Aston Villa vs Olympiakos Prediction: Villans to bring their A-game against Greek giants

 | 1st May | 

4 mins read

Aston Villa vs Olympiakos

After triumphing against Lille on penalties, Aston Villa are through to a major European semi-final for the first time since 1982, and Olympiakos are now the only team between them and the Europa Conference League final in Athens next month.

Ahead of Thursday's first leg at Villa Park, which will be shown live in the UK on TNT Sports 1 (KO, 20:00), you can read my Aston Villa vs Olympiakos prediction below and get the lowdown on all the latest team news and match odds.

Aston Villa vs Olympiakos Betting Tips

  • Aston Villa -1 half-time handicap @ 4/1
  • Aston Villa to win to nil @ 7/5

Villa warmed up for Thursday's game with a 2-2 draw against Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday, a disappointing result given they held a two-goal lead until the 62nd minute.

Olympiakos, meanwhile, beat Lamia 4-1 in the Greek Super League on Sunday.

Team News

Emi Martinez was substituted at half-time against Chelsea and the Villa number one is likely to be out injured for a couple of weeks, with the second leg in Piraeus pencilled in for his comeback.

The Argentine is suspended for Thursday's first leg anyway, with Robin Olsen expected to get the nod ahead of Joe Gauci.

Youri Tielemans is a doubt after being substituted midway through the first half against Chelsea.

Long-term absentees Tyrone Mings, Emiliano Buendia, Jacob Ramsey and Boubacar Kamara remain on the sidelines, while Alex Moreno and Nicolo Zaniolo are expected to miss out again through injury.

In terms of outfield changes to the starting XI, Diego Carlos and Moussa Diaby are the only real contenders to come in, with Matty Cash and Leon Bailey most at risk if Unai Emery does decide to make alterations.

Olympiakos will be without Andreas Ntoi as he serves a one-match suspension for a red card handed to him during the second leg of their quarter-final tie with Fenerbahce.

Match Odds

Aston Villa are 4/9 to secure victory on Thursday, giving them an implied win probability of 69.2%, while Olympiakos are 6/1, or a 14.3% chance.

The draw can be backed at 100/30, with both teams to score at 5/6 and over 2.5 goals at 4/6.

Aston Villa -1 half-time handicap @ 4/1

Villa made a fast start at Villa Park on Saturday, and Emery's side have been leading by two goals at half-time a total of 10 times this season, five of which have come at home.

I expect them to come out all guns blazing on Thursday as they look to take a comfortable advantage heading into the return leg in Greece in two weeks.

Holding just a one-goal advantage after the first leg of their quarter-final against Lille proved to be their undoing as they were put under significant pressure in France, very nearly going out as they went 2-0 down before a late Cash goal sent them to extra time and eventually penalties.

Villa certainly have the firepower to score a couple without reply in the first half on Thursday, and attack may be the best form of defence for them with Martinez and Tielemans potentially both out.

If the latter is absent, expect Morgan Rogers, Bailey and Diaby to support Ollie Watkins in a front four which could cause huge problems for Olympiakos, who were 3-1 down at home to Maccabi Tel Aviv in the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off in March, which they eventually lost 6-1.

Aston Villa -1 half-time handicap vs Olympiakos at 4-1

Aston Villa to win to nil @ 7/5

Villa were two to the good at home against Lille in the first leg of their quarter-final tie before conceding late on, and I think that will serve as an important lesson for them as they prepare for the visit of the Greek giants.

Martinez will be a big miss for the hosts, who could also miss the control Tielemans brings to the midfield, but Olympiakos probably represent a downgrade on Lille, who are currently fourth in Ligue 1.

Olympiakos are in the same position in the Greek Super League, generally seen as a much inferior division to that of the French top-tier, and the fact they have lost 6-1 to Maccabi Tel Aviv, 3-1 to Panathinaikos and 1-0 to AEK Athens - all since the start of last month - suggests that this is not a side to be hugely feared, particularly by a club thriving at the top end of the Premier League.

Olympiakos failed to score on their last trip to England, a Europa League group stage match at West Ham United last September, when they lost 1-0 without managing to hit the target in their eight attempts at goal.

Aston Villa to win to nil vs Olympiakos at 7-5

Check out the rest of our Football Betting Tips here.

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