Arsenal face FC Vorskla in the Europa League on Thursday, with the chance to top the group with a win, but an upcoming North London derby to keep in mind.
Travelling to freezing conditions in Ukraine, Unai Emery has to decide which players it’s worth risking before the game against Tottenham Hotspur three days later.
Winning the game would finish any lingering Sporting CP hopes of finishing above the Gunners, but Arsenal will have another chance to get a win against Qarabag at the Emirates Stadium later in the month. This game against Vorskla isn’t anywhere near as crucial as the Tottenham match, or the Manchester United game next week.
Let’s have a look at how we predict Unai Emery will set his team up:
1Goalkeeper and Defence
In goal, Petr Cech is the obvious choice. Bernd Leno performed well again over the weekend, and after starting against Liverpool earlier this month he’ll probably do the same against Tottenham. As a result, he’s not in the travelling squad, and Cech should take his place.
We expect Emery to revert to 4-2-3-1, despite using three at the back on Sunday. It makes no sense to play three centre-backs on this occasion when Arsenal have so few available to choose from.
Stephan Lichtsteiner is fit to travel, so he should start at right-back. Meanwhile, Carl Jenkinson will have to fill in on the left, since Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac aren’t in the squad. Academy left-back Dominic Thompson has travelled, and he didn’t play for the u23s on Monday, so he’s another option.
At centre-back, Rob Holding is the only senior option who has travelled, so there’s no doubt that he’ll start.
Assuming Emery wants to play an experienced player alongside Holding, Mohamed Elneny makes the most sense, as he’s played the position before. Academy defender Zech Medley has also travelled with the squad, but having never played a minute of senior football before we expect him to start on the bench at first.
Click ‘Next’ for Midfield, Forwards and the Full Starting XI