Arsenal take on Slavia Prague tonight in what is our most important game of the season yet.
The Europa League is our only hope of having a fairly successful season. We’ve done well to make it into the quarter-finals of the competition, but the real test starts now and Mikel Arteta’s men have to step up.
The Arsenal boss needs to get his team right. Multiple players have been underperforming recently, and Arteta cannot afford to keep giving them chances – especially when the stakes are so high.
Predicted Arsenal XI vs Slavia Prague
Bernd Leno is expected to continue in goal with Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding in front of him. Calum Chambers is likely to keep his place at right-back ahead of Hector Bellerin, who has played just twice since the start of last month.
Cedric Soares slots in at left-back in place of the injured Kieran Tierney. The Scotsman is expected to miss at least a month due to a ligament injury, which is a humongous blow for the Gunners ahead of a very difficult run of games.
Granit Xhaka is fit again and the Swissman is expected to partner Thomas Partey in the middle of the park. The pair will need to have a solid game if we’re to come out of it with a positive result.
Auba dropped, Odegaard on the bench
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had a shocking few games in an Arsenal shirt. The Gabon star offers very little to the side if he doesn’t score, and that could tempt Arteta to leave him on the bench tonight.
Martin Odegaard, on the other hand, is suffering from an ankle injury. He missed training on Tuesday and although he is expected to recover, he should not be risked from the start.
Fit-again Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka are both expected to come straight back into the side. The pair have been our driving force since Christmas, and we saw how bad Arsenal are without them on Saturday.
Gabriel Martinelli, labelled as a big talent by Odegaard recently, should start in place of Auba. The Brazilian deserves a chance in the first team and if he gets it tonight, he has to show Arteta what Arsenal have been missing.
Alexandre Lacazette keeps his place up top and we need a big performance from the Frenchman. He has to link play up well and if he gets a chance in front of goal, he has to take it to help Arsenal get past the Czech giants.