[Image] No Aubameyang as Martinelli starts: My Arsenal line-up vs Slavia Prague

By on April 15, 2021

gabriel martinelli 2019

Arsenal take on Slavia Prague in a crucial Europa League quarter final second leg tonight. This is the team I’d like to see Mikel Arteta select for the match…

Obviously Bernd Leno will retain his place in goal but it’s going to be interesting to see how the boss sets-up in defence with Kieran Tierney and David Luiz ruled out.

Pablo Mari did a solid job against Sheffield United at the weekend but I’d still like to see Gabriel recalled to start alongside Rob Holding in the middle of the back four while Hector Bellerin should come in for Calum Chambers at right-back.

However, the big decision is what to do at left-back. Cedric Soares was poor in the first leg and Arteta went with Granit Xhaka at left-back against Sheffield United on Sunday. I prefer the Swiss international in midfield so I’d go with Soares this evening.

With Xhaka back in the middle of the park, someone will have to make way. I thought Dani Ceballos was very good during Arsenal’s 3-0 win at Bramall Lane but Thomas Partey is nailed on to keep his place.

Arsenal have been handed a big boost with the news that Bukayo Saka is available. He limped off against Sheffield United with a thigh problem but it was just a dead leg so he’s fit to start this evening. Saka was excellent in a more central role at the weekend but I’d start him on the right wing against Prague.

That’s because Emile Smith Rowe is available again after recovering from an ankle issue. Martin Odegaard is set to miss out after not training yesterday so I’d go with Smith Rowe in the No.10. To be honest, he and Saka can interchange during the match so the starting positions aren’t that important.

No Auba

On the left wing, it looks like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could miss out again. He didn’t feature against Sheffield United due to illness and wasn’t spotted at training on Wednesday so he’s unlikely to start tonight.

Nicolas Pepe will probably get the nod from Arteta but I’d love to see Gabriel Martinelli get another start. The Brazilian youngster was on target at the weekend and his energy really makes a difference in the final third. Pepe is capable of moments of magic but he’s too inconsistent for my liking.

Up front, Alexandre Lacazette should keep his place after scoring a brace at the weekend. Let’s give him another chance to make up for his shocking miss in the first leg last week.

This would be my Arsenal line-up:

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