Arsenal are looking to finish their UEFA Europa League group stage campaign on a strong note when they face Dundalk on Thursday. The Gunners have secured five wins in five matches in the competition so far, but Mikel Arteta’s job as an Arsenal manager was once again under heavy scrutiny following a defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby. So a win could be imperative this midweek as the Spaniard looks to lift some pressure off his shoulders.
Predicted 4-4-2 Arsenal Lineup Vs Dundalk
Arteta is expected to ring in the changes in an attempt to keep the squad fresh ahead of a key encounter against Burnley on the weekend.
Bernd Leno, therefore, could once again make way for Runar Alex Runarsson in goal while fullbacks Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney will also return to the bench in favour of Cedric Soares and Sead Kolasinac.
David Luiz failed to make the squad against Tottenham on the weekend, forcing Arteta to start with Rob Holding alongside Gabriel Magalhaes at the heart of the four-man backline. All three of these players are unlikely to start this midweek, as Pablo Mari and Shkodran Mustafi once again return to the side, with the former looking to build on from his excellent performance against Rapid Wien last week.
Thomas Partey is a major doubt after picking up another knock against Tottenham. He is unlikely to start while both Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos could return to the bench.
Mohamed Elneny remains a surefire starter in the double-pivot, but Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock are fighting for a place alongside the Egyptian international.
Maitland-Niles interestingly featured as a midfielder against Rapid Wien and Arteta could further explore that possibility by once again deploying the Englishman ahead of Willock on Thursday.
With qualification to the knockout round already in the bag, this game should provide Arteta with an excellent opportunity of providing chances to the youngsters, particularly in the attacking department.
So it won’t be surprising to see New York-born striker Folarin Balogun leading the Arsenal attack alongside Eddie Nketiah this midweek, with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette returning to the bench.
Meanwhile, Nicolas Pepe is a surefire starter in the wider attacking positions along with Reiss Nelson. However, there’s every chance Arteta could introduce Emile Smith Rowe at half-time after the youngster scored in the 4-1 win over Rapid Wien last time out.