The Rank and Report Football Show are here to run you through everything you need to know about Wednesday night's opposition for Pep Guardiola and his squad - as we take on Olympiacos in Matchday Four of the Champions League, where a single point could be enough to send the club into the knock-out phase of the competition.
OPPOSITION REPORT: OLYMPIACOS
LEAGUE POSITION: 1st
SEASON BREAKDOWN: 6W - 1D - 0L
MANAGER: Pedro Martins
KEY PLAYERS: Yan M’Vila & Konstantios Fortounis
Olympiacos’ modern existence as a club can be summed up in two words: domestic dominance.
Since the inaugural season of the Greek Super league in 2006, the Piraeus based club has won 11 of the 14 league titles up for grabs. So far, the 2020/21 season is no different for Pedro Martins’ side. The Greek giants have flown out of the gates winning six of their first seven league games, with a total goal differential of +14 (15 scored, one conceded).
Forward Youssef El Arabi has provided a team-high five goals, however due to a positive COVID-19 test, the Greek champions will be without their talismanic forward for another week and a half.
The UEFA Champions League however, has been a more difficult competition for Olympiacos to find their footing in. A stoppage time winner secured the three points over Marseille on the opening day of group C, but since then, they have lost to Porto and Manchester City - failing to score in both matches.
The Olympiacos Threat
With the team’s leading scorer Youssef El Arabi in isolation, as well as Frenchman Mathieu Valbuena injuring himself in training, the Greek side will have to fight to ensure they aren't held scoreless for a third straight Champions League game. They will have to rely on forwards Konstantios Fortounis and Georgios Masouras to provide those elusive goals - the Greek duo have scored five league goals between them.
Defensive experience will come into play in trying to keep Manchester City out of the net. Full-backs Jose Holebas and Rafinha are 36 and 35 respectively - the former saw a lot of this Manchester City team during his time at Watford, and the latter played in all three seasons of current City boss Pep Guardiola’s tenure at Bayern Munich.
If Olympiacos are to slow down a City attack that has performed well in the Champions League thus far, those two will have to tap into to their experience and defensive nouse.
Luckily for Olympiacos, their recent form playing at the Karaiskaki Stadium is on their side, as they have lost only two of their last sixteen home European fixtures, winning ten of such games.
How to Threaten Olympiacos
It is simple. For all of the dominance in Greek football, this Olympiacos side does not have the resources or the squad depth to compete with a big Premier League club. Without their electric home support to boost them, they should struggle to keep City at bay in defence, as well as struggle to score with some key attacking players missing.
In the reverse fixture at the Etihad, the Greek side only managed one shot on goal, and that was with a full squad. The City press and technical advantage should be enough to keep the game played in the Olympiacos defensive half. If the City attack is locked in, Olympiacos have shown the ability to give up goals in this competition.
While experienced at the back, the age and resulting lack of pace from the opposition full-backs should provide the Manchester City wingers with more freedom to attack with pace than they are typically afforded in the Premier League.
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