Ozil Starts, 4 Changes: Arsenal’s Predicted XI to face BATE Borisov

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After slumping to a shocking defeat last week, Arsenal need to win by two clear goals at home on Thursday night to advance to the last 16 of the Europa League. Anything less and huge questions will be asked of Unai Emery, so can he afford to leave out Mesut Ozil again?

Defence

Petr Cech will keep his place between the sticks, but in front of him it is vital that the Gunners opt for a back four rather than a back five, which is certainly not necessary at home in this must win fixture. I’d like to see Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac as the attacking full backs, with Laurent Koscielny partnering Nacho Monreal in central defence. Skhodran Mustafi is too often proving to be a liability.

Midfield trio

Mesut Ozil must come back in to help the Gunners unlock a stubborn BATE defence. Instead of three deep-lying midfielders, the manager should opt for Ozil in his traditional number 10 role, with Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka behind the German. Ramsey should be ready and waiting on the bench as should Guendouzi, who has looked tired of late and has been overused by Emery in recent months.

Forward force

In attack, Arsenal have less options following Alexandre Lacazette’s red card, but Denis Suarez should be handed his debut in this fixture. The Barcelona man’s technical ability could be vital in helping unlock the BATE defence, as could his combination play with Ozil. Arsenal will need to create plenty of chances for Aubameyang to score, we know the Gabonese international is somewhat reliant on others to create chances for him, but he will start in his preferred central berth. Mkhitaryan may be preferred to Iwobi, but whoever is in these wide roles will need to step up and deliver a big performance when it maters.

Full line up (4-2-3-1) – Cech; AMN, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac; Torreira, Xhaka; Ozil; D Suarez, Iwobi; Aubameyang.

First and foremost Arsenal must win this game. But to save face, they need to do so convincingly. Winning by 3 or more goals will surely be the unspoken target for both players and manager following the poor performance last week.

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