Preview: Arsenal v Vorskla | Emery to hand trio debuts, Nketiah to start + prediction

By on September 20, 2018

eddie Nketiah

Arsenal kick-off the 2018/19 Europa League campaign at the Emirates this evening when Ukrainian minnows Vorskla come to north London.

We have to make-do with playing Europa League football once again this year after finishing sixth in the league last season and we blew a great chance to not only win the competition but also qualify for the Champions League after losing to Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals.

It’s going to be a tough battle to finish in the top four this season so the Europa League may be our best bet to get back to dining at Europe’s elite table and we’ve got just the man in charge to make it happen. Uni Emery is a Europa League specialist having won the competition three times during his spell at Sevilla so if anyone knows how to win it, it’s the Spaniard.

We’ve been given a pretty easy group. As as well facing Ukrainian minnows Vorskla, we’ll take on Qarabag and Sporting Lisbon so we shouldn’t have any trouble progressing to the knockout stages.

We head in to tonight’s game in solid form having won our last three Premier League games so we have no excuses for not securing all three points at the Emirates.

Team news

Laurent Koscielny, Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all remain out through injury so Emery has fewer options than he’d ideally want in defence as he looks to rotate his squad.

Bernd Leno and Stephan Lichtsteiner are set to make their debuts while Lucas Torreira is also expected to make his full bow having impressed off the bench in recent weeks.

The likes of Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Sokratis, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should all be rested ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Everton.

Preferred line-up

With Kolasinac and Maitland-Niles out, we don’t have any senior option to come in at left-back so unfortunately Nacho Monreal will have to play again while I’d go with Shkodran Mustafi alongside Rob Holding in the middle of defence.

Mohamed Elneny can partner Torreira in midfield with Henrik Mkhitaryan playing in a more central attacking role. I’ve seen some suggesting that Emile Smith Rowe should be given a chance in midfield but I’d prefer to see Eddie Nketiah start up front with Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi on the wings.

This would be my line-up:

Score prediction

We’ve never played Vorskla before but obviously we’re the heavy favourites to win the game tonight. Even a severely weakened team should have more than enough quality to beat them. I don’t think our fringe side will run riot as they’re not used to playing together yet but I’m going with a solid and unspectacular 2-0 win. Arsenal 2-0 Vorskla