I’ve said a number of times this season that the Europa League presents the best chance of success for Arsenal. Tonight’s match is the biggest of the season so far, if we fail to get it right then serious questions will be asked. Make no mistake is Europa League or bust.
On the face of it, it’s simple, win and we’re through. I always thought we’d need to score in Prague to go through and that hasn’t changed. However taking a one goal cushion into the game and preventing them from using away goals against us again would’ve been much preferable. That said if we score early tonight it’s a simple case of outscoring them.
I think we saw a glimpse of what Arteta will attempt to do tonight at the weekend. Down the wings our pace tore an admittedly poor Sheffield United to shreds and knowing that Slavia Prague play a high line I’m sure we’ll see something similar tonight. Pepe and either Martinelli or ESR simply must start either side of Lacazette. We’re going to be without Aubameyang and Odegaard again so setting up a three like that is the way to go. This is not a game for the likes of Willian.
There is a slight doubt over Saka but he was in full training and if he’s fit to play I think he’ll be deployed as a number 10. Xhaka did a job at left back at the weekend but I think we’ll need him alongside Partey in the midfield to ensure we don’t get overrun off the ball.
We have more than enough to beat this Slavia Prague team, they weren’t great last time out and their last minute goal has given them an advantage but if we play like we can, we won’t have an issue progressing. But it is crucial Mike Arteta sets us up correctly tonight. Only time will tell…