[Image] Cech out, Ozil starts | How Arsenal should line-up against Valencia

By on May 9, 2019


Arsenal take on Valencia at the Mestalla this evening in the second leg of our Europa League semi-final. This is the line-up I’d like Unai Emery to select…

Goalkeeper: Leno

I know, I know, Petr Cech will start the game but I actually think Bernd Leno should keep his place. Winning the Europa League is our only chance of success now this season after we blew the top four so we should go with our best players. No time for sentiment, simple as that.

Defence: Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal

Laurent Koscielny should be recalled after not being risked against Brighton at the weekend due to a minor ankle problem. I hope we see Arsenal go with a back three/five after lining-up with a flat back four on Sunday and Sokratis should keep his place despite some questionable form lately.

I’d like to see Nacho Monreal move into the left centre-back role as he’s looked more comfortable there than at left back/wing-back this season. That means we could axe Shkodran Mustafi and consign him to the bench [permanently].

Midfield: Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Torreira, Kolasinac

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is back in contention after missing the draw with Brighton through suspension so he should come in for Stephan Lichtsteiner on the right while Sead Kolasinac is due to be recalled on the left after being benched at the weekend.

mesut ozil arsenal 2018

Granit Xhaka’s stupidity cost Arsenal once again on Sunday but sadly with Aaron Ramsey out injured we don’t have anyone better to replace him in midfield. Matteo Guendouzi is a raw talent but I wouldn’t trust him in such a big game and Mo Elneny is useless, so we’ll have to stick with Xhaka and hope he doesn’t have another brain-dead moment.

Lucas Torreira hasn’t been the player recently that we saw during the first half of the season as he looks a little jaded but I’d still start him tonight and hopefully he can add some much-needed protection to the defence.

Attack: Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette

I pray Emery doesn’t go defensive tonight and try to hold on to our lead as that’s a sure-fire way for Arsenal to go out. We need to score at least one goal so I’d go with both our big guns with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette up top.

They both carry a huge goal threat but it’s important we get plenty of service to them as they’ve looked a little isolated at times in away games this season. So who’s our best provider….Mesut Ozil, obviously.

The German playmaker has been pretty woeful in a lot of away games this campaign and I wouldn’t be surprised if Emery drops him. However, I think we need to start Ozil and demand he turns up tonight to produce a performance we all know he’s capable of.

Emery would then have the likes of Alex Iwobi, Eddie Nketiah and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to call upon from the bench if he needs to change the game in the second half.

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

football formations