Sunday, May 26, 2024

Prediction: Olympiacos vs Aston Villa

Verdict: Ayoub El Kaabi to score anytime

Best Odds: 21/10

Bookmaker: Dachbet

Seeking a Europa Conference League comeback on Thursday night, Aston Villa will travel to the Karaiskakis Stadium when they meet Olympiacos for their second-leg showdown.

Olympiacos

As for the visitors, putting in a famous performance at Villa Park last week as they stormed their way to a 4-2 romp, Olympiacos are sat in the driving seat to collect an iconic Europa Conference League scalp. Holding a commanding advantage here and now just 90 minutes away from booking their final ticket on Thursday night. Already springing one remarkable upset last month as they edged their way past Turkish heavyweights Fenerbahce, Jose Mendilibar’s men have also gained a reputation for their continued success on home soil. Signing off April with a 4-1 victory against Lamia while in Super League action, Olympiacos have won all of their previous four consecutive showdowns at the Karaiskakis Stadium by an aggregate score of 12-4. Really finding a clinical edge in the final third since returning from March’s international break, Mendilibar’s side have already cemented their spot as one of Europe’s ultimate surprise packages this season.

Team News

Both not making a single appearance across any competition since opening the New Year, the duo of Bandiougou Fadiga and Doron Leidner will not feature on Thursday night. However, after serving a one-match suspension last week, Greek international Georgios Masouras could be handed a full recall at the Karaiskakis Stadium.

Bagging a famous first-leg hat-trick at Villa Park last week and notching nine Europa Conference League goals in his eight appearances this season, Morocco international Ayoub El Kaabi will spearhead Olympiacos’ charge. Former Wolves star Daniel Podence will once again partner El Kaabi in the final third.

Aston Villa

As for the visitors, while Aston Villa might have been backed by an emotional home support in the Midlands last week, Unai Emery’s men put in a nightmare performance. Eventually blown away as they suffered that infamous 4-2 defeat, the former Arsenal boss is seeking a major Europa Conference League miracle on Thursday night. However, despite continuing to receive a string of plaudits, the Premier League outfit do have the feel of a squad seeking some recent stability. Failing to pick up any kind of momentum last weekend as they slumped to a toothless 1-0 loss at the hands of Brighton, Villa have recorded just a single victory from any of their previous five appearances within 90 minutes. Showing some glaring defensive issues on home soil last week, Emery’s men have an almighty challenge on their hands at the Karaiskakis Stadium. In fact, Villa have registered just a sole clean sheet from their last nine consecutive showdowns.

Team News

All still dealing with respective long-term knee injuries, Aston Villa will travel to Greece on Thursday night without the trio of Emi Buendia, Boubacar Kamara and England international Tyrone Mings. Likewise, not making a single appearance across any competition since the start of March, 22-year-old Jacob Ramsey will not feature here.

Bagging a consolation first-leg strike at Villa Park last week and breaking a string of records this season, attacking talisman Ollie Watkins will certainly play a leading role. Despite speculation around a potential move away from the Midlands this summer, former Sevilla defender Diego Carlos will be hoping for a full recall.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When Olympiacos and Aston Villa met for their first-leg meeting in the Midlands last week, the Greek giants collected a stunning 4-2 victory on foreign soil.
    • Aston Villa have collected just a single victory from any of their previous five appearances across all competitions within 90 minutes.
    • Emery’s men have registered just a single clean sheet from any of their last nine appearances across all formats.
    • Olympiacos have won all of their previous four consecutive appearances at the Karaiskakis Stadium by an aggregate score of 12-4.
    • Including a famous first-leg hat-trick, Morocco international Ayoub El Kaabi has scored eight goals in his seven Europa Conference League appearances this season.

    Conclusion

    Making a stunning first-leg statement at Villa Park last week as they left the Midlands with a 4-2 victory, Olympiacos will certainly be relishing a return to the Karaiskakis Stadium on Thursday night. Holding a commanding advantage in midweek, the Greek giants will be looking to collect an iconic Europa Conference League scalp. With Aston Villa in the midst of what has been a recent wobble and struggling to find any kind of defensive steel, the red-hot El Kaabi should be smelling the chance to extend on his charge for the Golden Boot.

    Verdict: Ayoub El Kaabi to score anytime

    Best Odds: 21/10

    Bookmaker: Dachbet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
    Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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