Arsenal Team News vs Olympiacos: Saka, Pepe, Martinelli & Aubameyang

Arsenal will be aiming to finish the job when play hosts to Olympiacos on Thursday evening to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Uefa Europa League.

The Gunners already have a 3-1 lead in the tie and of their goals happen to be of the away variety and this should give Mikel Arteta’s side some freedom, looseness and relaxation when they take to the pitch on Thursday.

And ahead of second-leg tie with Greek champions, Mikel Arteta has provided an injury updates on Bukayo Saka, who was substituted at half-time during Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Spur after feeling his hamstring during the opening 45 minutes at the Emirates.

But, according to the Spanish coach, the 19-year-old starlet is feeling ‘much better’ and they will make a decision over his potential involvement against Olympiacos after he’s completed his fitness test this afternoon.

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s crucial clash against Olympiacos: ‘He was doing another test. He felt something muscular but he’s been much better and evolving well. We will make the decision this afternoon about what we will do.’

The Gunners boss Mikel Arteta also offered some words on the situation surrounding Gabriel Martinelli, who struggling with playing of time this season.

The 19-year-old Brazilian forward hasn’t featured in any of Arsenal’s last nine matches in all competitions prompting questions from some fans about what’s going on behind the scenes.

However, Mikel Arteta insists Martinelli has done ‘everything perfect’ and has a terrific attitude, he just need’s to be patient and he’ll get his chance in the first-team.

‘No if anything it’s my fault. He’s done everything perfect. His attitude cannot be any better. He needs to be a little bit patient. He will get his chance.’

Concerning the situation which saw club skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang dropped from the starting XI against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, Mikel Arteta has confirmed the situation has been resolved and Gabon international is expected to lead his side attacking lineup against Olympiacos on Thursday evening.

The 31-year-old, who scored 14 goals across all competitions this season, was left on the bench during the north London derby after turning up late for the game in what was viewed as a breach of pre-match protocol.

But Mikel Arteta is adamant the incident has now been put to bed and that his top scorer will be available to face Olympiacos on Thursday evening.

‘We talked, everything has been resolved in a really positive way,’ said the Gunners head coach. So we move forward.

‘Everybody has to obviously perform at the highest level to earn his place in the team and there is no exceptions there. We will try out a really competitive team to try and win the game.’

Meanwhile, Nicolas Pepe is expected to start on the right-hand-side of the attack over Bukayo Saka, with England star likely to give a break, as well as prepare for really important game with West Ham United on Sunday.

Nicolas Pepe made an impact off the bench against Spurs, playing the ball through for Alexandre Lacazette in the build-up to the penalty and he deserves some game time.

Mikel Arteta also speaking about Mohamed Elneny contribution in his team as Egyptian likely to start against Olympiacos on Thursday after made an instant impact, netted a stunning strike to extend Arsenal lead to 3-1.

‘Well it was really important for the team because it puts things in a much better place for us. So it was a crucial goal. Extremely happy with him because he works really, really hard every day,’ said Mikel Arteta.

‘He’s been practising in training with Roundy [Steve Round] quite a lot. He trains shots so when you practice that you get rewards and I’m happy that Mo did that.’

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