As Arsenal prepare to take on Olympiacos in the first leg of the Europa League round of 32 on Thursday, it has been confirmed that both Mesut Ozil and Lucas Torreira aren’t available for selection.
Ozil has been given permission not to travel for personal reasons, and while the club haven’t provided any further details, BBC report that they “understand” the attacking midfielder’s wife is expected to give birth to their first child soon. As for Torreira, the Uruguay international is currently ill and has been left at home for that reason, though if by some chance he recovers in time, he could yet fly to Athens to join the team for the match.
On the other hand, newcomer Pablo Mari is finally available, and it seems we may get to see a glimpse of what is expected of the defender to bring to Arsenal’s back line.
Calum Chambers, Cedric Soares and Kieran Tierney remain out of action. As you probably know, Chambers won’t be playing again this season, having ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee during the game against Chelsea on December 29th. He underwent surgery that has been declared successful and he has started the rehabilitation process, expected to last between six and nine months. It may well happen that he isn’t available even for the start of 2020/21. Cedric’s work in the gym is progressing well, and he is expected in full training by the end of the month. Tierney’s shoulder injury is mending without any hitches and the former Celtic man has already started group training, though he won’t be back before Cedric.
Meanwhile, Olympiacos boss Pedro Martins has made it clear he has no intention of turning from his usual attacking approach to the game against Arsenal. He is proud of the success his team have had with it and he feels it would be ‘stupid’ to change because they’re playing against a big club.
It seems we’re in for an interesting two-leg duel. Arsenal can be backed to win the first leg in Greece at 11/8.