Arsenal's French striker Alexandre Lacazette celebrates after he scores the opening goal of the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg football match between Olympiakos and Arsenal at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, near Athens, on February 20, 2020. (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI / AFP) (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal took a significant lead against Olympiacos in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 tie by securing a narrow 1-0 victory in Athens.

The Gunners created a few opportunities in the first-half but failed to take full advantage of those chances. While Olympiacos did look organised at the back, they also provided a lot of threat on the counter.

In the second half, Arsenal surprisingly looked dejected as the hosts started to look more threating. They even created numerous chances and should have scored at least one goal. But, then they drifted away, allowing Arsenal to find the opener through Alexandre Lacazette. It was a nervy ending for the visitors, but they somehow managed to preserve their slender one-goal lead in the end and arguably should have scored atleast one more.

Arsenal Players Rated In Their Win Over Olympiacos

Bernd Leno 8.5/10

Made an excellent save to deny none other than David Luiz from scoring an own goal in the first half. The German was also alert to deny Olympiacos from getting ahead from a set-piece in the second half. Spilt one free-kick but did well to grab the ball in the end. Stepped onto the plate whenever required.

Sokratis 7/10

Sokratis was barely involved in anything going forward, which is understandable. Moreover, the ex-Dortmund star looked to have been identified as the weak link in the Arsenal defence as Olympiacos poured men forward from the right-hand side. A nervy performance from the defender upon his return to Athens.

Shkodran Mustafi 8.5/10

It was yet another tremendous defensive display from Shkodran Mustafi. The German was committed and solid at the back and provided the physical and aerial dominance that was necessary for Arsenal to keep Olympiacos at bay. He seems to be improving a lot under Mikel Arteta.

David Luiz 8/10

It looks like David Luiz has finally found a reliable partner in Mustafi. The German’s defensive work-rate allowed the ex-Chelsea star to become more expressive in the build-up. He did look clumsy, at times, with his clearances but it was overall, a decent defensive display from the Arsenal star.

Bukayo Saka 8/10

Not the flashiest player on the pitch, but the youngster always seems to deliver. He was quite comfortable rotating possession and did well to hurry the opposition whenever it was required. It was his accurate cross that led to Lacazette’s opener.

Granit Xhaka 7.5/10

It wasn’t the best of performances from Granit Xhaka. The Swiss international kind of looked out of pace, especially in the second half. Some of his passes were excellent while he also created a host of turnovers during the late stage of the game. But, for someone who has been really consistent under Arteta, this was a rather mediocre display.

Arsenal players celebrate with Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette after he scores the opening goal of the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg football match between Olympiakos and Arsenal at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, near Athens, on February 20, 2020. (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Matteo Guendouzi 7/10

Much like Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi failed to impose his authority in the middle of the park. The Frenchman made a host of tame challenges and just wasn’t competent enough to deal with the Olympiacos midfielders.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 7.5/10

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked out of pace for the majority of the game. He was barely involved on the right-hand channel, especially due to very little support from Sokratis.

However, the Gabonese international was very effective when he switched to his desired left-wing role following Nicolas Pepe’s introduction. He quickly made a mark by delivering the pass to Saka, whose cross eventually led to Lacazette’s opener.

Joe Willock 7/10

Willock was a real spark during the first phase of the game. The Englishman looked lively with the ball at his feet and helped Arsenal create a few scoring opportunities. His decision making was sometimes off however, while he also faded in the second half before being subbed off.

Gabriel Martinelli 7.5/10

A brilliant skill to pass the ball out to Lacazette in the first half was the highlight of Gabriel Martinelli’s performance this evening. He wasn’t particularly bad, combining well with Willock, at times. But, he was shockingly hooked off by Arteta in the second-half as he made way for Dani Ceballos.

Alexandre Lacazette 7.5/10

Missed a glorious opportunity to score in the first half. Received two more chances to score late in the game, one of which was calmly converted while Jose Sa excellently saved the other one. Not the most convincing display from the Frenchman but his poaching skills were crucial behind Arsenal’s win.

SUBSTITUTES

Dani Ceballos 7.5/10

Replaced Martinelli in the 58th minute and added more composure in Arsenal’s build-up and possession. While he certainly wasn’t a game-changer, his presence was crucial in easing the transition.

Nicolas Pepe N/A

Came in for Willock during the final phase of the game but had very little time to make any noticeable impact on the proceedings.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles N/A 

Replaced the injured Sokratis late in the game.

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.