Arsenal return to Europa League action tomorrow when they travel to take on Slavia Prague in their quarter final second leg.
The Gunners go into the game knowing they need to score after seeing Nicolas Pepe‘s late goal cancelled out by an even later Tomas Holes header in the first leg at the Emirates.
Despite technically trailing Mikel Arteta ‘s side are still favourites to progress although the Spaniard was in no mood to take anything for granted in his pre-match press conference.
“Yeah we said before the game that we’ve been really impressed with the form, with what that team transmits, the real attitude and desire that they show in every single game,” he said of Slavia.
“And that’s why they’re here because they knocked out some big teams along the way and fully deserve to be where they are.
“They showed in the first leg against us that they never give up and scored in the last minute of the game. We’re going to have a real battle tomorrow.”
The match is absolutely vital if the Gunners want to play European football next season with qualification via the Premier League looking highly unlikely despite a comfortable win over Sheffield United on Sunday.
So who does Mikel Arteta pick for such an important occasion? Well football.london‘s Arsenal writers Chris Wheatley and Kaya Kaynak have chosen the teams they think he should go for.
Chris Wheatley, chief Arsenal correspondent –
Mikel Arteta will continue to play his strongest XI in the latter stages of the Europa League.
Cedric will most likely start at left-back, with the midfield partnership of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey set to continue.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks likely to lead the line in attack and Nicolas Pepe has generally been given opportunities throughout the European campaign so far.
Two games in quick succession may come too soon for Gabriel Martinelli but it would make sense to leave him in the starting line-up and continue the momentum he’s built.
Wheatley’s Arsenal XI: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Xhaka, Partey, Ceballos, Willian, Pepe, Martinelli, Aubameyang.
Kaya Kaynak – Arsenal correspondent
Not that there was much doubt about it before but the fact that Bernd Leno was put up to face the press ahead of the game on Wednesday morning means that he obviously starts in goal.
For me it would then be Calum Chambers at right back as I was really impressed yet again with how he got forward and created opportunities against Sheffield United on Sunday.
Slavia’s left back Jan Boril really struggled against Bukayo Saka in the first leg and with Chambers overlapping it could be an even more difficult night for him this time around.
At centre back I’d opt for the experienced head of Pablo Mari to play alongside Rob Holding at the back. The Spaniard has been generally excellent on the left side of central defence whenever he’s played there and Gabriel has looked a little rash in recent weeks.
I’d move Granit Xhaka back from left back into midfield to partner Thomas Partey, which means Cedric would return at left back despite his costly error in the first leg.
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It would be harsh on Nicolas Pepe, who made a difference when coming on at the Emirates, but if he’s fit then Saka has to play in a position where he provides the biggest goal threat on a night when Arsenal simply have to find the back of the net.
Kaynak’s Arsenal XI: Leno; Chambers, Holding, Mari, Cedric; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Lacazette.