Europa League

Europa League: Where can Olympiacos hurt Arsenal?

The Gunners successfully progressed to the last 16 in dramatic circumstances,, defeating Benfica

9:50am on Thursday 11th March 2021
Martin Macdonald

Arsenal take on Greek outfit Olympiacos in the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday.

In the last round, they had to rely on a goal within the last five minutes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to win 3-2 on the night and 4-3 on away goals to progress from the round of 32.

The draw for the last 16 took place a couple of weeks ago, and with any and all teams available to play, the Gunners could have been drawn alongside the likes of fellow Premier League sides Manchester United and Tottenham, or other European big hitters like Villarreal or Milan.

In the end, they secured a favourable tie against a side they will be expected to beat.

However, Olympiacos do have the personnel to cause them problems.

How good have Olympiacos been in the Europe this season?

In short, not very.

The Greek side were drawn alongside Manchester City, Porto, and Marseille in Group C of the Champions League, and only managed to win one out of their six games.

Man City and Porto progressed with 16 and 13 points respectively, with Olympiacos only gaining entry into the Europa League due to their superior goal difference to Marseille.

They scored just two goals in the group stage, and conceded 10.

They did, however, impressively knock out PSV in the last 32 of the Europa League, so they have appear to have found their level.

Who is their danger man?

Kenny Lala has an overall FC Rating of 74 for his performances this season, but it terms of an outright threat to Arsenal, they should be keeping an eye on veteran striker Youssef El Arabi.

The Moroccan has scored an impressive 17 goals in 16 starts in the Greek Super League this season, and has a couple of goals in Europe, too, including one against PSV in the first leg of the last 32 tie.

Who pulls the strings?

Club captain Kostas Fortounis has the most assists for Olympiacos this season with nine, but none of these have come in Europe so far.

He is the creator-in-chief in his role just behind the striker in the number 10 position, and averaged 19.4 passes sent into the final third in the Champions League group stage, as well as 2.7 dribbles and 3.9 crosses per 90.

In three appearances in the Europa League this season, winger Bruma has two assists, also, so is a player Arsenal should be wary of.

Mohamed Mady Camara and Yann M'Vila can usually be found in the centre of the park, and although they are workmanlike, they have contributed 11 goals and assists between them in the league this season.

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