Mesut Ozil axed as Emery makes 5 changes | Expected Arsenal line-up vs Valencia
Arsenal take on Valencia in their semi-final second leg on Thursday night. Here is the side Gooner Mac thinks Unai Emery will select for the game:
Arsenal will be looking to book their place in the Europa League final when they take on Valencia in the second leg of their semi-final on Thursday night. Here is the side Gooner Mac thinks Unai Emery will select for the game:
Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno is set to drop to the bench as Petr Cech has been Arsenal’s first choice keeper throughout the Europa League campaign this season so the Czech legend should be recalled tomorrow night.
Defence: Laurent Koscielny is expected to be recalled after being rested for the draw with Brighton on Sunday having aggravated his Achilles issue in the first leg. Emery played a back four at the weekend but the boss is likely to revert to a three against Valencia with Sokratis keeping his place.
Nacho Monreal has looked more comfortable when he’s played on the left side of a back three this season so I expect him to get the nod meaning Shkodran Mustafi will be the man to make way for Koscielny.
Midfield: Ainsley Maitland-Niles is back in contention after missing the Brighton game through suspension so he should come-in at right wing-back with Stephan Lichtsteiner making way following his run-out at the weekend. Sead Kolasinac should also be recalled on the left after being named on the bench against Brighton.
Granit Xhaka foolishly gave away a very costly penalty against Brighton but we don’t have too many other options in midfield as Mohamed Elneny isn’t good enough and I don’t think Matteo Guendouzi is ready to be a regular starter just yet. The youngster has been in a bit of a slump in recent months so I wouldn’t risk him for such a high profile game.
Lucas Torreira should keep his place in the middle of the park alongside Xhaka with Aaron Ramsey obviously still out nursing a hamstring injury that will keep him out for the rest of the season.
Attack: Alexandre Lacazette bagged a brace to help secure our 3-1 win over Valencia in the first leg last week and I think we’ll see him leading the line once again tomorrow night as we go looking for a vital away goal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should also keep his place in the attack but Emery may decide to play him off the wing in a slightly more defensive formation away from home – especially when we’re out of possession.
Mesut Ozil has travelled to Spain but I don’t see him starting as he’s rarely been trusted in a big away game in recent months and when he does start he’s been extremely poor so I think we’ll see him on the bench tomorrow.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s disappointing form continued at the weekend so I expect the Armenian international to drop to the bench with Alex Iwobi the man to come in to join Aubameyang and Lacazette in attack.
Here is how I think we’ll see Arsenal line-up:
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