Friday, January 28, 2022

Saka, Pepe And Leno Set To Return | Predicted 4-2-3-1 Arsenal Lineup Vs Villarreal

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

Arsenal are eyeing a place in the final of the UEFA Europa League as they take on Villarreal on Thursday. The Gunners have a tough task ahead of them, though, having lost 2-1 in the first leg. However, they do have the one away goal advantage, meaning even a 1-0 victory at Emirates should be enough to get the better of Unai Emery’s men.

Predicted Arsenal Lineup Vs Villarreal

Defence

Mikel Arteta raised some eyebrows with eight changes in the weekend’s Premier League clash against Newcastle United. He is likely to revert those changes, with Calum Chambers, in particular, set to replace Hector Bellerin at right-back. Granit Xhaka, though, could continue on the opposite flank due to a lack of alternatives.

David Luiz picked up an injury and has been ruled out for the rest of the season. As such, Arteta has three options to choose from, in the two available centre-back slots.

Rob Holding is a favourite to start due to his imposing physical and aerial prowess. Alongside him, however, Pablo Mari may get the nod ahead of Gabriel Magalhaes, who started against Newcastle United on the weekend.

There should be a change in goal as well, with Mat Ryan making way for Bernd Leno. The German is under severe pressure, though, having struggled with his form throughout the season.

Predicted Arsenal Lineup Vs Villarreal - What does Arteta have in his sleeves?
Villarreal v Arsenal – UEFA Europa League – Semi Final – First Leg – Estadio de la Ceramica Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Villarreal manager Unai Emery background on the touchline during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final First Leg match at the Estadio de la Ceramica in Villarreal, Spain. Picture date: Thursday April 29, 2021. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xIsabelxInfantesx 59481591

Midfield

Thomas Partey was given a breather against Newcastle United and remains destined to start on Thursday. His experience, physical prowess and robust style of play could be useful as the Gunners look to dominate the proceedings.

Alongside him, Dani Ceballos is likely to be preferred as the Spaniard has been in good form. He should enjoy the role of a ball-carrier in midfield, playing a key role in Arsenal’s attempt to evade the Villarreal press.

Attack

Moving forward, Arteta could recall both his star players in Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe ahead of this crucial match-up on Thursday. These two will play a key role in the creative department, with Pepe, in particular, having an excellent record in the Europa League this term.

Elsewhere, Martin Odegaard is likely to get the nod ahead of Emile Smith Rowe in the number ten slot, as the Norwegian, along with Saka and Pepe, look to provide the supply for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Gabonese international should return to the number nine duties after featuring for only five minutes in the first leg. His productivity could be vital as Arsenal look to breach the Villarreal backline.

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