Arsenal will be desperate to get back to winning ways and secure a knockout spot in the Europa League when they face Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.
One of the feisty fixtures on Matchday 5 of the Europa League group stage fixtures, has to be when Arsenal play hosts to Eintracht Frankfurt at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.
The Gunners are currently struggling under Unai Emery and are winless in their last six games in all competitions. The recent results in the Premier League have seen them drop to eighth on the table and they are currently eight points below the top four teams in the table.
On the other hand, it has been a topsy turvy season for Eintracht Frankfurt and after their thumping 5-1 win over Bayern Munich, it has all been downhill, losing to Standard Liege in the Europa League followed by losses against Freiburg and Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga. Therefore, Adi Hutter’s men will look to put up a positive performance at Arsenal.
In the reverse fixture at the Commerzbank Arena, Arsenal cruised past Frankfurt with a 3-0 win with Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang getting onto the scoresheet, while Dominik Kohr was sent off for the hosts.
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Unai Emery has to do with some of his important players, as on-loan midfielder, Dani Ceballos is set to miss the match due to a thigh injury. Also, players like Sead Kolasinac, Rob Holding and Bukayo Saka are nursing their respective fitness issues and Emery is unlikely to risk them.
The Arsenal boss would not want to make a lot of changes to his usual continental competition setup. Emiliano Martinez is likely to start in goal with Calum Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Kieran Tierney forming the back four that will take the field against Frankfurt.
In midfield, there ought to be a double pivot of Joe Willock and Lucas Torreira. Both midfielders are energetic and will look to win the midfield battle. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson are set to take up the flanks with Emile Smith Rowe slotting in as the number 10.
Brazilian youngster, Gabriel Martinelli is likely to lead the line for Arsenal, which looks to be a very young and inexperienced squad.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Chambers, Mustafi, Mavropanos, Tierney; Torreira, Willock; Maitland-Niles, Smith Rowe, Nelson; Martinelli
Adi Hutter will have more or less a fully fit squad to chose from other than long-term absentees Marco Russ and Kevin Trapp.
Frederik Ronnow will once again be between the sticks for the Eagles, with Martin Hinteregger, David Abraham and Evan N’Dicka forming the conventional back-three. Danny Da Costa and Filip Kostic will be the two wing-backs, with the former fulfilling more of the defensive duties while Kostic will be more attack-minded.
In the middle of the park, Gelson Fernandes and Sebastian Rode will add steel and allow the wing-backs to venture forward. Swiss youngster Djibril Sow will be offered the free role in behind the front two, allowing him to drag out defenders and create spaces or latch onto the pockets of space in and around the final third. Andre Silva and Goncalo Paciencia will form the strike partnership for Frankfurt.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Ronnow; Abraham, Hinteregger, N’Dicka; Da Costa, Fernandes, Rode, Kostic; Sow; Paciencia, Silva
- Eintracht Frankfurt have a poor record against English teams on the road, having won only once in their six away matches against opponents from England. Their only win came way back in 1967 against Burnley.
- Both sides have met only once prior to this match and that was in the reverse fixture, with Arsenal winning 3-0 on Matchday 1.
- Arsenal have lost more European home games against German sides than they have against opponents from any other nation (6).
- Frankfurt have lost two of their four matches in the Europa League this season, which is more than they had in their previous 18 games in this competition (W11 D6 L1).
- If Arsenal avoid defeat, it would see them progress past the first group stages of a Champions League/Europa League campaign for the 20th consecutive season, with the Gunners last failing to do so in the 1999-00 Champions League.
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In a match where most of the young and inexperienced players are set to feature, Uruguayan midfielder Torreira will have to take the mantle and provide composure in the middle of the park. Arsenal’s youngsters have done well whenever trusted upon by Unai Emery, but in such European games, players like Torreira become very important just to add that extra bit of maturity in their play.
His tireless work ethic and defensive prowess will allow Willock and the wingers to get forward. With tensions rising at Arsenal and Emery’s future in doubt, the Gunners will have to win this match and get back on track. In order to do so, they need to dominate the midfield battle and it is something which isn’t possible without Lucas Torreira.
Arsenal 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Arsenal and Eintracht Frankfurt find themselves in similar positions this season and both teams will push for positive results. However, the hosts might just churn out a result against the underwhelming Germans.
Even the reverse fixture was highly anticipated, but it ended in a rather one-sided affair and therefore despite the poor form Unai Emery’s men are expected to leave the Emirates with all three points. The Hard Tackle predicts a close, feisty game with Arsenal winning by a margin of 2-1 and qualifying for the knockouts.