Arsenal will be in Europa League action away to Vitoria Guimaraes at 15:50 this afternoon due to local rivals Sporting Braga also hosting a tie this week.
Victory today, matched by Standard Liege failing to win away to Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow would guarantee progression to the second round of this season’s competition with two games to spare.
As per usual, Unai Emery has heavily rotated the side from our weekend Premier League fixture.
The two teams are confirmed as:
Douglas; Victor Garcia, Frederico Venancio, Edmond Tapsoba, Rafa Soares; Pepe, Mikel Agu, Lucas Evangelista, Marcus Edwards, Bruno Duarte; Davidson
Substitutes: Miguel Silva, Florent Hanin, Denis-Will Poha, Andre Pereira, Rochinha, Leo Bonatini
Bruno Duarte and Marcus Edwards start again for Vitoria, after the duo caused us a few problems two weeks ago.
Former Wolverhampton Wanderers player Leo Bonatini is one of three forwards among the substitutes for the hosts, who go in search of their first points at the fourth attempt in this season’s competition.
Emi Martinez; Rob Holding; Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis; Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, Dani Ceballos, Kieran Tierney; Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka
Substitutes: Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Reiss Nelson, Alexandre Lacazette
No surprise to see cup goalkeeper Emi Martinez between the sticks today. The 27-year-old was a lot busier than we expected a fortnight ago when the Portuguese side came to the Emirates.
It appears Emery has gone with a 3-4-3 formation, with Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi into the team to partner Sokratis at the back. Kieran Tierney has been handed more game time as the left wingback, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the other flank. Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinc are the backups and I would expect at least one of these to get a run out in the second half.
Dani Ceballos and Joe Willock are the central midfielders, with Lucas Torreira only among the substitutes. The Uruguayan is joined by Matteo Guendouzi as Granit Xhaka is absent from the matchday squad again.
Youngsters Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo get another start to continue their impressive performances to start the season, joined by Nicolas Pepe, who is still settling into the team. The Ivorian scored two free kicks in the final 10 minutes of our 3-2 victory against Vitoria a fortnight ago.