Back in the Europa League for a dead-rubber group stage game, let’s take a look at our predicted Arsenal lineup for Dundalk.
There’s pretty much nothing on the line for this one, with Arsenal already topping the group and Dundalk confirming their position in fourth last week. The Gunners are simply playing to complete a perfect group stage of six wins.
Then again, there are Premier League starting spots on the line, so the individuals involved have something to play for. Given the severe underperformance in the league, some will feel they can displace those ahead of them if they impress.
Mikel Arteta is likely to rotate heavily from the North London derby at the weekend. Let’s take a look at our predicted Arsenal lineup for Dundalk.
Runar Alex Runarsson should get another chance in goal. He’s been playing well in the group stage matches so far, and this is another free hit for him to make his case for further opportunities.
Pablo Mari did well against Rapid Vienna last week, and he should get another chance to build his fitness. David Luiz could return alongside him, but it depends on whether Arteta plans to use him at the weekend. If he does, Shkodran Mustafi could start instead.
Mohamed Elneny will probably start in front of the back four, as he did against Rapid Vienna. Assuming Arsenal play a similar system to that match, he’ll have two midfielders starting ahead of him, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles likely to reprise his role.
I’m going to optimistically predict a start for Emile Smith Rowe in the third role. Alexandre Lacazette started both matches last week, suggesting he’s moved back into Arteta’s Premier League thoughts, opening up a spot for another midfielder.
What better time to give Smith Rowe a shot than in a game against Dundalk with the group already won?
The wingers pretty much pick themselves at the moment. Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson should both make the team on the basis that they’re not playing the Premier League games and they’re performing well in the Europa League.
Pepe still needs to serve the third match of his red card suspension this weekend, whilst Nelson didn’t even make the squad for Spurs.