Olympiakos vs ArsenalUEFA Europa League, KO: 20:00 Feb 20, 2020, Karaiskaki Stadium
MIKEL Arteta will take charge of Arsenal in the Europa League for the first time on Thursday night when the Gunners travel to Greece to take on Olympiakos.
The north London outfit have shown signs of improvement under the Spaniards stewardship and they will be aiming to continue their upward progression in Athens against the Greek champions.
Arteta has avoided defeat in all but one of his ten games since taking the reigns at the Emirates and the capital club will be high in confidence following Sunday's 4-0 win over Newcastle.
Arsenal were underwhelming during the Europa League group-phase where they often fielded under-strength sides, however, given their domestic struggles, a triumph in this tournament is increasingly looking like their best route into next season's Champions League.
Olympiakos participated in this season's Champions League and their solitary success on matchday six against Red Star Belgrade provided the Piraeus club with a parachute into the Europa League.
Domestically, Pedro Martins men lead the way in the Greek Super League and the hosts will go into this tussle having not tasted defeat in their last 18 matches across all competitions.
The Betting Odds
Olympiakos are an unfancied 11/5 with Bet 365 to take a first-leg lead to London and a share of the spoils pays 12/5 with the same firm.
Arsenal are 5/4 favourites with Ladbrokes to put the Greeks to the sword inside the Karaiskaki Stadium on Thursday night.
The Betting Angles
Olympiakos were competitive and spirited against both Spurs and Bayern Munich in the Champions League and the German giants are the only side who have left this venue victorious this season.
Therefore, the Gunners can expect a stern test in Greece and the leaky Londoner's will have to keep a close eye on Olympiakos' leading goalscorer Youseef El-Arabi who has racked up 22 goals this season.
I successfully tipped the big Moroccan striker to make the bulge against Red Star Belgrade and given that he also hit the back of the net against Bayern and Tottenham, the 15/8 (PaddyPower) on offer for El-Arabi to strike against a ropey Arsenal rearguard takes appeal.
Yet, given the superior quality that Arteta has at his disposal I do fancy Arsenal to get on the scoresheet in the Greek capital, but backing both teams to score looks slightly short at 8/13 with Bet 365.
However, those odds can be boosted up to a much more attractive looking 10/11 (Bet 365) by adding each team to collect one card and that combination catches the eye in what could be a fiery contest inside the hostile cauldron that is the Karaiskaki Stadium.
What's more, Arsenal are the most ill-disciplined team in the Premier League this term and Olympiakos have clocked up eight cautions in their last two European outings.
In terms of who will come out on top, this is a tricky game to call given how unreliable Arsenal are away from the Emirates as well as the fact that the hosts are rarely turned over on their own turf.
However, I do fancy the Gunners to pick up a a positive result in Piraeus and an alternative angle that that I like the look of is to combine Arsenal on the double chance alongside over 1.5 match goals which pays 3/4 with Bet 365 – a bet that would have banked profit in seven of the 10 games that Arteta has taken charge of.
This UEFA Europa League match between Olympiakos and Arsenal will be played on Feb 20, 2020 and kick off at 20:00