8 Changes, Koscielny Returns: Arsenal’s Expected Line-Up vs. Qarabag


Arsenal will host Qarabag in the final Europa League group stage fixture on Thursday and will hope to stretch the clubs unbeaten run to 22.

With a busy winter schedule coming up, including games against Liverpool and Tottenham, Unai Emery will take this opportunity to give some fringe players game time but he will be keen to maintain momentum, so we may see some experienced players in the mix also. 

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

Cech will continue his duties between the sticks in the Europa League. 

Defence: Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Ainsley Maitland-Niles

A back three/five has been working for the club lately, so expect that system to continue on Thursday. Sokratis is banned for the weekends game against Southampton, so will more than likely play in this fixture, whilst he is likely to be joined by Koscielny and Monreal in central defensive, with the latter duo needing to gain match fitness ahead of the weekends game where they will be required with Mustafi and Holding also unavailable due to injury. Lichsteiner will shift to wing back, allowing Bellerin a rest and Maitland-Niles is expected to pick up more minutes in a left wing back role with Kolasinac also rested for the weekend.  

Midfield: Matteo Guendouzi, Mohammed Elneny

Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira are Emery’s first choice midfield pairing, so one would expect Guendouzi and Elneny to deputise. 

Attack: Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith-Rowe

This is where the young players are likely to get a chance to impress. Arsenal have one eye on the transfer window with Danny Welbeck’s injury in mind, but if any of these three can illustrate their quality in this fixture, it could push them into contention for Premier League minutes. 

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