Duo handed debuts as Arteta makes 9 changes | Expected Arsenal line-up vs Vienna
Arsenal begin their Europa League campaign when they take on Rapid Vienna in Austria on Thursday evening. Here is the team Gooner Mac expects Mikel Arteta to select:
Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno could be handed a rest with Alex Runarsson given his Arsenal debut after arriving in the summer as a replacement for Emi Martinez.
Defence: Arteta will be without Rob Holding after he was ruled out for at least three weeks with a hamstring injury that he picked up ahead of Saturday’s defeat at Manchester City.
Kieran Tierney and Gabriel could be rested so Sead Kolasinac may get a recall to start alongside David Luiz in the back three while Shkodran Mustafi is available to start after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Calum Chambers is back in full training after overcoming a knee injury but this game could come too soon while Pablo Mari is still working his way back from an ankle ligament injury.
Midfield: Thomas Partey is expected to be handed his full Arsenal debut after making a solid impression off the bench at the weekend so Granit Xhaka could be given a rest in the middle of the park.
Dani Ceballos has been ruled out with a minor ankle issue that he picked up against City so Mohamed Elneny could be given a recall to start alongside Partey – although Joe Willock is another option for Arteta.
Hector Bellerin and Bukayo Saka are likely to be rested after starting at the weekend so Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be recalled in the left wing-back role while Cedric Soares is set to come in on the right flank.
Attack: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is almost certain to be given a breather while Willian has been ruled out of Arsenal’s group stage opener after suffering a calf injury on Saturday evening.
Alexandre Lacazette didn’t start against City so he could get a recall tomorrow but Arteta may want to save him for the Leicester game on Sunday so Eddie Nketiah may lead the line up front against Vienna.
Nicolas Pepe may be given another chance to impress in the Arsenal attack while Reiss Nelson is pushing for a recall. Gabriel Martinelli remains injured while Mesut Ozil wasn’t registered in the Europa League squad.
Here is how I think we’ll see Arsenal line-up:
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