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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.