Arsenal have it all to play for in the Europa League this week when they host BATE in their second-leg clash at the Emirates on Thursday evening.
Unai Emery’s charges suffered an embarrassing 0-1 defeat in the Borisov Arena last week in a match that saw the Gunners fail to get their rhythm and momentum going.
Thursday’s encounter is thus a good occasion for the manager to hand new-man Denis Suarez his first start in an Arsenal shirt.
The 25-year-old replaced Sead Kolasinac in the second-half in the match in Belarus and looked a bit more energetic in the time he was on the pitch. It could also be a good time for Emery to give Kolasinac a rest, despite it being a must-win match for the North London club.
Kolasinac has been in solid form this season and has adapted brilliantly to the wing-back position.
But, with Nacho Monreal back in the starting lineup after a long injury layoff, playing Suarez in the left-midfield position might boost Arsenal’s chances of applying a lot of pressure on BATE.
Arsenal host Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday and with fixtures set to become quite congested from now on, the fitness of the players like Kolasinac will become equally important.
With Alexandre Lacazette set to miss the match due to suspension, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will almost definitely start up-front for Arsenal and it could be exciting to see Suarez and him play together.
Suarez’s capabilities will also help Alex Iwobi’s game on the left-wing and it could see Arsenal play with a lot of width and depth, which is exactly the type of game Emery wants his team to play.
Suarez has only made three substitute appearances since joining the Gunners on loan from Barcelona last month and will blast new life into the Arsenal team should he play from the start on Thursday.