyang and Ozil can be rested - which they should be.

Bench

  1. Bernd Leno
  2. Héctor Bellerín
  3. David Luiz
  4. Granit Xhaka
  5. Bukayo Saka
  6. Nicolas Pepe
  7. Eddie Nketiah

How to watch

Thursday (2/20) at 3:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm PT on the B/R Live.