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Preview: Arsenal v BATE, team news, 17-year-old to start + prediction

By on December 7, 2017

Arsenal wrap-up our Europa League group stage campaign when we host BATE Borisov at the Emirates this evening.

Arsene Wenger has played the second string in the Europa League this season and they were extremely enjoyable to watch during the opening matches as we won our first three group games.

However, the last two fixtures against Red Star and Cologne have been hugely disappointing as we’ve taken just one point having failed to register a single goal in either game.

Luckily, the rest of the teams have been taking points off each other so we’ve already secured top spot with a game to spare despite being on just 10 points, so tonight’s game is a dead rubber for us.

However, BATE are still right in the mix to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition so we need to be at it tonight or we could find ourselves on the wrong end of a disappointing result.

Team News

Wenger is set to rest his key players ahead of Sunday’s Premier League trip to Southampton so we should see a similar squad to the one that’s featured so far in the cups this season.

Mustafi picked up a thigh injury against Man Utd last weekend but he’d have been rested anyway. Wenger has confirmed Walcott and Wilshere will both start this evening.

We should also see the likes of Ospina, Mertesacker, Holding, Coquelin, Maitland-Niles and Giroud getting some game time.

Preferred line-up

Chambers played on the right wing against Cologne with Debuchy in defence but I hope we see Calum drop in to the back three with 17-year-old Nelson coming in on the right.

I’d also love to see Wilshere being given a chance in the middle of midfield as I still think he’s more suited to this role than in an attacking position and it would also give us the chance to play both Walcott and Welbeck behind Giroud.

This would be my line-up:

Predicted

The fringe players have under-performed lately so I hope they put in a performance tonight. This is their opportunity to shine and show they have what it takes to play for the first team so they should be chomping at the bit to impress. I’m not expecting an easy game but if the boys play to their potential we should have enough to secure the three points. Arsenal 2-1 BATE

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