Arsenal manager Unai Emery is expected to make wholesale changes to the starting XI when his team take on Vitoria SC in the UEFA Europa League.
Arsenal will look to maintain their 100 percent record in this season’s UEFA Europa League when they travel to Estadio D. Afonso Henriques to take on Group F bottom feeders Vitoria de Guimaraes. And the good news for manager Unai Emery ahead of the game is that there are no players sidelined with injuries or suspension.
However, Granit Xhaka once again misses out of the Arsenal squad for the game, following the midfielder’s controversial actions a week ago. In addition, Xhaka has also been removed as Arsenal’s captain, Emery confirmed in his pre-match presser.
“Again, we can do one step more with him. He’s not here today but also I think we need to take time with him, first to protect him and also to be calm and training with us every day. But I was speaking with him this morning and also I decided he’s not one of the captains in our group and I decided that and I told him this morning,” he said.
📋 Our travelling squad for tomorrow's game against Vitoria is now confirmed
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 5, 2019
Emery has also opted to leave out the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, David Luiz and Emile Smith Rowe from the travelling squad, while the fit-again Reiss Nelson has been included. As has been the case in European fixtures, there will be changes across the pitch despite there being a temptation of playing the strongest XI given the pressure that Arsenal are under.
Emiliano Martinez ought to give Bernd Leno a day off between the sticks against Vitoria, while the entire defence will bear a new look, with Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac slotting in as the full-backs, while Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding partner up at the centre. Bellerin should captain the Arsenal side on the evening.
Emery is likely to return to a two-man midfield pivot for Wednesday’s game, with Lucas Torreira featuring once again from kick-off. The Uruguayan is likely to be partnered by Joe Willock against the Portuguese outfit, with Matteo Guendouzi being named on the bench.
With no Ozil in the squad, on-loan midfielder Dani Ceballos ought to get a run-out as the playmaker for Arsenal in the No. 10 role against Vitoria. Nicolas Pepe, who was Arsenal’s saviour in the reverse fixture, should feature from start on the right wing after not playing in the draw against Wolves in the Premier League. Bukayo Saka is likely to occupy the opposite flank.
Alexandre Lacazette has been included in the travelling squad to Portugal. However, summer signing Gabriel Martinelli, who has impressed immensely in his short time at Arsenal scoring 7 goals in 8 matches, should lead the line on Wednesday.
Predicted Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Martinelli; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac; Torreira, Willock; Pepe, Ceballos, Saka; Martinelli