Willian out as Arteta makes 3 changes | Expected Arsenal line-up vs Olympiacos
Arsenal take on Olympaicos in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday night. Here is the team Gooner Mac expects Mikel Arteta to select:
Goalkeeper: There will be no change in goal for Arsenal as Bernd Leno will once again start between the sticks so Mat Ryan will act as his back-up on the bench.
Defence: Arteta is expected to make a couple of changes in defence with Hector Bellerin recalled to start at right-back after being rested for the 1-1 draw at Burnley on Saturday. Calum Chambers will be the man to make way while Kieran Tierney should keep his place at left-back.
Pablo Mari enjoyed a solid game in the middle of the Arsenal defence at the weekend but I expect we’ll see Gabriel recalled to start alongside David Luiz against Olympiacos tomorrow night. Therefore, Mari will drop out to join Rob Holding on the bench.
Midfield: Thomas Partey came through the Burnley game unscathed and was in fine form for much of that match so I fully expect him to start in the Europa League clash as he’s a vital player for Arsenal when he’s fully fit.
Granit Xhaka made a huge error at Turf Moor which cost Arsenal two points but I just don’t see Arteta dropping him so I expect the boss to stick by the Swiss international. That means Dani Ceballos and Mo Elneny will remain among the substitutes.
Emile Smith Rowe returned to training today after missing the Burnley game with a knock. A late decision will be made over whether he’ll be available to face Olympiacos but I think we’ll see Martin Odegaard keeping his place in the attacking midfield role tomorrow.
Attack: Bukayo Saka didn’t have his best game at the weekend but I think he’ll still keep his place against Olympiacos while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should continue to lead the line up front with Alexandre Lacazette among the Arsenal subs.
Willian got another assist on Saturday and his form is slightly improving but I still expect to see him drop to the bench tomorrow with Nicolas Pepe in-line for a recall. Gabriel Martinelli will have to make do with another night on the bench.
Here is how I think we’ll see Arsenal line-up:
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