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[Image] Mustafi axed, Ozil starts | Arsenal’s best line-up to face Valencia

By on May 2, 2019

mesut ozil arsenal 2018

Arsenal take on Valencia in the first leg of our Europa League semi-final at the Emirates Stadium tonight. This is the line-up I’d like Unai Emery to select…

Goalkeeper: Cech

Ideally we should go with Bernd Leno as winning the Europa League is probably our best chance of returning to the Champions League next season. However, Petr Cech deserves to keep his place as he’s kept goal throughout the competition and didn’t concede over two  legs against Napoli in the quarters.

Defence: Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal

Nacho Monreal is back in contention after recovering from a calf injury so I hope his return sees Arsenal reverting to a back three as we’ve been woeful playing with a flat back four recently.

Laurent Koscielny should be recalled after being named on the bench for the 3-0 defeat to Leicester last weekend while Sokratis should keep his place meaning Shkodran Mustafi will be the man to make way. I think Sokratis, Koscielny and Monreal is our strongest back three so hopefully they can tighten things up at the back tonight and prevent an away goal.

Midfield: Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Torreira, Kolasinac

Aaron Ramsey has been ruled out for the rest of the season so it means he’s played his final game in an Arsenal shirt while Denis Suarez also won’t play again for the club due to a niggling groin problem.

Ramsey’s absence will be a huge blow but I hope Emery sticks with Lucas Torreira alongside Granit Xhaka against Valencia as neither Matteo Guendouzi or Mohamed Elneny should start the game in my opinion.

pierre-emerick aubameyang arsenal

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was unfortunate to be sent off against Leicester at the weekend but he’s still available tonight as his suspension doesn’t count in Europe so I’d stick with him at right wing-back. Sead Kolasinac is far more suited to playing in the wing-back system too so hopefully we see him back to his best after a couple of poor displays at left-back.

Attack: Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Mesut Ozil is back in contention after missing the defeat at Leicester with a foot injury. I don’t think we can carry him away from home but at the Emirates he’s a vital player and he must start for Arsenal tonight if we’re to secure a first leg advantage.

We are short of creative ideas without Ozil and we need to score at least twice tonight as we can’t rely on our away form in the second leg. Therefore, I hope Emery recalls Ozil in the No.10 role behind a front two.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were short of service against Leicester on Sunday but hopefully with a switch in formation and the return of Ozil, we’ll see our striker far more involved tonight.

Alex Iwobi’s final ball is hugely frustrating and I don’t think he brings enough to warrant a regular starting place while Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s inconsistent form is also a cause for concern. They should be on the bench tonight and introduced in the second half when needed.

This is the starting eleven I hope we’ll see:

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