Arsenal will look to finish as group winners when they host FC Zurich at the Emirates and rectify the error from last week.
Mikel Arteta would have envisaged a different plan this week, particularly given the need to rest his squad ahead of the Chelsea game at the weekend. The Arsenal manager would have liked to wrap up their Europa League group as winners in the Netherlands, but their loss to PSV Eindhoven has altered the course of action ahead of the visit of FC Zurich.
With PSV now closer to Arsenal than Arteta wanted, the Gunners will need a victory against FC Zurich to finish as group winners. Given the stature of both teams, Arsenal are favourites to take three points, but much will depend on their team selection.
The Gunners put that disappointing result in Eindhoven behind them with a smashing victory over Nottingham Forest. Arteta’s men put five past the newly-promoted side to reclaim the top spot in the Premier League table. Despite the vital clash at the weekend with Chelsea, Arsenal will focus on midweek, with all eyes fixed on the manager’s selections.
Arsenal are yet to lose a single point at home this season, but FC Zurich manager Bo Henriksen will be optimistic. The Swiss outfit knew a victory over Bodo/Glimt would leave them with something to fight ahead of the final group game.
Henriksen’s men fought hard and secured a second-half stoppage-time winner. Hence, their slim hopes of dropping to the Europa Conference League are still alive. Bodo/Glimt led at the stroke of halftime, but Nikola Boranijasevic’s equaliser and a late winner from Antonio Marchesano secured the points for Zurich.
A win over Arsenal seems like the only route for Zurich to remain in Europe. Moreover, they will need PSV to beat Bodo/Glimt in their encounter. As things stand, the Gunners are clear favourites, although considering something remains on the line, no matter how slim, the Swiss outfit will likely put in a hard-working performance at the Emirates.
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Some fresh faces joined us at training today! ☺️ pic.twitter.com/kCbAA9Ra11
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 2, 2022
Bukayo Saka’s injury early in the first half overshadowed the Nottingham Forest win. But Mikel Arteta allayed fears in his post-match interview, insisting it was only a kick. And rightly so, as Saka has resumed training after journalists spotted him during the open session.
Only Emile Smith Rowe and Matt Turner were absent from the session. And Oleksandr Zinchenko and Mohamed Elneny trained alongside the entire squad. Arteta will thus have plenty of options, but Granit Xhaka will be missing through suspension.
Arteta might get cautious with his team selection with an eye on the Chelsea game at the weekend. There will be plenty of changes and rest for a few key first-teamers. He might have to keep Aaron Ramsdale in the lineup, considering Turner could miss out.
Cedric Soares played a cameo role at the weekend and could make his first start. Kieran Tierney will likely come in, while Zinchenko could get minutes in the second half. Arteta will probably rest William Saliba, Saka, Thomas Partey, and Gabriel Jesus.
Fabio Vieira might come in midfield, but the game may be too soon for Elneny to stake a place. Albert Sambi Lokonga could hold the midfield together, with Martin Odegaard the likely choice to take up Xhaka’s usual spot. Fresh from his weekend brace, Reiss Nelson will likely start. Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah complete the front three.
Probable lineup (4-3-3): Ramsdale; Soares, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Odegaard, Lokonga, Vieira; Nelson, Nketiah, Martinelli
Bo Henriksen still has many problems with injuries in his squad ahead of the Arsenal trip. As many as five of his first team stars are missing from action. Blerim Dzemaili, Donis Avdijaj, Miguel Reichmuth, Ilan Sauter, and Mirlind Kryeziu are out of contention.
🔜 🛫 London!#FCZüriÜberall #ARSFCZ #fcz #stadtclub #NieUsenandGah pic.twitter.com/i8obsLc26L
— FC Zürich (@fc_zuerich) November 2, 2022
After Fabian Rohner serving a domestic suspension, Zurich will have the Swiss ace back on the team. Antonio Marchesano was the only change for their weekend clash with Sion. He came on for the stricken Dzemaili.
Zurich are also concerned with Nikola Katic after coming off prematurely against Sion. Karol Mets could be the player to replace the defender if needed. Considering how Henriksen has recently deployed his side, it is safe to assume he would prefer to stick with the 3-4-1-2 setup.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Brecher; Mets, Aliti, Kamberi; Boranijasevic, Selnaes, Conde, Guerrero; Marchesano; Okita, Tosin
- Arsenal need a win to finish as group winners.
- Arsenal have not dropped points at the Emirates in all competitions this season.
- Arsenal have won their last five European games at the Emirates.
- FC Zurich need a win to keep their hopes of the Europa Conference League alive.
- FC Zurich have the worst defensive record in the entire competition after conceding 15 goals in five group games.
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💪 What a performance from @ReissNelson9 pic.twitter.com/Pb0iVsmCUV
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 30, 2022
After a few years of irrelevance, Nelson may be a good option for Mikel Arteta to consider for the remainder of the season. Injuries and lack of form had prevented the winger’s entry to play games for Arsenal consistently. However, things might have changed since the weekend.
His brace after replacing Bukayo Saka at the weekend will go a long way in him winning his place back in the squad. Arteta might consider using Nelson regularly if he is to perform well in the following games, starting with FC Zurich.
Arsenal 3-0 FC Zurich
Zurich might still have something to fight for when they visit the Emirates. Arsenal could prove challenging for the Swiss side, as Mikel Arteta will be keen to wrap up the group in style. The Gunners will want to keep the momentum gained from the 5-0 win over Nottingham Forest and put in another goal-laden performance.
Zurich will find it tough to get going at this venue, which Arsenal have made a fortress this season. Teams in England or Europe have yet to take any points from the Emirates this season, and the trend might continue on Thursday. The Gunners remain overwhelming favourites to take three points and could prove a handful in front of the goal.
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