Mikel Arteta is expected to make a bucket-load of changes to his XI as Arsenal travel to Vienna to take on Rapid Wien in the UEFA Europa League.
Arsenal will be aiming to make the perfect start to the UEFA Europa League when they lock horns with Rapid Wein at the Allianz Stadion. And, Mikel Arteta is expected to field a completely different starting lineup to the team that took on Manchester City on the weekend in a 1-0 loss.
Arsenal are missing a handful of players, including the likes of Calum Chambers and Rob Holding who are expected to be back soon. Willian, too, sustained a calf injury in the build-up to this game and will miss out against Rapid Wien. Arteta was quizzed on the mounting injury troubles during his pre-match press conference, and the Gunners boss chose to put up a brave front.
“We had one or two issues as you know against City with a few players missing out, but the rest are okay. We have Musti back after a long injury. He’s done really well, and he looks fit to play, so we still have a big squad. We have 21 players here, and we will make the decision tomorrow who starts.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 21, 2020
Bernd Leno will be benched, with new signing Runar Alex Runarsson expected to make his debut for the club. Arsenal signed the 25-year-old for £1.8 million after the departure of Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa.
Keiran Tierney is expected to receive rest against Rapid Wien, and we expect Arteta to revert to his preferred 3-4-3 formation. Ainsley Maitland-Niles will come in to fill in for the Scotsman on the left wing-back spot.
For the right wing-back slot, Cedric Soares and Hector Bellerin are among the options for the Arsenal manager to pick from, with the former likely to get the nod. Meanwhile, with Shkodran Mustafi back, we can expect him to start in the back-three, while Pablo Mari and Sead Kolasinac make up the rest of the defence.
Joe Willock is among the younger players who ought to get a chance to impress, and will partner new signing Thomas Partey who gets ready to make his first start for the North London outfit. Arteta was asked about the Ghanaian’s availability, a question he seemed happy to answer.
“He reacted really well, he came on and look strong and confident [against Man City], and he added something positive to the team. It was a very short turnaround for him since he joined the team, he had a day, a day-and-a-half only in training. He has done a few more training sessions, and he looks ready to start.”
The likes of Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe should start as well, with the trio lining up as the front-three that caps off the Arsenal starting lineup.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Runnarson; Mustafi, Mari, Kolasinac; Soares, Willock, Partey, Maitland-Niles; Rowe, Nketiah, Nelson