Aiming to top the group with a draw or a win on Thursday, let’s take a look at our Arsenal predicted lineup vs Rapid Vienna.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Emirates Stadium on November 29, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Emirates Stadium on November 29, 2020. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

As shockingly poorly as Arsenal are playing in the Premier League, they’re breezing through their Europa League group at the moment.

A draw or a win would see Arsenal confirming top spot on Thursday night, but even a 1-0 defeat would be enough to confirm their position mathematically. If the Gunners lose by more than that, they can still take top spot with a draw against Dundalk afterwards.

Unlike in the league, the pressure is off in this competition. At this point, it’s more about lifting spirits and getting the job done, particularly as this will be the first game with fans in the stands since March. Here’s our Arsenal predicted lineup vs Rapid Vienna.

Goalkeeper

LONDON, ENGLAND: Runar Alex Runarsson of Arsenal is challenged by Patrick Hoban of Dundalk during the UEFA Europa League Group B stage match between Arsenal FC and Dundalk FC at Emirates Stadium on October 29, 2020. Runarsson makes our Arsenal predicted lineup vs Rapid Vienna (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Runar Alex Runarsson got a chance in the last game against Molde, and there’s no real reason not to give him another one here. He needs games to settle in and these two group stage games are basically free hits. Bernd Leno should drop to the bench.

Defence

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 29: Neco Williams of Liverpool and Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal battle for the ball during the FA Community Shield final between Arsenal and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on August 29, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Tallis/ pool via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Neco Williams of Liverpool and Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal battle for the ball on August 29, 2020. Maitland-Niles is in our Arsenal predicted lineup vs Rapid Vienna (Photo by Justin Tallis/ pool via Getty Images)

At the moment, Sead Kolasinac’s coronavirus situation remains unclear. Ainsley Maitland-Niles will probably need to step in at left-back again, to avoid overplaying Kieran Tierney.

Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari are both on the verge of returning to first-team action, but it’s hard to say when they’ll actually get a chance to start. David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi are probably the safer bets, assuming Luiz continues to pass the medical tests after his head injury. Cedric Soares should come in at right-back.

Midfield

Arsenal's English midfielder Joe Willock (R) runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League Group B football match between Arsenal and Molde at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 5, 2020. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s English midfielder Joe Willock (R) runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League Group B football match between Arsenal and Molde at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 5, 2020. Willock makes our Arsenal predicted lineup vs Rapid Vienna (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

I can’t explain why Arteta is playing Willock in the 10 role in the Premier League when the midfielder is performing so much better in a deeper position in the Europa League.

The young midfielder should drop back alongside Granit Xhaka, as they were so successfully in the last match against Molde.

Alexandre Lacazette started ahead of them in that Molde clash, but I have a feeling Arteta might save him for the North London derby. Emile Smith Rowe is back and earning a start for the first-team, so this seems like the perfect opportunity for him.

Forwards

Arsenal’s French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe plays the ball during the UEFA Europa League group B football match Molde v Arsenal in Molde, Norway on November 26, 2020. Pepe is in our Arsenal predicted lineup vs Rapid Vienna (Photo by SVEIN OVE EKORNESVAG / NTB / AFP via Getty Images)

Performing so well against Molde to begin to make amends for his red card against Leeds United, Nicolas Pepe should come back into the team for this one. He can’t play in the Premier League due to suspension, so this is the only way to get him games.

Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah will presumably complete the front three, given neither started against Wolves at the weekend. Willian and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should get rests.

Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs Rapid Vienna

Arsenal predicted lineup vs Rapid Vienna created with Chosen11.com
Arsenal predicted lineup vs Rapid Vienna created with Chosen11.com

If you’re wondering where all the youth players are, I just don’t believe Arteta is going to start them.

The likes of Folarin Balogun, Ben Cottrell, Miguel Azeez, and Karl Hein should all make the bench again, but the senior squad is so large. The above lineup already has eight players who didn’t start against Wolves, before you even get to the youth players.

Perhaps Arteta might consider giving Azeez a shot in place of Xhaka or Willock, who are both among the three I’m predicting to start both games. I hope so, I just wouldn’t count on it.