Arsenal vs Olympiacos Preview: How To Watch, Kick-Off Time, Team News, Predicted Line-Ups & Ones To Watch
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Goalscorer Youssef El Arabi of Olympiakos celebrates after scoring the winning goal in extra-time during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match between Arsenal FC and Olympiacos FC at Emirates Stadium on February 27, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Arsenal will be looking for redemption in their Europa League round of 16 tie against Olympiacos on Thursday night following last years shock round of 32 Europa League exit to the Greek side. 

The Gunners crashed out of the competition last year on away goals following a 2-2 aggregate scoreline over two legs. However, Mikel Arteta's side have since shown a resilience to their game after overcoming S.L. Benfica in the round of 32, beating the Portuguese side 4-3 on aggregate. 

Meanwhile Pedro Martins' Olympiacos spectacularly saw off Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven thanks to an 88th minute goal from Ahmed Hassan in an enthralling 5-4 victory over two legs and will be looking to continue their fine home form of late.

With last years surprise Europa League exit still haunting Arsenal and a place in the quarter-final up for grabs, it is no exaggeration that this game is the most important in the Gunners' season so far. 

  • Team News

Arteta will have the luxury of a near full strength side to choose from. 

Emile Smith Rowe (hip) did not feature against Burnley in the Premier League, however the 20-year-old has since returned to full training and will continue to be assessed ahead of Thursday's fixture. 

The same cannot be said for Olympiacos, as Thrylos are in the midst of a defensive injury crisis. Rúben Semedo (knee) and Avraam Papadopolous (adductor) will be unavailable whilst Ousseynou Ba was withdrawn after 18 minutes against Lamia on Sunday. 

This means former Arsenal centre-back Sokratis Papastathopolous will likely partner either Yann M'Vila or Mohamed Drager at the heart of the defence. 

Mady Camara was suspended for Olympiacos' victory in the league over the weekend, however the 24-year-old midfielder will return to the fray on Thursday night. 

  • Predicted Line-Ups

Arsenal: Leno; Soares, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Ødegaard, Pépé; Aubameyang.

Olympiacos: Sa; Lala, Sokratis, M'Vila, Reabciuk; Camara, Bouchalakis; Valbuena, Fortounis, Bruma; El-Arabi.

Last Meeting

The Gunners faithful would probably like to forget the last few meetings between the two sides which have resulted in turmoil for the North London club. 

The first leg of last seasons Europa League meeting ended in a 1-0 away win for Arsenal with Alexandre Lacazette grabbing the games only goal. 

However the return fixture would not be as fruitful for the English side, with Olympiacos claiming a 2-1 victory with goals from Pape Cissé and Youssef El-Arabi which was enough to see the Greek side progress. 

  • Ones To Watch

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Arsenal

Arsenal will need to utilise their talismanic captain if they are to progress against a resilient Olympiacos side, with the Gabonese striker illustrating his pedigree with two crucial goals against Benfica. 

Aubameyang has a prolific goalscoring record in the Europa League, registering 22 goals and five assists in 38 games. His pace in behind will be a weapon worth utilising against a ramshackle Olympiacos defence and he should be able to stretch the likes of Sokratis and M'Vila. 

Youssef El-Arabi - Olympiacos. Despite being 34-years-old and in the twilight of his career, El-Arabi has been the standout performer for Olympiacos this season and has notched 20 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions. 

The Moroccan international is an intelligent striker who likes to move in between the lines and can pop up anywhere in the attacking third of the pitch which will be something for the Arsenal defenders to consider.

El-Arabi's exploits in the last meeting between these two sides will be fresh in the minds of the Gunners and it is imperative that the likes of Gabriel and Rob Holding negate his attacking threat.

  • Pre-Match Thoughts

Arteta was asked during his pre-match press conference about the previous results against Olympiacos and whether or not revenge was on the minds of his players.

He said: "Obviously it was a really tough one to swallow. The way it happened at the end, it was really cruel.

"After everything we did in the two games, to lose the way we did and with the late chance Auba had... But we moved on. We have some feelings towards that team and we want to put it right in the next round."

The Spaniard was also asked whether he believed this current Arsenal side were more resilient than they were this time last year, to which he responded:

"I think we are a better team than we were last year. Looking back at the two games that we played and the way we are playing now, I think we have come a long way."

Meanwhile, former Arsenal man Sokratis has opened up to Football London about the prospect of facing his old side in the Europa League.

He said: "I spoke with them [his old team mates] and of course it's strange [to be facing Arsenal] but I want to win - I want to go to the next round with Olympiacos. Friendship is one thing but qualification is another."

When asked about whether or not he had given any tips to his new coach, Sokratis said:

"We didn't speak a lot. We already have good coaches who analyse how Arsenal play and know their advantages and weaknesses.

"I think in today's modern game Arsenal know what we can do and what we cannot, thanks to analysts and other tools."

  • How To Watch

Arsenal face Olympiacos on Thursday 11th March 2021 and will be available to watch on BT Sport with kick-off at 20:00 GMT. 

Alternatively, you can keep up to date with live updates on the VAVEL website.