Sky Sports pundit states his prediction for Olympiakos v Arsenal
Charlie Nicholas is backing Arsenal to draw with Olympiakos in Greece on Thursday night
Charlie Nicholas is tipping Arsenal to secure a 1-1 draw at Olympiakos in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday night.
The Gunners will make the trip to Greece fresh from a resounding 4-0 victory over Newcastle United at The Emirates on Sunday evening.
Goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe sealed Arsenal’s second Premier League win under Mikel Arteta.
The Spanish head coach has found victories hard to come by in his Arsenal reign so far, but Arteta has made the Gunners a more resilient outfit.
Arsenal booked their place in the Europa League knockout stage after topping Group F thanks to a late comeback against Standard Liege in their final group-stage fixture.
The north London side have beaten Ostersund and BATE Borisov in their last two Europa League round of 32 ties in the last two seasons.
Former Arsenal midfielder Nicholas is backing the Gunners to earn a draw at Olympiakos in the first leg of their last-32 tie on Thursday night.
“I am not getting carried away after the weekend win over Newcastle. You can genuinely feel, even with Mikel Arteta’s second win, that they are becoming dogged and a better all-round side,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
“He is prepared to look at other players. If a team were to benefit from the winter break, it would have been Arsenal; they needed it. The draws were becoming a concern, as was the league position.
“The fans have liked what they have seen, and quite like the unity, but that is something they have been disguising for a while. He has told them a few home truths, some have accepted more than others, like Mesut Ozil, who seems to be on the up again.
“Some young players are playing well. It was harsh on Gabriel Martinelli to miss out, and Mateo Guendouzi has done well, but he is not moving on at the minute; he has upset Arteta, who wants him fit; he will not be there until he sorts himself out.
“Olympiakos won well at the weekend so we could be in for a good game. It is more promising for Arsenal that is for sure, but the clean sheets won’t keep coming, I don’t think.”
Arsenal will host their Greek opponents at The Emirates on Thursday 27 February in the return leg.
The Gunners will take on Everton in the Premier League at The Emirates on Sunday before the second leg.