Why Willian misses Arsenal’s Europa League clash with Olympiacos

Willian of Arsenal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 First Leg match between Olympiacos and Arsenal at Karaiskakis Stadium on March 11, 2021 in Piraeus, Greece. Sporting stadiums around Europe remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.
Willian was a notable absentee (Picture: MB Media/Getty)

Willian was a notable absentee from Arsenal’s Europa League squad to face Olympiacos on Thursday night, with the club confirming a calf injury ruled him out.

While the Brazil international was left out of the squad, along with Bukayo Saka who failed a late fitness test on a hamstring injury, club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was recalled.

On Saka’s injury, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told BT Sport: ‘No, he was not fit today.’

Aubameyang was dropped to the bench for the north London derby after arriving late to the match but has been restored to the starting line-up after positive talks with Arteta.

Nicolas Pepe, Hector Bellerin, Dani Ceballos and Mohamed Elneny were also brought back into the starting XI.

Bernd Leno starts in goal, with Bellerin, David Luiz, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney making up the back-four.

Elneny and Granit Xhaka will be in the middle of the park, with Pepe, Ceballos and Emile Smith Rowe providing support to striker Aubameyang.

Arsenal vs Olympiacos teams

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, David Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Ceballos, Elneny, Xhaka, Pepe, Aubameyang, Smith Rowe

Olympiacos: Sa, Sokratis, Ba, Holebas, Reabciuk, Androutsos, M’Vila, Camara, Masouras, Fortounis, El Arabi

Young goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo, 19, is included on the bench. His contract expires at the end of the season.

He is joined among the substitutes by Gabriel Martinelli, Mat Ryan, Cedric Soares, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Thomas Partey, Thomas Odegaard, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette.

There is a familiar face in the opposition.

Former Arsenal centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos returns to the Emirates for the first time since leaving the club in January.

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

No comments