Mikel Arteta is set to ring in the changes when Arsenal play hosts to Rapid Wien in the UEFA Europa League later tonight.
Arsenal lock horns with Rapid Wien on Thursday night, hoping to continue their hundred percent record in the UEFA Europa League this season.
The Gunners are coming on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Wolves and have a key fixture against arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur on the coming weekend. So we can expect Mikel Arteta to make quite a few changes as he looks to keep his troops fresh ahead of this important north London derby.
Arsenal already have a few injury-related absentees heading into this game, including David Luiz, whose head injury against Wolves means he has been ruled out. His absence should guarantee a place for Rob Holding while Shkodran Mustafi is also likely to get back into the starting lineup, at the expense of Gabriel Magalhaes.
Meanwhile Arteta was quizzed about Luiz during his pre-match press conference and the Arsenal boss provided an update on the Brazilian, saying, “He is feeling fine, obviously he had a really nasty cut but they keep monitoring him and checking him, and he was absolutely fine. We made a statement to clarify the situation.”
Cedric Soares, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson are other players destined to be recalled to the setup, as far as the defensive department is concerned.
This past weekend, Arsenal were boosted by the return of Mohamed Elneny, who is likely to get the nod ahead of both Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos in midfield. Joe Willock is likely to partner him in the double pivot, as the Englishman has been one of the most in-form players for the home side in recent weeks.
It appears Mikel Arteta is expected to stick to a 4-2-3-1 setup, which should give him the opportunity to start with Emile Smith Rowe this midweek. The young playmaker has trained with the team heading into this fixture and could be an interesting option in the number ten role against Rapid Wien.
Elsewhere in the creative department, Nicolas Pepe is set to replace Willian as the Ivorian is currently facing suspension in the Premier League matches. Reiss Nelson is another guaranteed starter on the flanks, having impressed in the UEFA Europa League so far this campaign.
These two will look to provide an adequate supply for the central striker in Eddie Nketiah. But, Arteta does have other alternatives including Alexandre Lacazette and even Folarin Balogun, although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is unlikely to feature as Arteta keeps one eye on the Tottenham clash on the weekend.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Runarsson; Cedric, Holding, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles; Elneny, Willock; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Nelson; Nketiah