Arsenal are set to get their Europa League campaign underway with a home tie against Ukrainian side Vorskla on Thursday.
Last season’s Europa League run was a bright point in an otherwise difficult final season for former manager Arsene Wenger. The Gunners managed to reach the semi-final stage before being knocked out by eventual winners Atletico Madrid.
New manager Unai Emery is something of a Europa League expert as the Spaniard managed to guide Sevilla to three titles in four seasons during his time with the Spanish club. It is unclear how seriously he will treat the competition with Arsenal, but it could prove to be the chance for the north London outfit to win their first piece of European silverware.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Thursday’s clash.
Arsenal started the 2018/19 season in the worst possible way by losing their first two matches at the hands of Manchester City and Chelsea. However, t
Lucas Torreira vs Volodymyr Chesnakov
Lucas Torreira is yet to make a single start for Arsenal this season, but he has been one of the Gunner’s best performers so far this season during his cameo appearances off of the bench.
The Uruguayan midfielder was hugely impressive during his latest substitute appearance against Newcastle and ended up being instrumental to the win. If he can put in a decent performance on Thursday then there is every chance he will be nailing down a starting spot in the league too.
He’ll be coming up against Vorskla midfielder Volodymyr Chesnakov. The 29-year-old has spent his entire career with the Ukrainian side, making 295 appearances in the process. He is likely to sit as deep as possible to provide cover for his defence, so Torreira’s attacking tendencies will come under intense scrutiny.
Widespread changes are expected for Arsenal as they look to provide some of their most important first team stars a rest from competitive action.
Bernd Leno is expected to get his first start for Arsenal, replacing Petr Cech, whilst the likes of Rob Holding, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Mohamed Elneny could all come in to get some much needed first team minutes. Alex Iwobi could also return to action after a spell out through illness.
Vorskla currently have three of their first team players out of action through injury.
Arsenal: Leno; Lichtsteiner, Holding, Mustafi, Monreal; Elneny, Guendouzi, Torreira; Iwobi, Welbeck, Aubameyang.
Vorskla: Shust; Artur, Dallku, Perduta; Chesnakov,
Unai Emery will be the first to admit that there is still a long way to go before Arsenal are the complete package. Defensive frailties are still present and at times their passing in midfield can lack urgency.
That being said, they should have more than enough to comfortably win this one, even if they do make a few tweaks to the starting XI.
Vorskla will make it as difficult as possible for the Gunners, but Arsenal will be expected to get their Europa League campaign off to a comfortable start.
Predicted Scoreline: Arsenal 3-0 Vorskla