Arsenal have a vital Europa League quarter-final second leg coming up on Thursday, so let’s look at our predicted lineup to face Slavia Prague.

ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 18: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal looks on ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match between SL Benfica and Arsenal FC at Stadio Olimpico on February 18, 2021 in Rome, Italy. SL Benfica face Arsenal FC at a neutral venue in Rome behind closed doors after Portugal imposed a ban on travellers arriving from the UK in an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19 variants. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal looks on ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match between SL Benfica and Arsenal FC at Stadio Olimpico on February 18, 2021. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Arsenal need to score at least one goal in Prague to have any chance of qualifying for the Europa League semi-finals. The good news is that if they do score one goal, every goal after that gives them the away goals advantage.

As a result, the aim of the second leg should be simply to score as many as possible, even at the risk of conceding. 2-2 sends Arsenal through, 0-0 sends them out.

Arsenal had a positive warm-up game with a 3-0 win over Sheffield United at the weekend, but Slavia Prague should prove a much tougher nut to crack defensively. Here’s our predicted Arsenal lineup to try and break them down.

Goalkeeper

ROME, ITALY: Bernd Leno of Arsenal looks for a pass during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match between SL Benfica and Arsenal FC at Stadio Olimpico on February 18, 2021. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

Bernd Leno will keep his place, after finally keeping another clean sheet at the weekend. Mat Ryan and Karl Hein will make the bench.

Defence

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND: Cedric Soares of Arsenal is challenged by Kyle Walker-Peters of Southampton during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Southampton FC and Arsenal FC on January 23, 2021. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND: Cedric Soares of Arsenal is challenged by Kyle Walker-Peters of Southampton during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Southampton FC and Arsenal FC on January 23, 2021. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

We’re expecting the same back four that started the first leg to return for this one. Rob Holding is pretty much nailed on to start, and Hector Bellerin will probably be preferred to Calum Chambers for what he offers going forwards.

The difference between Gabriel Magalhaes and Pablo Mari seems pretty minimal at the moment, so Arteta will probably play the one who has just had a rest.

Granit Xhaka actually made a good case for his inclusion at left-back with his performance against Sheffield United, but we feel Mikel Arteta will opt for using the Swiss international in midfield, leaving Cedric Soares at left-back instead.

Midfield

ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 18: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their sides first goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match between SL Benfica and Arsenal FC at Stadio Olimpico on February 18, 2021 in Rome, Italy. SL Benfica face Arsenal FC at a neutral venue in Rome behind closed doors after Portugal imposed a ban on travellers arriving from the UK in an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19 variants. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their sides first goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match between SL Benfica and Arsenal FC at Stadio Olimpico on February 18, 2021. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

As mentioned, we’re predicting Xhaka to start in midfield, almost certainly alongside Thomas Partey.

With all the doubts around the fitness of Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe, it seems possible Arsenal will end up naming Bukayo Saka at 10 again.

It worked well against Sheffield United and would allow Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe – who did so well in the closing minutes last Thursday – to start as well. Saka had his own fitness issue on Sunday, but it didn’t appear to be anything serious.

Forwards

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Arsenal (Photo via Getty Images)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Arsenal (Photo via Getty Images)

As mentioned above, it seems pretty likely Aubameyang and Pepe will both make the starting lineup, but the real question is over the third position on the left.

If Smith Rowe is fit, he could make his return on that side. Willian is available, but he really didn’t impress in last Thursday’s first leg. Gabriel Martinelli did catch the eye at the weekend, and he claims he’s fit for this Thursday.

We’re going to predict a start for Martinelli because Arsenal need another goal threat in the team.

Predicted Starting Lineup vs Slavia Prague

Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs Slavia Prague created with Chosen11.com
Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs Slavia Prague created with Chosen11.com

Read on for our predicted lineup for the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final, posted before last Thursday’s match.

Arsenal face Slavia Prague at home in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final, let’s take a look at our predicted lineup for the clash.

Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta reacts during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on December 19, 2020. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)
Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta reacts during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England on December 19, 2020. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)

Arsenal have to bounce back quickly from a terrible Premier League performance against Liverpool in their Europa League clash on Thursday. Once again, their season is riding on winning the competition, so they need a big performance.

Mikel Arteta will go as strong as he can for the match, but a lot is going to depend on which players are fit and available to play. Kieran Tierney, David Luiz, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka, and Emile Smith Rowe all have health or fitness problems right now.

Here’s our Arsenal predicted lineup for the Slavia Prague first leg.

Goalkeeper

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno during the UEFA Europa League Round of Sixteen second-leg match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Thursday March 18, 2021. Copyright: Adam Davy
Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno during the UEFA Europa League Round of Sixteen second-leg match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Thursday, March 18, 2021. Copyright: Adam Davy

Bernd Leno will start, as Arteta doesn’t really have any room for experimentation in this game. If he wants to give Mat Ryan another match before the end of the season, Sunday’s Sheffield United clash would make more sense.

Defence

LONDON, ENGLAND: Cedric Soares of Arsenal is challenged by Raphinha of Leeds United during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Leeds United at Emirates Stadium on February 14, 2021. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Cedric Soares of Arsenal is challenged by Raphinha of Leeds United during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Leeds United at Emirates Stadium on February 14, 2021. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

With David Luiz and Kieran Tierney both likely to miss out, Gabriel Magalhaes alongside Rob Holding is the most probable centre-back pairing with Cedric Soares at left-back. Pablo Mari could come in for Gabriel, but Gabriel seems to be first-choice at the moment.

At right-back, Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin are both available. Though Chambers didn’t make any major defensive errors against Liverpool, he also offered nothing going forward, and Arteta may be tempted to rotate as a result.

Midfield

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on February 21, 2021 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 Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on February 21, 2021. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed, but you’d think Arsenal’s first-choice midfield will be available for this one. That’s Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, and Martin Odegaard.

Xhaka only missed out on Liverpool through illness, so if it’s nothing too serious, he should be back in contention in the next few days. Dani Ceballos has really struggled lately, so it would be a blow to have to rely on him in this match.

Whether you consider Emile Smith Rowe part of the midfield or the forwards at the moment, he still isn’t back in training after his injury on international duty, so we’re assuming he’ll miss this one.

Forwards

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka during the Premier League match at Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday March 14, 2021. Copyright: Dan Mullan
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka during the Premier League match at Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday, March 14, 2021. Copyright: Dan Mullan

Given Bukayo Saka returned to training a day before the Liverpool game, we’re staying optimistic that means he’ll be available for Thursday. If he is, he has to start.

The current attempt to force Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette into one team just isn’t working, so one of them surely has to drop out. We’re predicting Aubameyang to start up front.

As for the position on the left, there are a few options. Nicolas Pepe could shift across, Gabriel Martinelli could get a rare start, or Reiss Nelson a highly improbable one, but we’re predicting Willian to make the lineup.

Willian had four assists in five games before his calf injury, including in both of his last two Europa League matches. But mostly, Arteta will probably opt for him for his experience in European knockout fixtures.

After all, Willian has experience of this exact fixture, facing Slavia Prague in the Europa League quarter-final with Chelsea in 2019. He assisted their late first-leg winner on that occasion.

Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Slavia Prague

Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs Slavia Prague created with Chosen11.com
Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs Slavia Prague created with Chosen11.com