Unai Emery will ring in the changes for Arsenal’s UEFA Europa League opener against Eintracht Frankfurt, with Mesut Ozil rested.
Arsenal will begin their third successive UEFA Europa League campaign with a trip to Eintracht Frankfurt. Unai Emery, like last season, will look to field a different starting lineup than what he regularly does in the Premier League.
This stance could see the Arsenal boss giving some much needed chances to some of Arsenal’s budding youngsters including the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson. Nelson and Willock are expected to make the starting lineup, but there could be doubts over Smith Rowe’s participation from the start, owing to his recent injury troubles.
The likes of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are also included in the travelling squad, but they are likely to come from the bench at some point during the match. Elsewhere, Shkodran Mustafi is expected to be a part of the starting lineup for the first time this season.
✈️ Our travelling squad for @Eintracht 🇩🇪
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 18, 2019
Emery will not take the clash with Eintracht Frankfurt lightly. Hence, the Arsenal manager might go with a side that will be a mix of youngsters and seasoned professionals.
Emiliano Martinez could be handed his first start of the season, with Emery taking this opportunity to test his backup keeper and offer some rest for Bernd Leno. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac are the only recognised full-backs in the squad for now, meaning they are set to feature.
There could be a shake up at the heart of the Arsenal defence, with Calum Chambers and Mustafi set to form the central defensive partnership. Sokratis is rested and Emery could keep David Luiz on the bench. Up ahead, the Arsenal manager is expected to field a double pivot, with Lucas Torreira and Willock the prime candidates to fill those positions.
Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil has not travelled with the squad, and Emery confirmed he was rested for the Europa League opener. The reason for Ozil’s absence was stressed by the Arsenal manager during his pre-match press conference.
“I prefer after Sunday’s match to rest for this match, to train and be ready for Sunday. Because we are going to play another match on Sunday. He played on Sunday now my focus is on tomorrow, and to decide my first XI, I decided who are the best players for tomorrow and decided also the players not in the squad, who are Sokratis and Mesut.”
With Ozil rested, Emery could start Dani Ceballos in the hole behind the striker. Reiss Nelson is expected to start on the left side of the Arseal attack, while Nicolas Pepe should slot in on the right wing. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is likely to start up front as the lone striker, with Martinelli being the backup option.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Martinez; Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Mustafi, Kolasinac; Torreira, Willock; Pepe, Ceballos, Nelson; Aubameyang