Arsenal will be without several first-team players as they look to cement a spot at the top of their Europa League group this evening.
The Gunners will be without the likes of Nicolas Pepe, Granit Xhaka, Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney, all of whom are out injured (via BBC).
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Tierney proves the most immediate concern after it was revealed that he could be out for up to three months after he dislocated his shoulder in the win over West Ham United (via The Metro).
While the north London giants did turn over today’s opponents 5-0, in the game at the Emirates Stadium, playing away from home is a far different prospect for the Gunners. Out of their 11 games on the road, the side has won just three, across all competitions, showing considerable weaknesses (via WhoScored).
Arsenal’s last performance in an away game in Europe’s second rate competition will not be filling Freddie Ljungberg with much hope as he is forced to take a much younger squad to Belgium. According to Charles Watts, the likes of Robbie Burton, Zech Medley, Tyreece John-Jules, James Olayinka, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka have all travelled, showing the youthfulness of the squad.
He also revealed that senior figures like Sokratis, David Luiz and Calum Chambers travelled to Belgium for the clash. However, with the error-prone nature of the two experienced centre-halves Luiz and Sokratis, victory doesn’t seem to be a certainty.
A mix of youth, unreliable senior players and a raft of injuries to key first-teamers makes this crucial clash an arguably difficult one. Even a draw could see the Gunners finish second in their group, which opens up the possibility of facing a top-seeded side in the last-32.
Arsenal fans, what do you make of the team news ahead of the game? Let us know your thoughts!
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