Arsenal suffered a 3-0 loss at the hands of Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday and this was one of the poorest performances from the Gunners this season. But Mikel Arteta will be hoping his team can set the record straight by defeating Slavia Prague in the Europa League quarter-finals.
The Gunners go into this game as the favourites but their loss to Liverpool will give Slavia a lot of hope. Also, Arteta might make a few changes to his conventional line-up on Thursday and this could work out in favour of the visiting side.
Slavia will not be a walkover in any sense since they have already beaten teams like Rangers and Leicester City in the Europa League this season. But given the quality that Arsenal possess, they should be able to see this one through without any major obstacles.
Also, Arsenal have no hopes of finishing in the top-four this season so winning the Europa League is their only realistic chance of getting back into the Champions League next season – making Thursday’s game even more important.
Arsenal team news vs Slavia Prague:
David Luiz is out for a couple of weeks and Gabriel had a howler vs Liverpool on Saturday. This might prompt the manager to bring Pablo Mari into central defence alongside Rob Holding.
Kieran Tierney is also out with a knee injury and this is indeed a big blow for the manager. Cedric Soares will have to slot in at left-back for the next few matches.
Bellerin started on the bench against Liverpool but will come back into the side in midweek.
Granit Xhaka missed the weekend’s game due to illness and he is facing a race against time to be fit for the Slavia Prague game as well. If the Swiss international is not ready then Dani Ceballos or Elneny will have to partner Thomas Partey in midfield.
Martin Odegaard was non-existent against Liverpool but the Norwegian has otherwise been superb and will start vs Slavia.
Bukayo Saka had returned to training just before Saturday but was not risked in the 3-0 loss. But the youngster should be ready to start on the right wing. The same cannot be said about Emile Smith Rowe as the midfielder might not be ready to feature in the matchday squad. With Saka back into the side, Nicolas Pepe is likely to move back to the bench.
Aubameyang has been in really poor form for the Gunners and there’s a chance the manager could send a statement by dropping him to the bench and using someone like Willian or Pepe on the left flank.
Like Auba, Lacazette has also been underwhelming but the Frenchman is likely to keep his place in the side meaning young Gabriel Martinelli will once again start on the bench.
Arsenal’s predicted XI vs Salvia Prague:
Predicted Line-up: Leno; Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Soares, Bellerin; Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Odegaard; Aubameyang/Pepe, Lacazette, Bukayo Saka.
Injury updates courtesy via Premier Injuries.