Unai Emery’s men travel to Azerbaijan for the second game of their Europa League campaign on Thursday, with Qarabag FK standing between them and three points.
Arsenal picked up a 4-2 win against FC Vorskla in the first game of the group stages, which left the Gunners top of Group E on goals scored. Qarabag, meanwhile, are bottom of the group, having lost 2-0 to Sporting Lisbon.
Emery named a strong squad for that first game at the Emirates, but with the length of the trip to Azerbaijan and another Premier League game on Sunday, he’s likely to leave one or two extra players at home on this occasion.
Let’s have a look at our predictions to start Thursday’s match:
1Goalkeeper and Defence
Bernd Leno was thrust into the action against Watford and we expect him to keep his place on Thursday. Emi Martinez is the alternative option, with Petr Cech injured. However, since Leno now needs to become Arsenal’s first choice in Cech’s absence, Emery will probably use this opportunity to get him a little more up to speed.
Sead Kolasinac should finally get a chance to return to the Arsenal team after injury. He’s been slowly working his way back to full fitness, and made a couple of appearances on the bench in the past week, without getting onto the pitch so far. Now seems like the right time to work him back into the side though, as Nacho Monreal needs a rest.
Stephan Lichtsteiner will replace Hector Bellerin on the other side, as he has been in the Europa League and League Cup so far.
At centre-back, Sokratis Papastathopoulos should make his return from injury, and if we’re picking on form then it has to be Rob Holding alongside him.
Either Holding or Shkodran Mustafi has to take their place in the team again because Arsenal only have three fit centre-backs. Laurent Koscielny and Konstantinos Mavropanos are injured, and Julio Pleguezuelo played for the u23s on Monday.