Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.
Arsène Wenger's side take on Olympiacos at Karaiskakis Stadium on Wednesday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.
Olympiacos’ approach against Arsenal will be influenced heavily by the unusual nature of this final group game - a draw will send the Greek champions through to the second round, as will a Gunners victory of 2-1 or 1-0.
Therefore, there’s little need for Olympiacos to come out all guns blazing, and they’re likely to take a patient approach - besides, they’ve averaged just 40.5 per cent possession in the Champions League so far this season, the fourth-lowest in the entire competition.
As the positions of their tackles at the Emirates demonstrated, they only attempted to win possession inside their own half.
Spanish goalkeeper Roberto is protected by a defence likely to sit deep and narrow. The full-back duo of Arthur Masuaku and Omar Elabdellauoi are both converted wingers and naturally bomb forward, but will be reluctant to create space for Arsenal to counter-attacks into.
Masuaku is keen to stick tight to opponents and win the ball quickly, though, so Hector Bellerin might be able to get forward into space on the overlap.
Coach Marco Silva has used both a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 system in this season’s Champions League, with the former more likely and the wingers dropping back to form a 4-4-1-1 system without the ball.
Veteran Esteban Cambiasso should be the most defensive-minded midfielder, with Luka Milivojevic an intelligent deep-lying passer, and Konstantinos Fortounis given most freedom to push forward into attack and created chances.
Hernani and Seba, two quick, energetic but somewhat inconsistent wingers will counter-attack when possible, but lone striker Brown Ideye will probably be isolated for long periods. Although his natural game is to run in behind defence, he’ll probably be tasked with holding up the ball and waiting for midfield runners.
Although Olympiacos won’t attack regularly, they’ll throw men forward when possible, and Arsenal must be defensively disciplined even when chasing goals.
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