Soccer

Four lessons Arsenal must have learned since Olympiacos heartbreak 13 months ago

Arsenal will look to avenge last season’s gut-wrenching defeat by Olympiacos when they meet the Greek club again in the last-16 of the Europa League.

Mikel Arteta’s men suffered an agonising last-32 exit against Olympiacos at The Emirates in 2019/20, with Youssef El Arabi sliding home a dramatic winner for the visitors in the final minute of extra-time.

But 13 months on from that loss, the Gunners have the chance to gain revenge when they meet them again in the competition on Thursday night.

And ahead of the first leg out in Greece, Daily Star Sport have drawn up a list of four lessons Arteta and co should bear in mind.

Avoid second-leg complacency

Arsenal went into their second leg against Olympiacos last season with a 1-0 lead and an away goal in the bank, but it seemed they felt the job was already done by the time the decider came around.

Even if they run out more comfortable winners in Thursday’s first leg, they must avoid any complacency in the second if they want to progress to the quarter-finals.

Take the chances that come

The Gunners didn’t carve out many clear-cut chances over 210 minutes against Pedro Martins’ men last term.

They are a fairly sturdy outfit, only conceding 10 goals in their Champions League group with Manchester City and Porto before they crashed out of the competition, and have only conceded 12 goals in 25 Greek Super League matches.

Thus, Arteta’s men need to be as clinical as ever and take their chances when they do arrive over the course of the two legs.

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    Stay alert when defending set-pieces

    Both of Olympiacos’ goals on the night came from set-pieces; Pape Abou Cisse was left completely unmarked when he headed them in front from a corner, while El Arabi was also free to poke in the winner at the back post when they put the ball back into the box from a cleared corner.

    Arteta must not forget the threat they posed from dead-ball situations last season and ensure his side are better drilled to avoid a repeat this time around.

    Use common sense

    While it’s not specifically related to last season’s match, Arsenal also need to avoid making costly mistakes similar to Granit Xhaka’s at Burnley last weekend.

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    The Swiss midfielder paid the price for being too hesitant when trying to play out from the back, sending his attempt at a lofted pass inside the box off the chest of Ashley Barnes and into his own net.

    A similar error over the two legs with Olympiacos could be enough to dump them out of the competition again.

    READ MORE:Thomas Partey’s only been at 100 per cent for two Arsenal games due to fitness woe

    READ MORE:Arsenal fans spot furious reaction from coach after Granit Xhaka error

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