Arsenal host Villarreal in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday, let’s take a look at our predicted lineup for the clash.
Arsenal have a one-goal deficit to overturn in midweek, as they try to make the Europa League final with a win over Unai Emery’s Villarreal. The Gunners lost 2-1 away from home, meaning a goal and a clean sheet would be enough to go through.
From that perspective, Arsenal had the perfect warm-up for Thursday with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United at the weekend. But it’s sure to be a different game with the pressure on and the knowledge that every goal conceded makes the job much harder.
Dani Ceballos is suspended and there are still a few major injury doubts, but Mikel Arteta will try to go as strong as he can for such a big game. Here’s our Arsenal predicted lineup to face Villarreal.
Mat Ryan kept a clean sheet at the weekend, but Bernd Leno will probably come back in for this one. Leno made a vital save in the first leg to keep the tie alive and is still edging the number one goalkeeper spot.
The two players Arsenal were hoping might come into the defence and change this game were David Luiz and Kieran Tierney, but it seems both are likely to miss out through injury.
That probably means Granit Xhaka at left-back again, and Rob Holding at right-centre-back. If Holding is starting, it will probably be Pablo Mari alongside him, as Arteta doesn’t often opt for the Gabriel-Holding pairing anymore.
Calum Chambers is also likely to come back in to complete an unchanged back four from the first leg.
It’s harsh on Gabriel Martinelli, who played very well against Newcastle United. But Pepe has been the key man for Arsenal in the last few Europa League knockout games and Saka remains a big threat, particularly with Aubameyang and Odegaard to play off.