Arsenal’s last-16 Europa League opponents Olympiacos are facing a defensive injury crisis ahead of Thursday evening’s first leg.
Greek champions Olympiacos go into Thursday’s Europa League Round of 16 first-leg against Arsenal in fine form having lost just two matches in their previous 22 in all competitions.
Their on-pitch form might be excellent but their current injury record is far from it and the Red-Whites took another hit on Sunday during their routine 3-0 win over struggling Lamia.
Just 18 minutes into the match, and with the scoreline already at 2-0, central defender Ousseynou Ba hobbled off the pitch not to return holding his lower back. The defender was replaced by midfielder Tiago Silva who slotted into an unfamiliar centre-back position.
The 25-year-old Senegalese international has been a regular in recent weeks for Pedro Martins’ side, in particular, since the injuries to fellow centre-backs Ruben Semedo and Avraam Papadopoulos.
Semedo picked up a medial knee ligament injury at the start of March and will be unavailable to take on Arsenal whilst Papadopoulos has not played a league game for Olympiacos since December.
The Greek international featured in a cup game in February but did not last the full 90 minutes due to injury and remains on the sidelines for the 45 times Greek champions.
Former Gunner Sokratis Papastathopoulos is currently Olympicaos’s only fit recognised central defender, however, the 32-year-old was seen holding his shoulder at the end of Sunday’s game.
There is no indication that this will keep him out of the tie against Arsenal but who will partner the 90 capped Greek international is as yet unknown.
The Gunners have no such injuries worries ahead of the last-16 match. Rob Holding returned to the Arsenal squad following a suspected concussion with Emile Smith Rowe the only other recent absentee.
Arsenal provided an update on Smith Rowe ahead of the 1-1 draw with Burnley and it was good news for the Gunners:
Emile was substituted just before half time at Leicester City last Sunday with discomfort in his hip,” a club update read. “Assessments and scans this week have shown that it is not a significant injury.”