Sunday, June 16, 2024

Prediction: Olympiacos vs Fiorentina

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: Luckster

With this season’s Europa Conference League hanging in the balance on Wednesday night, Olympiacos and Fiorentina will meet at the OPAP Arena.

Olympiacos

Starting with Olympiacos, only having to travel down the road on Wednesday night as they arrive in Athens, the Greek giants will certainly feel that they hold a real hometown advantage here. Springing what was a famous Europa Conference League upset earlier in the month as they secured a thumping 6-2 aggregate victory against Premier League outfit Aston Villa, the Thrylos are on the cusp of making real history. Last seen mounting a second-half comeback away at domestic rivals Panathinaikos, Jose Mendilibar’s men have suffered just a single defeat from any of their previous eight appearances across all competitions. Continuing to collect some major European heavyweight scalps, Olympiacos will also be excited by their free-scoring performances in the final third. Along with signing off April with a 4-1 romp against Lamia, Mendilibar’s side have bagged at least a pair of strikes in nine of their last 12 outings.

Team News

Although former Wolves star Daniel Podence might have been a late red card against Panathinaikos last week, the 28-year-old will feature from the start on Wednesday night. Heading into their trip to Athens, Olympiacos have reported a clean bill of health and have no fresh injury concerns to worry about.

Recording five goals in Olympiacos’ back-to-back semi-final victories against Aston Villa earlier in the month, attacking talisman Ayoub El Kaabi will play a leading role here. Despite recently returning to full fitness, Nottingham Forest loanee Omar Richards will have to settle for a spot on the bench.

Fiorentina

As for Fiorentina, suffering Europa Conference League heartbreak last season as they suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of West Ham, the Viola are desperate to go one-step further this time around. Edging their way past Club Brugge earlier in the month, Vincenzo Italiano’s men have firmly placed all of their eggs in this year’s European basket. However, despite picking up some perfect momentum last week as they secured an action-packed 3-2 victory against Cagliari, the former Spezia boss will have a headache over his side’s extended issues at the back. Opening May with a 2-1 loss at the hands of Verona, Fiorentina have failed to register a single clean sheet from any of their previous eight appearances across all competitions. Likewise, Italiano’s men have conceded nine goals in their last four showdowns outside of Tuscany.

Team News

Sustaining a broken collarbone earlier in the month, Fiorentina have already confirmed that academy graduate Riccardo Sottil will not feature in Athens on Wednesday night. Despite recently returning from a muscle injury, 27-year-old M’Bala Nzola will be forced to settle for a spot on the bench.

In what could be his final appearance for the Viola, former Liverpool misfit Arthur Melo will make a full return and partner one-time Juventus starlet Rolando Mandragora at the heart of Fiorentina’s midfield. Despite notching just a single strike since the start of February, Italy international Andrea Belotti will lead Italiano’s side.

Key Factors to Consider

    • Olympiacos booked their spot in Wednesday’s Europa Conference League final as they secured a thumping 6-2 aggregate victory against Aston Villa.
    • Fiorentina have recorded just a pair of wins from any of their last seven showdowns outside of Tuscany
    • The Viola have shipped nine goals in just their last four appearances on the road.
    • Morocco international Ayoub El Kaabi scored five goals in his back-to-back showdowns against Aston Villa earlier in the month.
    • All of Fiorentina’s last eight appearances across all competitions have finished with both teams finding the net.

    Conclusion

    With all eyes falling on Athens in midweek, we could be set for a nail-biting Europa Conference League final on Wednesday night. Two sides who have gained a reputation for their lively outcomes, chances could come thick and fast. With Olympiacos making a major statement earlier in the month as they secured a famous 6-2 aggregate victory against Aston Villa, Fiorentina’s leaky defence could be asked some real questions. However, with the Viola seeing all of their previous eight matchups across all competitions finish with both teams finding the net, we are expecting a similar outcome here.

    Verdict: Both teams to score

    Best Odds: 19/20

    Bookmaker: Luckster

    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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