Mikel Arteta & co. will welcome Czech champions Slavia Prague to Emirates stadium in the first-leg of their Uefa Europa League quarter-final stage tonight.
The Gunners head into the game aiming of bounce back to winning ways after suffered 3-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League at Emirates stadium last weekend.
Despite, Jurgen Klopp’s side dominating possession, the Gunners managed to play goalless draw, until substituted Diogo Jota headed in from a brilliant Trent Alexander-Arnold cross just three minutes after entering the action.
Four minutes later, Mohamed Salah took advantage of a Gabriel error in the Arsenal defence to double the lead before Diogo Jota’s second came in the 81st minute after some swift passing involving Alexander-Arnold, Salah, and Sadio Mane.
However, the 3-0 defeat to Liverpool ended any hopes of secured top-four spot in league standings. The loss leaves the Gunners 10 points out of fourth place with just eight league matches to go.
🔴 Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal, quarter-finals…
🔥 Six-goal thriller at Anfield #OTD in 2008!
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 8, 2021
Their hope of make spot in European competitions next season, fall firmly on win Europa League title and using it as a back-door into the Uefa Champions League competitions next season.
And ahead of crucial clash against Slavia Prague, who dumped both Leicester and high-flying Rangers out of the competition in earlier knockout rounds, Mikel Arteta & co. have received a major boost concerning the situation regarding Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Granit Xhaka injuries problem.
The trio missed Saturday’s defeat to Liverpool, with Xhaka absent due to illness and Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka nursing hip and hamstring issue respectively.
Quarter-final matchday… let’s go! 💪🔴
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 8, 2021
In their absence, Arsenal suffered 3-0 defeat to Liverpool and manager Mikel Arteta and rest of his team will been keen to welcome them back for the first-leg of Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final with Slavia Prague at Emirates Stadium.
Saka, Smith-Rowe and Granit Xhaka take major part in Tuesday training session before trio lead Gunners final on Wednesday afternoon and according to club official website they’re available for selection but Martin Odegaard, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney doubt for tonight tie.
Kieran Tierney, who sustained ligament damage to his left knee during Saturday’s match against Liverpool is expected to out at least four to six weeks while Luiz, who undergoing surgery at the weekend to solve a knee issue, expected to back to action next week.
Yep. This one hurt, a lot.
Deserved so much more that season, played some fabulous stuff. Best team of the Emirates era by some distance IMO. https://t.co/nUudWwnsKF
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) April 8, 2021
Moving on to predicted starting lineup, there’s a lot of chance when Arsenal take on Slavia Prague tonight. Players like Ceballos, who struggled to find stability in the middle of the park against Liverpool, unlikely to make starting XI while Rob Holding is also set to drop out.
In Luiz’s absence, Pablo Mari and Gabriel Magalheas should form the central defensive partnership for Arsenal, who will line up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation against Czech champions, who yet to lose in their last 25 games in domestic league.
Cedric Soares could deputise for the injured Tierney at left-back, alongside Hector Bellerin at right-back while Bernd Leno is a certainty in goal.
Up ahead in midfield, Granit Xhaka will be return alongside Thomas Partey, who shone against Liverpool last weekend. Xhaka’s absence against Liverpool saw Mikel Arteta’s side struggled to find stability in the middle park and his return could help the Gunners appear more composed in possession when encounter with Slavia Prague at Emirates tonight.
Last time we played Slavia Prague at home. Some of the football.. pic.twitter.com/kLUqWz0Hnv
— AFCAMDEN (@AFCAMDEN) April 8, 2021
Meanwhile, Emile Smith-Rowe is expected to return to no. 10 role, especially amid uncertainties over Martin Odegaard’s participation.
Since Saka, who regarded as Arsenal’s best player so far this season, available for selection, the Englishman is likely to be deployed on the right-wing with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang taking his place on the left flank. Finally, Alexandre Lacazette will lead the line for Arsenal against Czech champions.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Gabriel, Mari, Cedric; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Kick-off at 8:00PM
Arsenal’s one of best performance against Barcelona, hoping the Gunners back to their best under Mikel Arteta