Early predicted line-up for Arsenal against Olympiacos

Arsenal are set to take on Olympiacos on Thursday when we will be looking to seal our place in the draw for the last-16 of the Europa League.

It has pretty much felt like Mikel Arteta has played a game of cards with the Gunners’ faithful who try to predict the changes in his team prior to every match.

The Spaniard has made many changes to his squad, some of which have intrigued more than others.

Rob Holding has been instantly displaced for no reason whatsoever. The Englishman last completed 90 minutes in the Premier League against Aston Villa at the start of February, after playing the full 90 minutes in 20 out of the 25 matches.

His defensive partner Pablo Mari also saw himself sidelined for the match against Olympiacos and then for the North London derby. His exclusion came after a string of fine performances against Leicester and Burnley.

Similarly, Nicolas pepe has found it hard to break into the team after extremely impressing in the past few months. Some said that his Arsenal career was back on track, but his current absence would bring their earlier fears about our record signing back.

We will again try to decipher of what will go through Mikel Arteta’s mind before he chooses his troops for the second leg tie against Olympiacos, with one foot being in the quarter-finals already.

Possible line-up:

Bernd Leno starts in goal. The keeper had barely anything to do against their London rivals Tottenham on Sunday. But considering Olympiacos are three goals down in the tie, he will be expected to be in much more action, and he is a player who Arteta can trust almost blindly.

As they say, “don’t fix what isn’t broken” thus Mikel Arteta would be again expected to favour Brazilian flavour for his centre-back pairing; Gabriel and David Luiz to start.

In the full-back positions, the left back position is where we can give our stance with more confidence. Until Arsenal buy a back-up for Kieran Tierney, he will be expected to play more than they would have hoped for. Hector Bellerin was on the bench for the whole 90 minutes against Jose Mourinho’s side. Thus, he will start.
Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin to start.

Mohamed Elneny might be brought in for Thomas Partey given the Ghanaian has played so many minutes since his long absence from the first-team picture due to injury. Granit Xhaka almost put in a Man of the Match performance on the weekend. Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka to start.

If the injury to Bukaya Saka is not serious, he will take up his right-wing position, where he has shone of late. The left-wing position might be up for a huge discussion. Gabriel Martinelli would be desperately hoping for a chance considering our lead against Olympiacos, but Nicolas Pepe’s form might force Arteta to give the nod to him.
Bukaya Saka and Nicolas Pepe to start.

The competition for the central attacking position would have been fierce if Emile Smith Rowe was not capable of playing on the left to great effect. Smith Rowe’s versatility has only helped Mikel Arteta’s headache when it has come to who to pick for the number 10 position.
But in the midweek Europa League game, Smith Rowe has more chances of playing, with more rest in his legs compared to the newly appointed captain of Norway Martin Odegaard.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was in the headlines on Sunday for his absence for reporting late for the London derby on Sunday. However, it is not one of the most serious incidents and thus will be picked ahead of Alexandre Lacazette, who looked extremely leggy at the latter stages of their 2-1 win.

Bellerin Luiz Gabriel Tierney
Elneny Xhaka
Saka Smith Rowe Pepe

What are your predictions?

Yash Bisht
Connect with the writer via Twitter/Instagram: @yarsenal09

Tags Olympiacos


  1. We’re pretty much guaranteed to proceed to the next EL phase and we’ll face West Ham soon after the Olympiakos game, so I predict Arteta would start more squad rotation players:

    ……………………… Leno
    Bellerin . Holding . Mari . Tierney
    ……………. Ceballos …………. Elneny
    Pepe ………….. Willian …………. Martinelli
    ……………………… Aubameyang

    1. I personally wouldn’t start Ceballos since he’s been heavily involved in the past 3 goals conceded in the Europa League..

      1. I’m sure he’s learned from his mistakes. He’s too skillful and too creative to be benched

    2. EL is our only hope to be back in champions League and you want to play a weak team. No way, no risks this time. Play the strongest team. Start with same team that beat spurs and then make changes based on where the result is heading. I don’t agree with ppl suggesting we should rest players as it can lead to fatigue. This is the only cup competition we are left in and also only chance for that lucrative champions League. What are we going to do with all the fit and fresh players if fail to win this competition and finish outside top 4 as well.

  2. I would guess:

    ————— Leno
    Bellerin – Holding – Mari – Tierney
    ——— Elneny – Xhaka
    Pepe – Willian – Martinelli
    ———– Auba

    I think either of Holding/Mari, Bellerin, Elneny, Willian, Pepe and Auba are almost guaranteed to start.

  3. To start Xhaka, Elneny, Ceballos, when we are 3-1 up at home is pathetic. You never give your enemy a weapon to use against you. That trio would put us in danger of conceding more than one goal. I would certainly play Ode, who holds the ball well. Xhaka to get stuck in and Partey to control the midfield. Ceballos is a headless chicken, and Elneny not good to start with. Give Gabriel Martinelli a chance to start too.

  4. Saka and ESR will be rested for sure and I expect Martinelli will get some game time, at last.I just hope Tierney stays fit and well,but a natural back up for him should be one of our top priorities for next season.

    1. I’d like to see Tierney rested and Cedric shifted to the LB position. We need a fit and rested Tierney against West Ham on Sunday

    1. I agree with this except Cedric for Tierney…
      Tierney needs rest…
      Against Westham Cedric can be benched and Tierney back to LB and Bellerin on RB

  5. Let me say this, I think we need to be factual whe giving credit to players. Rob Holding is a guy I cant quite work out the reason why we kept him. He is the kind whose presence in defence is merely to deal with ordinary stuff. Gabriel cleared of the goal line in NLD, something I never seen Rob doing.

    That’s how teams status is lowered by keeping ordinary players. It appears Arsenal is full of average players who do well sometimes and are given credit for performing ordinary tasks with average performance. Let’s not be too lax coz our defence lacks something. Yes Gabriel is good with physical prowess but we need that french kid away on loan back. We need an improvement the likes of Elneny et all.

    1. Holding was a £2m purchase and he’s good enough as back up. He also wants to stay and is on low wages. Whats the problem? Also homegrown.

      1. Agree mclovin ,he’s a strong back up when needed and could in the future be a main starter ,like you said homegrown and these type of players would cost in excess of 20-30 mil in today’s market .

  6. I do not see the need to predict a team, personally, I would far rather wait to see the actual team picked. REALITY OVER PREDICTIONS FOR ME.

    Just my personal view and I have no objection to others playing this guessing game. But a guessing game is all it is and it tells us nothing of reality at all.

  7. When will our fans learn, Cebollos is over rated and useless player. Any player can have one or two good games in a season. He is inconsistent and brings nothing to the team most of the time. I don’t know why we brought him back on loan while sending better footballers then him away on loan. Let him play in a match we loose then ppl will say he is utterly useless but then when he will play in a match we win, all of a sudden he becomes world class…Elneny and Cebollos both should have been out of the club start of season or worst in January. Not Arsenal material and standard at all.

  8. 1-3 up from the 1st away leg.
    Saka is getting tired, rested.
    SmithRowe keep for Weekend.
    Mari & Holding to start along with Hector and possibly Soares at LB.

    Xhaka – Elneny – Cabellos
    Pepe – Auba – Martinelli

    Laca, SmithRowe, Willian to come on if needs be or Partey for last 15mins give him a run with Luiz there for back up in defence.

    Protect the lead, hit them on the counter but go at them like we did on Sunday v Spurs from the get go.

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