Pepe starts & 18 y/o makes debut, 10 changes by Arteta: Predicted Arsenal XI vs Molde – opinion
After clinging on to a 0-0 draw with ten men against Leeds United last weekend, Arsenal return to Europa League action on Thursday, hoping to get back to winning ways.
Mikel Arteta’s side take on Molde away from home, and know that a victory in Norway will guarantee qualification to the knock-out stages – particularly impressive given how much they’ve struggled this season back in the Premier League.
As has been the case for the first few group stage games, Arteta will no doubt make some changes to his starting line-up to give some of his fringe players and younger talent the chance to impress.
And with that in mind, below is a look at how the Gunners might line up.
In goal, summer signing Runar Runarsson may make only his second appearance in an Arsenal shirt, giving usual number one Bernd Leno a rest.
Arteta is also likely to make wholesale changes to his back four too, and it will be very surprising to see any of those defenders who started against Leeds keep their place for the trip to Molde.
That could see returns for the likes of Cedric, David Luiz (who missed the weekend game due to the birth of his daughter), Shkodran Mustafi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
In midfield, Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka both played the full 90 minutes against Leeds as they battled to save a point, and the work they got through must surely see Arteta give them a rest.
If that’s the case, Joe Willock could be partnered by 18-year-old Miguel Azeez who was on the plane to Molde and is in line to make his competitive debut for the club.
Further forward, Nicolas Pepe’s red card at Elland Road appears not to have gotten disciplinary punishment from Arteta, who hinted that he is ready to start him on Thursday and give him the chance to put things right.
And in exciting news for Arsenal fans, they could see three academy products complete the rest of their attack, with Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah pushing to make the starting line-up.
Predicted XI: Runarsson; Cedric, Mustafi, Luiz, Maitland-Niles; Willock, Azeez; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Nelson; Nketiah.
The post Arsenal’s predicted line-up to face Molde in the Europa League first appeared on FootballFanCast.com.
Source: Football – Football Fan Cast