Alexandre Lacazette Rescues Arsenal on the Greek Road


Arsenal built on Sunday's 4-0 triumph over Newcastle United as they left Greece with heads high after the first leg of the Europa League last 32 match with Olympiacos.

Mikel Arteta took no chances in his first game in charge in the competition, a fact vividly evident in the lineup he employed for the night's contest.

One would normally not see the likes of Bernd Leno and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the starting eleven on such a day but it was a different case on Thursday night.

Five players including Guendouzi, Sokratis and Lacazette made it back into the starting side. Bellerin and Ozil were left out totally.

Starting XI: Leno, Mustafi, Sokratis, David Luiz, Saka, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Martinelli, Willock, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Subs: Martinez, Holding, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Ceballos, Pepe, Nketiah

The hosts sounded quick warnings making us know that they are in for serious business. First was a Valbuena volley that forced Leno to a diving save. Closely following that chance was a header which found its way over.

Aubameyang did well to plant a cross in the paths of Martinelli and Lacazette who could not connect with it. The latter later got a backheel pass from the former before he was blocked by one of the opposition defenders.

Olympiacos really gave us a tough time, especially for the greater part of the first half. They were also smart in the next. However, despite their doggedness, they still had to succumb to our class.

A lot of appreciation has to go to Leno for making those numerous saves. If not for him, the goal we would later score would have been a consolation.

Our breakthrough came late in the encounter with the duo of Auba and Bukayo Saka gifting Laca the chance to push one in from close range. That was his second in two consecutive games after a long absence from the score books.

Maybe we would have scored more if the Frenchman's attempt wasn't obstructed. Sokratis also saw his header hit the bar to keep our win at 1-0.

Arsenal are at advantage ahead of the return leg tie coming up at the Emirates Stafoum next Thursday. Tonight's away goal gives us the edge.

Before then, we will lock horns with Everton on our ground in the Premier League.

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