Teenage trio start as Emery makes 10 changes | Expected Arsenal line-up vs Vitoria
Arsenal take on Vitoria in Portugal on Wednesday afternoon [3.50pm kick-off]. Here is the side Gooner Mac thinks Unai Emery will select for the game:
Arsenal can virtually guarantee qualification to the knockout stages of the Europa League with victory over Vitoria in Portugal on Wednesday afternoon [3.50pm kick-off]. Here is the side Gooner Mac thinks Unai Emery will select for the game:
Goalkeeper: Emi Martinez is Arsenal’s goalkeeper in the cups this season so he’ll be recalled tomorrow with Bernd Leno dropping out.
Defence: Emery is expected to rotate his squad once again with key players given a rest ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Leicester City. Kieran Tierney, Sokratis and David Luiz are all likely to be rested.
Sead Kolasinac will come in at left-back while Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi will line-up in the middle of the back four having played together in the cup competitions this season.
Hector Bellerin didn’t start against Wolves at the weekend but I expect him to make his first Premier League start at Leicester on Saturday so Calum Chambers may keep his place at right-back tomorrow.
Midfield: Granit Xhaka is set to return to the fold after missing Arsenal’s last two games following his ugly bust-up with the home fans late last month. It makes sense to bring Xhaka back for an away game but it will be interesting to see how he’s received when we play again at the Emirates.
Joe Willock is also expected to be recalled in the middle of the park after being named among the substitutes on Saturday so Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi will be given a rest against Vitoria.
Arsenal played with a diamond midfield against Wolves at the weekend but Emery is likely to revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation tomorrow with Dani Ceballos dropping out.
Attack: We should see wholesale changes in attack as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will be given a rest with Gabriel Martinelli coming in to start up front. The teenager has been outstanding in the cup games this season so he’ll be hoping to continue his impressive form against Vitoria.
Mesut Ozil has started Arsenal’s last two games so he’s expected to be given a breather tomorrow with Emile Smith Rowe possibly coming in to start in the advanced attacking midfield position.
Nicolas Pepe didn’t feature at the weekend but I don’t see him being risked from the start tomorrow so Ainsley Maitland-Niles could start on the right. He played very well against Liverpool in the League Cup last week so hopefully he puts-in another top display against Vitoria.
Bukayo Saka is also in-line for a recall on the left side of the Arsenal attack while Reiss Nelson could feature after recovering from a knee injury – although a place on the bench is expected as he’s still working his way back to full fitness.
Here is how I think we’ll see Arsenal line-up:
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