Although it is not exactly where he wants to be, Unai Emery will be hoping his Arsenal side have a good run in the Europa League this term.
The Gunners will kick off their European campaign against Eintracht Frankfurt at the Commerzbank Arena in what should be an interesting match-up, what with the German giants having reached the semi-finals of last year’s tournament, and the north Londoners finishing as runners-up.
The former Sevilla boss is likely to rotate his squad, regardless, so here we look at how the Gunners could line up against the Bundesliga outfit.
Emery has a history of swapping his goalkeepers between the league and the cup competitions.
Last season, Petr Cech started in 16 of the 20 cup matches the Gunners played in, whilst Bernd Leno was selected more often than not in the English top flight. With the 124-time Czech Republic international having retired at the end of the past campaign, Emiliano Martinez is now Arsenal’s number two. Thus, the chances are high that he will be chosen between the sticks.
Watch Arsenal Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv Below
Although Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are back in full training, it is still surely too early to start them. As such, Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles should keep their places at full-back.
Rob Holding is also close to full fitness but, once again, it would be a big risk to select him. Sokratis and David Luiz have both struggled this term, averaging 6.55 and 6.37 respectively in their WhoScored ratings, and the former, having played a game more, could be dropped to the bench. Calum Chambers is the only other centre-back who is fully fit, and could, therefore, enter the fray.
Joe Willock and Lucas Torreira should be named in midfield, having sat out the draw with Watford, with Dani Ceballos the only one of the previous midfield trio to keep his place.
In a 4-3-3 formation, Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson should start on the flanks. The latter has not played from the beginning since August 17th, making him one of the fresher bodies in the squad, and a lack of realistic alternatives – only Maitland-Niles can really play there apart from Pepe and he is starting at right-back – should give the former another chance to prove himself.
Alexandre Lacazette’s injury, which will keep him out of the side until October, leaves Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the only striker currently at his manager’s disposal. Whether Emery would like to rest him or not, he has little choice but to give him the nod on Thursday.