Arsenal vs Vienna preview | Confirmed team news | Expected line-ups | Prediction
Arsenal take on Rapid Vienna in their penultimate Europa League group stage game at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
The Gunners have already wrapped up qualification to the knockout phase as group winners after beating second-placed Molde 3-0 in Norway last week so the pressure is off during their final two matches.
Arsenal head into tonight’s game sitting top of Group B on a maximum 12 points from their first four games and are six points clear of Molde with a better head-to-head record so Mikel Arteta will be keen to maintain their perfect run with another win at the Emirates.
However, while the north Londoners are cruising in Europe, they’re struggling in the Premier League as Sunday’s defeat at home to Wolves means Arsenal have won just one of their last six league games and currently sit 14th in the table.
Therefore, Arteta will be desperate to get back to winning ways against Rapid Vienna this evening and send the club into Sunday’s huge North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur in positive mood.
Arsenal will be without David Luiz as the defender has been ruled out after suffering a head injury during his sickening clash with Raul Jimenez on Sunday while Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers are still working their way back to full fitness.
Thomas Partey won’t feature tonight due to an on-going thigh problem but Arteta refused to rule the midfielder out of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham while Gabriel Martinelli is also still on the sidelines.
Arteta will rest his big guns so the likes of Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney, Gabriel, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should get the night off.
Alex Runarsson should start in goal while Sead Kolasinac could return in defence after testing negative for Covid-19. Cedric Soares, Shkodran Mustafi, Mo Elneny, Reiss Nelson and Alexandre Lacazette should also get recalls.
Nicolas Pepe will be suspended for the Tottenham game on Sunday so he’s expected to start tonight while youngster Emile Smith Rowe could also get a chance to impress.
Vienna XI: Gartler; Stojkovic, Hofmann, Barac, Ullmann; Grahovac, Knasmullner; Schick, Demir, Fountas; Kara
Arsenal 3-1 Rapid Vienna: Arsenal have made relativity light work of the group stages and will be confident of making it five wins from five games this evening. Despite resting their key players, Arteta can still field a team strong enough to see off Rapid Vienna at the Emirates.
The visitors can still snatch second spot from Molde so they’ll be motivated to get a result but I still expect Arsenal to win this evening and am predicting a 3-1 victory for the Gunners.
/ 57 mins ago
Chelsea will look to put the controversy surrounding the European Super League behind them...
/ 2 hours ago
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson has called an emergency meeting of the Premier League captains...