Prediction & odds for the game: Arsenal (2/5) v Olympiacos (7/1) – ST is backing the home win
When: Thursday, 18th March @ 5.55pm K.O
Where: Emirates Stadium
Arsenal will attempt to seal their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League when they face Olympiacos in their second leg tomorrow night.
The Europa League has been a love-hate sort of competition for Arsenal over the years because while they tend to do quite well in it, we all know their ultimate goal is to make it back into the Champions League. There are signs that this team is beginning to rebuild and rediscover the foundation that made them so successful under Arsene Wenger, but perfecting it is going to take time and an awful lot of patience.
A 1-0 loss to Manchester City seemed to wake Arsenal up in a big way, starting with a huge 3-2 triumph over Benfica in the UEL. They proceeded to beat Leicester and Olympiacos with a controversial draw against Burnley thrown in there for good measure, but the real sign of their growth came in a 2-1 North London derby success just three days ago.
They may be dominating proceedings in the Greek Super League but Olympiacos have a long way to go before they’re a force in European football. They showed signs of life last season but after their loss to Wolves in the Round of 16, they just seemed to experience a real drop in confidence. They need to go at Arsenal from the word go without leaving themselves vulnerable at the back and finding that balance is going to be tough, to say the least.
While they may have edged past PSV Eindhoven in the last round, Olympiacos were made to work for it after losing the second leg 2-1. In the midst of all that they’ve also been beaten by Panathinaikos, held to a draw by Aris Salonika and beaten by Arsenal. They did, however, bounce back with a nice 3-1 win over Larissa FC at the weekend.
Olympiacos may have pulled off the upset last year but we just don’t think they’ve got it in them to pull off this year. Plus, they’re facing an Arsenal side who have improved massively under Mikel Arteta, and we just can’t picture a scenario in which they surrender this lead. It’s going to be a tight game but Arteta will be drilling into his players that they can’t afford any defensive errors, which is why we’re backing them to edge out another win to progress into the last eight.
Our official scoreline prediction is 2-0 Arsenal, making it 5-1 on aggregate, ensuring we stick to the under 2.5 goals bracket.
Verdict: Back the draw at odds of 2/5 and the under 2.5 goals scored at odds of 6/5 (All odds are taken from bet365).[geosnippet id=3620]
If you want to bet on Arsenal vs Olympiacos then head on over to the betting page. Alternatively, you can check out some of the other available fixtures on the soccer predictions page as this season’s Europa League drama returns.