Worrying pointers ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Olympiacos

Olympiakos Preview by Dan Smith

Let’s make it clear, player for player we are better than Olympiakos.

Take away the fact that they knocked us out last season, and on paper this is a winnable tie to reach the Q-Finals.

When you consider Man United have to face AC Milan, the draw could have been a lot worse.

I believe mentality is a huge thing though in Sport. Quality can only take you so far, the rest is in your head. There might be a few aspects the Greek Champions feel they can take advantage of against Arsenal.

 

Here Are A Few Things Worth Considering?

Sokratis Factor

The narrative is Sokratis revealing all our secrets to Olympiakos. While that’s a bit dramatic, there’s every incentive for our ex-defender to come back and haunt us.

The centre back wasn’t considered good enough for our squad, so it would be ironic if he got the last laugh. If I wasn’t a Gooner, given how we treated him, I would say it would be written in the stars for him to be the difference

 

Even Records

The two clubs have officially played each other 10 times, with 5 wins each.

Arsenal have won their last two visits to Olympiakos while the Greeks have won their last 2 trips to the Emirates.

 

– Olympiakos Are Used To Winning

While you can’t compare the Super League with the quality of the Premier League, the fact is Olympiakos have a squad used to winning every week. If, like me, you believe the psychological aspect of Sport is massive, it doesn’t matter the level of opposition, the fact is that winning breeds confidence. The Greek Champions have only lost once in their League this campaign, winning 20 put of a possible 25 fixtures, having gone unbeaten last season.

Arsenal on the other hand have lost as many games as they have won domestically (11). So while our opponents have momentum to play with, we don’t know which Gunners will show up.

 

Olympiakos Home Record

This might depend on how much you take seriously home advantage without fans in the stadium. Again though Olympiakos have a group of players who have that momentum of not losing at home.

You have to go back to September 2018 for the last League match they lost at the Karaiskakis Stadium. Porto and Man City did win there in the Champions League. Us and Bayern Munich won their last season so that does show they don’t necessarily translate their domestic form into to Europe.

 

– We Have To Win Europa League

Olympiakos are 16 points clear at the top of their League after 25 games.

It’s a case of when and not if they are confirmed Champions, which qualifies them for the Champions League. That makes the Europa League a bonus for them.

Where they would like to win the Europa League, we HAVE to win the Europa League. Arsenal have to win this tournament to save their season.

10th in the Premiership, it’s unlikely we will put the run needed to qualify for Europe through a League position, meaning not winning the Europa could have huge financial implications on our future.

I have yet to see enough evidence that we can trust this group of players to cope with that much pressure.

That’s what the Greeks took advantage of last year…….

 

Beat Us Last Year

Last February we were in an identical situation.

With no chance of finishing in the top 4, we knew we had to win the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League. Despite winning the first leg at the Emirates we were crippled by the fear of failure.

That was the last game I attended before COVID. I remember the nervous atmosphere that night and how the visitors sensed we were crippled by anxiety. Maybe it’s one of the few games where we will cope better without supporters inside stadiums?

 

Predictions Gooners?

 

Be Kind In The Comments

 

Dan

16 Comments

  1. ThirdManJW says:

    I think we will go through this time.

    We have massively improved since Xmas. So many goals conceded, especially of late, have been dreadful individual errors, not tactical. Teams consistently struggle to create clear cut scoring opportunities against us these days, because of our tactics and new found resilience.

    So if the players cut out the stupidity (tough because we haven’t got a very good squad, especially central midfield), then we should progress with ease.

    Spurs will be the real test!

  2. gotanidea says:

    I’m not worried at all, because Arteta’s tactics are better than his predecessors’ and there’ll be no Olympiakos supporters to intimidate us

    The only aspect that could ruin Arteta’s plan is our attackers’ and defenders’ concentrations. We’d most likely produce a plethora of clear-cut chances, but the focus is required to convert them into goals

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Emery didn’t lose to Olympiakos; however Wenger did, so who does Arteta have better tactics than? Currently he is none for one; hopefully after Thursday, Arteta’s record is one all.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Arteta’s tactics are better than both of them

        1. Innit says:

          Emery won 3 ELs so I rate his tactics higher

          So far MA has guided us to the present position of worst standing in decades

        2. Dan says:

          Are you just saying things for attention ?
          As in if a manager finishes in our worse position in 25 years how could he then be a better tactician then others ?

  3. Harrison Lee says:

    The zeal and hunger for this competition will make us win tonight’s game with 2goals away.

  4. Highbury Hero says:

    1. The strength of the opponent matters more than getting used to win. If that were the case the likes of Celtic would’ve been Champions League contenders every season.

    2. It doesn’t matter if the other contenders have already secured the champions League spots in their respective leagues. Winning the trophy is an incentive enough and we should expect them to go all in especially since they already have champions league spot. No pressure for them.

    3. I am rooting for Arsenal to win the competition as a champions League place will help a lot in all areas going forward and it will cement Arteta’s position as a man to take us forward. Failing to do so and the club should go for more experience next season.

  5. Kenny says:

    Nonsense. We are number 10 means MA’s tactics is good? Players’ mistakes are not managers’ problem? Why less players’ mistakes during his predecessors?

    A very biased comment!

  6. Hope says:

    Even though we have or problems I expect us to win this difficult game for many resons:
    – We have never lost in EL this year
    – We hve to get our revenge on lympiacos
    – We got past Benfica which was quite difficult
    So if we could avoid costly mistakes (Xhaka Ceballos Luiz style) we should be able to get a result

  7. jon fox says:

    Dan’s article gives many “reasons”(to him anyway) why we might struggle, while,it seems to me , deliberately skating over the sheer relative difference inquality between our PREM and the Greek league. AND ignoring the clear difference in quality between the two teams, in our favour.

    To my sober mind, all Dans “reasons” do not amount to a can of beans COMPARED WITH the all important gulf in quality between the two teams.

    As evidence for my view I suggest anyone in doubt looks at all the bookies odds to see their opinion! THEY make very few mistakes in assessing odds.

    1. Dan says:

      Jon we would have said that last season ?

      1. jon fox says:

        Dan Your reasons and my “not worth a canof beans” phrase was because home records in a much weaker and NON comparable league, plus previous games are of NO relevance whatever to todays game, whereas PRESENT, NOT PAST, but present team quality is of vital import and far more importance to getting a prediction right than all of your non viable reasons put toigether.

        I believe you are trying to make your “facts” make a substantial case but they don;t Dan, they don’t! My one simple fact does !

        LAST SEASON NOR ANY PREVIOUS SEASON HAS ZERO BEARING ON NOW. So many fans constantly make that error.

  8. TH14-TW14 says:

    “10th in the Premiership, it’s unlikely we will put the run needed to qualify for Europe through a League position, meaning not winning the Europa could have huge financial implications on our future.”

    Once upon a time, we were told:

    1) Top 4 is not an achievement (how they wish now to come 6th).
    2) It makes no meaning to play in the Champions League if we don’t win it (Didn’t know the revenue was useless or the joy of UCL games).
    3) We need to drop out of Champions League so that the manager will be sacked (now they beg for Europa qualification).

    Life is like a pot of porridge.

  9. Iykmatt says:

    Gotanidea is someone i will really love to punch in the mouth for his many stupid opinions/comments

    1. Admin Pat says:

      And for that simple comment you are now banned from JA.
      Come back when you grow up eh?

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