Arsenal will kickstart their Europa League campaign on Thursday as they face Rapid Wien in Vienna. The Gunners are coming on the back of a narrow 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the last game, but have performed well overall this season. Mikel Arteta, however, will be tempted to make a lot of changes in this midweek fixture ahead of an important Premier League encounter on Sunday.
Predicted Arsenal Lineup Vs Rapid Wien
Rob Holding picked up a hamstring problem right before the Manchester City clash on Saturday. He joins the likes of Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers in Arsenal’s list of potential absentees in the defensive department.
Arteta, therefore, is devoid of options in central defence and will thus have to continue with David Luiz and Gabriel. Kieran Tierney could also continue at centre-back, though the Scot should operate in a more versatile role that could see him interchange between a left-back and a left-sided centre-back role.
Bernd Leno, meanwhile, is set to make way for Runar Alex Runarsson, who is braced to make his Arsenal debut in goal this midweek, after joining from Dijon in the summer.
Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos are both likely to be given a breather, meaning we could see marquee signing Thomas Partey make his starting debut for Arsenal this midweek.
The Ghanaian enforcer should operate in the double-pivot, alongside Mohamed Elneny. It will be interesting to see how he provides the defensive support, with Elneny having the license to influence the game higher up the pitch. Joe Willock could also be an option.
Elsewhere, Cedric Soares is most likely to replace Hector Bellerin at right wing-back while Ainsley Maitland-Niles could also be recalled at the expense of Bukayo Saka on the opposite flank.
Saka was, however, the best performer for Arsenal against Manchester City. He could thus be rewarded with a start at left-wing, ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Willian too could make way for a more natural number nine in Eddie Nketiah. The youngster could get the nod ahead of Alexandre Lacazette, who could be used in the Premier League fixture against Leicester City in the coming weekend.
Nicolas Pepe is set to operate as the right-winger, although Arteta may also have the option of Reiss Nelson as well as Willock, who has featured in that position in cup games this season.