Smith Rowe starts as Arteta makes 11 changes | Expected Arsenal line-up vs Vienna
Arsenal take on Rapid Vienna in the Europa League on Thursday night. The Gunners have already secured qualification to the knockout stages so Mikel Arteta will rest his key players ahead of Sunday’s huge clash with Tottenham.
Here is the team Gooner Mac expects Arteta to select against Vienna:
Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno will be given a breather so Alex Runarsson will get another chance to impress between the sticks.
Defence: Arsenal will make wholesale changes in defence with Gabriel, Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin all protected ahead of the north London derby. Shkodran Mustafi will start in the middle of the back four while Cedric Soares should come-in at right-back.
David Luiz is unavailable after suffering a nasty head injury against Wolves while Rob Holding is expected to be given a rest. Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari aren’t ready to return yet so Arteta may start Sead Kolasinac at centre-back as he’s available again. That would leave Ainsley Maitland-Niles to start at left-back.
Midfield: Arsenal will still be without Thomas Partey tomorrow as he’s still working his way back from a thigh injury but Arteta has not ruled the midfielder out of returning to action against Tottenham on Sunday.
Granit Xhaka is likely to be rested along with Dani Ceballos so Mohamed Elneny should get a start in midfield. Joe Willock has started the last three games so we may see him given a breather. The Gunners don’t have too many other options in the middle of the park so Arteta might give Emile Smith Rowe a chance to impress as the youngster is back to full fitness.
Attack: Obviously Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be rested along with Bukayo Saka while Willian is also likely to be given a breather so it will be all-change in the Arsenal attack tomorrow night.
Alexandre Lacazette played in a deeper No.10 role against Molde last week so we may see the Frenchman in a similar position on Thursday with Eddie Nketiah starting up front.
Nicolas Pepe will be suspended for the Premier League game on Sunday but his ban doesn’t affect his eligibility in Europe so he’s likely to start in attack along with Reiss Nelson.
Here is how I think we’ll see Arsenal line-up:
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