Prediction and odds for the game: (Olympiakos 15/8) v Arsenal (11/8)
We are backing the over 2.5 goals at odds of 4/5
When: Thursday 20th February 2020, Kick-off 8 PM
Where: The Stadio Georgios Karaiskaki
On Thursday night, Premier League Arsenal face a tricky trip to Olympiakos in the first leg of the last-32 in the Europa League.
The Greek side has already crashed and burned in the Champions League this season. They finished third in a tough group containing Bayern Munich, Tottenham and Red Star Belgrade. However, the Europa League is likely to much more the Greek side’s pace.
Since a 4-2 defeat at Arsenal’s local rivals Spurs in the Champions League, Olympiakos are undefeated in 14 games in all competitions. The Greek side has also found their shooting boots in the Greek Super League, scoring 50 goals in just 24 outings.
The goalscoring form of veteran French striker Youssef El-Arabi has been a big factor in their attacking prowess this season. The 33-year-old has scored 23 goals in all competitions, including five in the Champions League.
The fact that Olympiakos have won ten of their last 11 matches on home soil in all competitions will give the home side confidence that they can record a positive result. Pedro Martins’ team last suffered a home defeat back in October, when Bayern Munich headed home with a 3-2 victory in the Champions League.
Things seem to be moving in the right direction for Arsenal under Mikel Arteta. A 4-0 home win over Newcastle last time out means that the Gunners are unbeaten in the calendar year of 2020. However, the Spaniard has claimed victory in just four of his 11 games as Arsenal head coach.
The game against Newcastle was significant for Arsenal in the sense that it was the first time that the Gunners had kept back-to-back Premier League clean sheets in nearly a year.
Arsenal’s form may have improved slightly of late, but their away record is still unconvincing of late, as just two wins in their last 14 outings in all competitions illustrates.
The Gunners have an inconsistent recent record in the Europa League, winning just three of their last eight matches in the competition. However, the team from north London will head into this clash unbeaten in three matches in Europe’s secondary competition on their travels. That record faces a serious test in Greece.
This is definitely not an easy game for either team. Over the two legs, Arsenal will fancy their chances of booking their place in the last-16 of the competition. However, Olympiakos offer a major attacking threat, which is part of the reason we are backing the over 2.5 goals.
We are also backing El-Arabi to be an anytime goalscorer at odds of 15/8. Arsenal may have improved defensively of late, but there are still question marks over their defence.
Verdict: We are backing the over 2.5 goals scored at odds of 4/5 and/or Youssef El-Arabi to be an anytime goalscorer at odds of 15/8.
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Who will come out on top in in this vital Europa League tie?