Arsenal resume their Europa League campaign on Thursday as they take on Slavia Praha in the first leg of the quarter-final. The Gunners are coming on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool on the weekend, but Mikel Arteta is expected to line up a strong eleven as his side prioritises the European competition in search of a direct entry to next season’s Champions League.
Predicted Arsenal Lineup Vs Slavia Praha
Mikel Arteta suffered a huge blow in the last game as Kieran Tierney picked up another injury that could keep him out for a few weeks. He joins David Luiz in Arsenal’s list of defensive absentees heading into this game.
Cedric Soares was the man to replace Tierney against Liverpool last out time and the Portuguese is a favourite to start this one in the left-back position. Hector Bellerin should also return to the side as he looks to occupy his preferred right-back slot.
In central defence, Gabriel Magalhaes had a day to forget against the Reds, but remains favourite to start alongside Pablo Mari at the heart of Arsenal’s four-man backline. Rob Holding and Calum Chambers serve as potential alternatives for Arteta while Mat Ryan is a back-up for goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
Granit Xhaka was an absentee in Arsenal’s weekend clash against Liverpool due to an illness. He remains a doubt in this one as well, though we might still see a change in midfield with Mohamed Elneny replacing Dani Ceballos.
Thomas Partey, on the other hand, remains a guaranteed starter at the base of Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1. His physicality and experience could be key in helping the Gunners dominate and control the game this midweek.
Moving forward, Emile Smith Rowe is likely to be available after failing a late fitness against Liverpool. However, the youngster should once again settle for a place on the bench as Arteta looks to continue with Martin Odegaard in the number ten role.
Bukayo Saka is likely to be back in contention this weekend, and the youngster should replace Nicolas Pepe, who was ineffective against Liverpool. Saka offers more penetration out wide while his ability to whip in crosses into the box could be useful for Alexandre Lacazette upfront.
Saka could find himself another target as Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang, initially expected to start on the left flank, tends to drift into a central role in search of goalscoring opportunities. It will be interesting to see if the Gabonese international finds any space against Slavia Praha.