Key duo passed fit as Arteta makes 4 changes | Expected Arsenal line-up vs Prague
Arsenal take on Slavia Prague in the second leg of their Europa League tie on Thursday. Here is the team Gooner Mac expects Mikel Arteta to select:
Arsenal take on Slavia Prague in the second leg of their Europa League tie on Thursday evening. Here is the team Gooner Mac expects Mikel Arteta to select:
Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno is certain to keep his place between the sticks for Arsenal tomorrow night so Mat Ryan will remain on the bench.
Defence: David Luiz and Kieran Tierney are still out with knee injuries that could end their seasons but Gabriel is pushing for a recall after being rested for the 3-0 win over Sheffield United at the weekend. Pablo Mari did reasonably well alongside Rob Holding at Bramall Lane but he’s the man most likely to make way for Gabriel.
Granit Xhaka played at left-back against the Blades on Sunday night but he’s expected to move back into midfield on Thursday so Cedric Soares should be recalled. Hector Bellerin was also rested at the weekend so he’s likely to replace Calum Chambers at right-back.
Midfield: As stated, Xhaka should return to his usual position in the middle of the park and he’s likely to be joined by Thomas Partey. The Ghanaian international was back to his best at the weekend during Arsenal’s win over Sheffield United and Arteta will be looking for a big performance from his summer signing tomorrow.
Dani Ceballos impressed at Bramall Lane but he’s still expected to drop back to the bench against Slavia Prague where he’ll be joined by Mohamed Elneny.
Martin Odegaard wasn’t spotted at training this afternoon so he remains a big doubt for the trip to Prague. However, Emile Smith Rowe is back in contention after recovering from a minor ankle injury and he could start in the attacking midfield role for Arsenal.
Attack: That would mean Bukayo Saka would be free to move to the right wing after an excellent display in a more central role at the weekend. Saka has recovered from a thigh knock that he sustained against Sheffield United so he’s expected to start tomorrow.
However, it looks like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains a major doubt as he wasn’t spotted at training on Wednesday afternoon. The Arsenal skipper missed the win at the weekend due to illness and might not be ready to return for this crucial clash with Prague. That means Alexandre Lacazette should keep his place up front after scoring a brace against Sheffield United.
Gabriel Martinelli was also on target during his first Premier League start in four months but the Brazilian picked up an ankle knock and might not be risked from the start tomorrow. Nicolas Pepe could therefore keep his place in the Arsenal attack with Martinelli joining Willian on the bench.
Here is how I think we’ll see Arsenal line-up:
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