Olympiakos v Arsenal: How we should lineup for this huge clash

Written by Edward Pitt

March 11, 2021

Arsenal return to Greece this Thursday for the first leg of our Europa League round of 16 tie with Olympiakos. It is a tie that we have to win, we should win, yet because of last year’s clash, one that many Arsenal fans are very nervous for. We will need to field a strong team and be at our best. It is a tie that I want done and dusted in the first leg. We don’t need a repeat of the close call against Benfica. Here is how I think we should line up. Do you agree with my selections?

LENO: It goes without saying that he is the best goalie at the club. He will start

CEDRIC: I’m thinking Bellerin will start as he was rested against Burnley, but again, as I’ve said before, I would go for Cedric. I just think that he is a bit more positive and helpful in the final third

HOLDING: Arteta has been liking the Luiz/Mari partnership in the last few games, but for me there isn’t enough pace in that. Holding has hardly put a foot wrong all season so I’d give him a return to the side

GABRIEL: He is the best centre back at the club and I want to start seeing him playing again. Mari has been solid enough, but I think Gabriel offers a bit more in terms of taking the ball into the midfield

TIERNEY: It’s so nice to have this guy back. Even when he isn’t at his best he is one of our better players on the pitch. He makes whoever his playing ahead of him look so much better

PARTEY: He will surely be one of the first names on the team sheets. Much like Tierney, even when he is below his usual standards he is our best midfielder by some way. We need him in this one

CEBALLOS: I have been so impressed by Ceballos recently. I think he really struggled earlier in the season, but that was at a time when he was more or less the only flair midfielder at the club. Now, his job is a bit simpler. He can play to his strengths which is sitting deep with the game being played ahead of him, and then drive us up the pitch by passing through their press

SAKA: On the right, it has to be Saka. He has been our best player this season. He got a rest against Leicester, put in a decent shift against Burnley and will be ready to lead our attacks against Olympiakos I’m sure

SMITH ROWE: I’m not sure if he will have recovered fully yet, but Arteta doesn’t seem to think his injury at Leicester was anything too serious. If he is fit, I prefer him over Odegaard right now to be honest

AUBAMEYANG: I was so close to putting Pepe on the left and Auba or Lacazette through the middle. In truth, I think that’s what I would do but Arteta will surely play Aubameyang. I am putting him on the left because right now I think that is where he is best. With Tierney staying high and wide, Auba can drift into those dangerous pockets where he scores most of his goals from

LACAZETTE: Our attack just works better with him in the team. When Auba plays on his own through the middle, a lot of our attacks just die out because his strengths aren’t in holding the ball up. Lacazette keeps attacks alive and is so good at bringing others into the attacks at the perfect time

I just want to shout out Nicolas Pepe as well. He is on great form and I would love to see him squeezed in somewhere. Perhaps behind the striker or instead of Auba on the left

 

 

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