Mikel Arteta will make plenty of changes for Arsenal’s midweek clash with FC Zurich, with Fabio Vieira set to make his full debut.
Fabio Vieira got his first minutes against Manchester United and duly impressed those waiting for him to take the field. On Thursday, Mikel Arteta could hand the summer signing his first start, when Arsenal take on FC Zurich to open their UEFA Europa League campaign.
There could be plenty of changes as Arteta will have to tinker through a squad he described as ‘thin’ during his pre-match press conference. The Gunners have been hit with a few key injuries in the last two weeks, with Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Emile Smith Rowe nursing different problems.
Smith Rowe was the latest to be sidelined after sustaining a groin problem during the warm down after Arsenal’s defeat at Old Trafford. Arteta confirmed it and said, “He felt discomfort in an area that [he’s been dealing with] now for a few weeks. He wasn’t comfortable after the game and he hasn’t trained in the last few days, so he’s out of the squad.”
In defence, Arteta could rest most of the backline that faced Manchester United. William Saliba, Ben White, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Aaron Ramsdale are expected to be rested or placed on the Arsenal bench. Gabriel Magalhaes could be the only defensive member to retain his place.
The Brazilian will be joined by Rob Holding, who is pencilled in for his first start of the 2022/23 campaign. Meanwhile, Cedric Soares is also out injured, although Takehiro Tomiyasu was always likely to start at right-back. Zinchenko will be replaced by Kieran Tierney at left-back, while Matt Turner will make his first competitive start for Arsenal against FC Zurich.
With Vieira likely to star in midfield, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Martin Odegaard could be the other players featuring in the middle of the park. Granit Xhaka could be afforded some rest, considering there is a shortage in midfield currently.
With Smith Rowe set to miss out due to an injury, Arteta could be forced to continue with Bukayo Saka on the right side of the Arsenal attack, while Marquinhos could replace compatriot Gabriel Martinelli on the left flank. Eddie Nketiah will surely replace Gabriel Jesus and lead the line for Arsenal against FC Zurich.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Turner; Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Odegaard, Lokonga, Vieira; Saka, Nketiah, Marquinhos