[Image] 25-year-old recalled to start, Willian axed: My Arsenal line-up vs Olympiacos

By on March 11, 2021

nicolas pepe arsenal

Arsenal take on Olympiacos in the first leg of our Europa League last-16 tie tonight. This is the team I’d like to see Mikel Arteta select for the match…

The boss has a tricky task to juggle the squad as Arsenal have four huge games coming up over the next 10 days. After tonight’s game against Olympiacos, we face Tottenham on Sunday, the second leg next Thursday before travelling to West Ham three days later so Arteta needs to rotate the players.

I think the Europa League has to be the priority so we should field our strongest side tonight and that means Bernd Leno in goal with Kieran Tierney starting at left-back. I’d go with Gabriel alongside David Luiz in defence with Pablo Mari and Rob Holding missing out. Cedric Soares is pushing Hector Bellerin close for the right-back spot but the latter just edges it.

Granit Xhaka showed once again why he just can’t be relied upon for any length of time. He was playing very well then boom…he makes another basic error that cost Arsenal two points against Burnley. The problem is, we don’t really have anyone more reliable to come in so I’d stick with Xhaka alongside Thomas Partey and hope he has one of his better nights!

Bukayo Saka will obviously start in attack as he’s been Arsenal’s best player for much of the season while I’d like to see Nicolas Pepe come in for Willian. I’m not getting carried away with Willian’s slight uptick in form lately so I’d go with Pepe as I think the 25-year-old is a far more dangerous player on his day.

Emile Smith Rowe is set to return to the squad after missing Arsenal’s draw at Burnley with a hip injury. He’s not going to be fully fit so I’d stick with Martin Odegaard in the No.10 role and use Smith Rowe as a substitute.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will continue up front meaning Alexandre Lacazette is set to remain on the bench along with Gabriel Martinelli.

This would be my line-up:

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