Arsenal finished off a strong performance against Newcastle at the weekend by storming out 4-0 winners. The numbers might flatter them a bit after a first half was a rather mediocre football match at best. Any convincing win in their position is welcomed with open arms though.
Thursday they are back in action in the Europa League when they travel to Greece to take on Olympiakos. The Greeks enter the competition via the group stages in the Champions League. Arsenal won their group in the Europa League rather unconvincingly but who cares now that the decisive matches are coming up.
The weekend performance against Newcastle was a great way to prepare for an important European fixture, but which team will Arteta field tonight? Arsenal fans know that taking on Olympiakos away can be treacherous. They have had to play this fixture a few times in recent years.
It’s a tough trip for the best of teams and Arsenal are a long way from being in that class. Their away record this season is close to appalling with four wins from 18 on the road in all competitions. Should Arteta opt to field a side under par with their best 11 they may not have the resolve to escape this match unharmed.
The midseason appointment of the Spaniard appears to have strengthened their mentality with one defeat in the ten games since he was appointed. However, only four wins during that time suggest that they have a problem with finishing; Sunday’s four-goal win being the first time Arteta’s Arsenal have scored more than two in a game would support this.
Olympiakos will most likely not be as generous as Newcastle. They scored in all three group matches at home and not against poor sides, while Arsenal conceded in all three away matches in the group stages. They also scored though so we are looking for both sides to find the net. With four draws from their past six matches and two draws from three away games in the group stages the draw also looks a value bet.