Frankfurt v Arsenal preview | team news, Martinelli to start in 4-3-3 + prediction

By on September 19, 2019

Reiss Nelson Arsenal

Arsenal get their Europa League campaign underway with a tough trip to Germany to face Eintracht Frankfurt this evening [5.55pm kick off].

It’s been another disappointing week at Arsenal as we somehow managed to blow a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with bottom club Watford on Sunday afternoon with Sokratis and David Luiz making basic errors for the goals.

Our defensive issues are well documented but the worrying thing is we seem to have gotten worse under Unai Emery so a growing number of Arsenal fans are starting to pile the pressure on the Spanish coach by calling for his head.

Emery has to turn things around quickly and it’s no surprise he’s taken a strong squad with him to Germany for today’s Europa League opener against Eintracht Frankfurt as another defeat would be a huge blow.

It’s unfortunate we kick-off the group stages with our toughest match as Frankfurt away will be an extremely tough test with Arsenal facing a side that reached the semi-finals last season and only lost out to Chelsea on penalties.

Team news

Arsenal will once again have to make do without Alexandre Lacazette as the striker is out with an ankle injury while Emery has decided to leave Mesut Ozil and Sokratis back in north London to ‘rest’.

Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are still working on their match fitness following long-term injuries but Rob Holding is set to make his comeback after recovering from a serious knee ligament injury that’s kept him out for nine months.

Emery has taken a strong squad with him but Emi Martinez is expected to replace Bernd Leno in goal while the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Lucas Torreira, Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson are pushing for recalls.

gabriel Martinelli arsenal

As for Frankfurt, they are without Mijat Gacinovic and Marco Russ due to injury while Sebastian Rode and Goncalo Paciencia will face late fitness checks.

Preferred line-up

Emery is being tipped to start Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but I think it’s too much of a risk considering Lacazette is out so I’d go with Nicolas Pepe through the middle as he’s comfortable playing up front. That would allow Nelson and Gabriel Martinelli to start on the wings with Dani Ceballos joined by Willock in midfield.

This is a great opportunity to see how Arsenal’s midfield can function without Granit Xhaka and I’d love to see Torreira in the holding role behind Willock and Ceballos. Hopefully we see Chambers partnering Holding while I’d give Ainsley Maitland-Niles a rest with Shkodran Mustafi coming in at right-back.

This would be my line-up:

football formations

Expected Frankfurt XI: Trapp, Abraham, Hinteregger, Hasebe, Rode, Gregoritsch, Da Costa, Chandler, Kostic, Silva, Paciencia

Betting odds

Arsenal are obviously favourites to win the game with Sportsbet offering odds of 10/11 on the Gunners collecting all three points. Frankfurt are available at odds of 16/5 while the draw can be backed at 13/5. However, I think Arsenal are going to edge it and my prediction of 2-1 is on offer at odds of 7/1 – which is tempting. If Martinelli starts I think he’ll be a goal threat and he’s 12/1 to score at any time. I’d certainly be tempted to put a few quid on that. If we have Martinelli as first scorer in a 2-1 Arsenal win we get excellent odds of 45/1!

Predicted score

I’m expecting an extremely tough game this evening and in all honesty I wouldn’t be surprised if we lose given our dreadful away record and shambolic defence. However, we need to stay positive and if we can cut out the individual errors at the back we’re more than capable of coming away with a decent result.

Frankfurt have lost key players like Luka Jovic, Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic over the summer so they aren’t as dangerous as they were last season but I still think they’ll be right up for this game and will cause us plenty of problems. Hopefully the boys in attack manage to bail us out and edge it 2-1.

Frankfurt 1-2 Arsenal