Austrian side Rapid Vienna visit the Emirates on Thursday for their Europa League clash against Arsenal. The Gunners top the group having won all their matches while the visitors have lost their previous two games on the trot and sit 3rd on the table.
In the reverse fixture, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came to the rescue as Arsenal barely managed to return home with a 2-1 win at the Allianz Stadion. However, Thomas Partey was present to aid him, who put in an amazing performance against Rapid Vienna that night.
Arsenal have been a model side in the Europa League, notching up the wins and racking up the goals but the significance of this match against Rapid Vienna could give us a few clues about Sunday’s North London Derby clash.
That result at the weekend will be far more important than this knockabout at the Emirates and Arteta must be tempted to blood a few players that he thinks can make the jump from the academy to the first team. Either that or play the majority of the side that will face Spurs to fine-tune the way they intend to play on Sunday. Either way, the Arsenal vs Rapid Vienna game could be a pivotal performance for confidence heading into the NLD.
I’d throw caution to the wind and include Smith Rowe, Azeez, Balogun, Cottrell, and Maitland-Niles because Arteta needs another set of options urgently. Rapid Vienna are 6 points adrift of Arsenal having won two and lost two. Their patchy form included a 1-3 win at Dundalk and shows that they are there for the taking.
Arsenal are expected to win but this is a genuine chance for Arteta to launch his youngsters into the limelight of Europe’s second-tier competition. I’m plumping for changes because Arsenal are virtually home and dry in Group B needing only a point to get secure the top spot as they head into the last 32 of the Europa League.
Predicted Score: Arsenal win 3-0
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