Ozil & Sokratis start as Emery makes 4 changes | Expected Arsenal line-up vs BATE
Arsenal welcome BATE Borisov to the Emirates for the second leg of their Europa League tie on Thursday. Here is the side Gooner Mac thinks he’ll select
Arsenal will be looking to turn the tie around when they welcome BATE Borisov to the Emirates for the second leg of their Europa League last-32 clash on Thursday evening. Here is the side Gooner Mac thinks Unai Emery will select for the game:
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech has been our regular goalkeeper in the Europa League and started the first leg last week so I expect he’ll keep his place tomorrow with Bernd Leno on the bench.
Defence: Emery has been playing with a back three in recent games but I think he may revert to a flat back four at home to BATE with Sokratis back to tighten up the back-line. The Greek international wasn’t risked in the first leg after only recently recovering from injury but he’s now fully fit and should be recalled tomorrow.
Laurent Koscielny should be the man to partner Sokratis so Shkodran Mustafi may make way while Nacho Monreal could also drop out due to the formation switch with Sead Kolasinac continuing on the left. Ainsley Maitland-Niles seems to be ahead of Stephan Lichtsteiner in the right-back pecking order so he could continue to deputise for Hector Bellerin.
Midfield: Arsenal need to score goals tomorrow night so I wouldn’t be surprised if Emery goes with two midfielders to bring in an extra attacker. Matteo Guendouzi has been in good form lately but we had a lot of success with Granit Xhaka alongside Lucas Torreira in a 4-2-3-1 during our unbeaten run so the boss may go with that formation tomorrow evening.
It would be harsh on Guendouzi but we had a good balance with Xhaka and Torreira in a midfield two so the young Frenchman may have to settle for a place on the bench.
Attack: Another reason Emery may switch formation is he won’t have Alexandre Lacazette available due to suspension after he was sent off last week so the boss won’t be under pressure to play two strikers up front.
It means Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should play through the middle on his own with three attackers offering support. Alex Iwobi is expected to keep his place on the left wing while Henrikh Mkhitaryan could start on the right side of attack.
Aaron Ramsey is back in contention after recovering from a knee injury that’s kept him out of the last two games and he could be in Emery’s thoughts for the attacking midfield role while Denis Suarez is also pushing to make his first start in an Arsenal shirt.
However, the boss is under real pressure to recall Mesut Ozil after axing him from the squad for the first leg. Emery said at his press conference today that Ozil has trained well this week and he may feel it’s the right time to bring him back in to the fold.
Here is how I think we’ll see Arsenal line-up:
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