Arsenal face Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday, with the chance to qualify for the Europa League knockout stages and claim top spot in their group.
Though there are still plenty of permutations for Arsenal’s group in the final four games, the Gunners can simplify things by beating Frankfurt on Thursday. If they do, they win the group, as simple as that.
A draw would be enough to qualify for the knockout stages, but it would mean depending on Vitoria getting at least a draw against Standard Liege to guarantee top spot. Otherwise, that matter would go to the final day in Belgium.
A defeat means Arsenal are open to being caught by both Liege and Frankfurt and being eliminated from the competition, though that would still be an unlikely scenario dependent on other results.
Unai Emery’s side need a win, but they also need to rotate with a Premier League trip to Norwich just three days later. Emery should be playing his backup team in this game, as he has for the rest of the group stage.
Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup for the clash, with the previously injured duo of Sead Kolasinac and Reiss Nelson in line to play their first senior minutes since their setbacks.
No surprises expected here, with Emi Martinez taking over from Bernd Leno for the Europa League as usual.
Sead Kolasinac missed out on the weekend’s draw against Southampton with a tight hamstring, and it’s possible he may also be out of this one. He did train though, suggesting he should be ready to return.
Calum Chambers will start on the opposite flank, replacing Hector Bellerin, who also has a tight hamstring.
Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi are the obvious choices at centre-back, given Konstantinos Mavropanos continues to be used with the u23s and David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos remain the Premier League first-choice options.
Granit Xhaka is expected to be reintroduced to the team in an away game, which rules this one out. Dani Ceballos is also out injured, Emile Smith Rowe featured with the u23s and Lucas Torreira will probably be saved for the Norwich clash if possible.
We predict Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Özil are the most likely first-choice midfielders to keep their places as a result, with Joe Willock joining them.
Bukayo Saka appears to have recovered from the knock that kept him out of the weekend game, but he’ll probably find himself behind Reiss Nelson and Nicolas Pepe, who both need minutes themselves.
Gabriel Martinelli is the most likely to start up front, giving Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a break. It wouldn’t be a complete shock if Emery reacted to the current pressure on him by putting one of them instead though.