Arsenal v Olympiacos


Arsenal v Olympiacos

Scouting Report - Olympiacos

Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Arsène Wenger's side welcome Olympiacos to Emirates Stadium in the Champions League on Tuesday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.


Arsenal have become accustomed to facing Olympiacos in the Champions League, but the Greek champions’ high player turnover means many of these players will be unknowns.

Boasting a solid, settled defence and plenty of attacking options, Olympiacos are also capable of playing in various formations.

Coach Marco Silva, in his first campaign with the club after impressing with hometown side Sporting Lisbon last season, likes his side to play structured but positive football, and will probably send out a very organised side to play quick counter-attacking football on Tuesday.

Spanish goalkeeper Roberto is a fine shot-stopper, and has recovered from some embarrassing moments earlier in his career, particularly during a stint at Benfica. He will probably play behind a relatively deep defensive line, marshalled by centre backs Manuel da Costa - a physical defender who isn’t particularly gifted in possession - and the more cultured Dimitris Siovas, who has experience of playing in midfield.

Neither are quick, which means Theo Walcott might fancy his chances of getting in behind.

Olympiacos like to push their full backs forward when possible, with right-sided Omar Elabdellaoui particularly good at scampering into attack, and capable of playing on the right of midfield if required. On the opposite side, Arthur Masuaku is similarly dynamic.

A major summer signing was Esteban Cambiasso, recruited after a season in the Premier League with Leicester. The former European Cup winner brings tremendous experience and discipline to the deep-lying midfield role, although at this stage of his career he struggles against quick, mobile No 10s and Mesut Ozil might be capable of finding space either side.

Esteban Cambiasso's defensive work at Emirates Stadium in February 2015

Esteban Cambiasso's defensive work at Emirates Stadium in February 2015

The identity of the more attacking players depends on what formation Silva uses - a 4-3-3, a 4-2-3-1 and a midfield diamond are all possible. In the 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on matchday one, pre-match teamsheets suggested a diamond but it was in fact a 4-3-3.

Silva is likely to use a lone striker, but Olympiacos have been struggling for goals from this position - their first 11 goals of the season were all scored by midfielders.

Ex-West Brom striker Ideye Brown will probably get the nod over Icelandic forward Alfred Finnbogason as he’s more dangerous on the counter-attack, and better at holding up the ball - but the main threat comes from the attacking midfielders.

Esteban Cambiasso in action against Mesut Ozil

Esteban Cambiasso in action against Mesut Ozil

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