Arsenal’s 2020/21 Europa League campaign begins on Thursday when they take on Rapid Wien in Vienna. The Gunners succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in their last match, and manager Mikel Arteta will be keen on bouncing back to winning form.
Here, at the 4th Official, we will take a look at three Arsenal players who could be key against Rapid Wien this midweek.
Thomas Partey is tipped to make his starting debut for Arsenal against Rapid Wien on Thursday. It will be a chance for fans to get a good glimpse of him as the midfielder only appeared as a late substitute against Manchester City in the last game.
For the player himself, it will be a chance to showcase his qualities after joining from Atletico Madrid for a fee of €50 million. A defensive midfielder by trade, Partey is expected to provide the physical presence and solidity in Arsenal’s second line of press that could be crucial as the Gunners are unlikely to field Dani Ceballos in this fixture.
Therefore, the onus will be on Partey to provide defensive cover for a depleted Arsenal backline as players like Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers continue to miss out through injuries.
Bukayo Saka was Arsenal’s best player against Manchester City. He provided a spark in the attack with his brilliant movement and remarkable combination play with the likes of Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
On Thursday, as Mikel Arteta looks to ring in the changes and field a weaker side, Saka could be given the responsibility of becoming Arsenal’s creator-in-chief, preferably from the left-wing role.
The Englishman has shown in the past that he does have the ability to emerge as a fully-fledged winger. So it will be interesting to see whether or not he can cause problems for the Rapid Wien defence this midweek.
Both Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette were surprisingly left out of the starting lineup during Arsenal’s clash with Manchester City on Saturday. Instead, it was Willian who operated in a false nine role.
Arteta is expected to revert the change in this fixture, with Nketiah likely to get the nod ahead of Lacazette in the number nine role. The youngster has impressed so far in his limited opportunities, and as he looks to establish himself as Arsenal’s first-choice centre forward, a strong display against Rapid Wien could be imperative.
Nketiah’s pace, aggression and hardworking nature are sure to aid Arsenal as they look to oust their midweek opposition.