David Luiz is fit and available for selection as Arsenal get set to take on Norwegian side Molde in the group stages of the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League.
Arsenal will be aiming to make it three wins in three games in the UEFA Europa League when they lock horns with Norwegian side Molde FK at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night.
In the lead-up to the game, the Gunners’ boss Mikel Arteta has been treated with some positive injury news as veteran defender David Luiz has returned to full fitness after missing the last two matches due to a thigh problem.
Speaking of the Brazilian in his pre-match press conference, Arteta said, “He is available, he has been training well over the past few days so he will be involved in the squad.” Back in contention, Luiz should walk right back into the starting lineup, slotting in at the centre of the Gunners’ three-man backline.
Good to see you back with the group, @DavidLuiz_4 😆
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 4, 2020
Flanking the ex-Chelsea man at the back should be Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac, while summer signing Runar Alex Runarsson ought to replace first-choice custodian Bernd Leno between the sticks. Cedric Soares and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are likely to be picked as the two wing-backs.
Ex-Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka started in defence in the last Europa League tie against Dundalk, but was left out of the playing XI against Manchester United at the weekend. The Swiss international should return to the side on Thursday, albeit in his preferred central midfield position.
Partnering Xhaka in the middle of the park for Arsenal against Molde will be Dani Ceballos. The Spaniard, too, wasn’t part of the starting XI at the weekend against United. However, this would mean that there is no place in the lineup for academy graduate Joe Willock, who was one of Arsenal’s best performers against Dundalk last week.
Alexandre Lacazette hasn’t been in the best of goalscoring form for a while now and a start against Molde in a game which Arsenal are expected to dominate might be just what he needs. When quizzed whether the Frenchman would be starting on Thursday, Arteta said, “I am tempted with all of them with the way I see them train, but we will make that decision tomorrow [Thursday].”
However, it is likely that Arteta will stick with Eddie Nketiah as the starting centre-forward for the Europa League clash. The youngster ought to be supported by Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson from the wide areas, with the likes of Willian, Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang dropping to the bench.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Runarsson; Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac; Cedric, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Pepe, Nketiah, Nelson