The closest Arsenal had come to win a European competition was when they were beaten by Barcelona in Champions League final back in 2006 and when Atletico Madrid edged over them last season in the Europa Leaguesemi-final. And they go again as the Londoners face FC Vorskla in their first Europa League this season.
Imagine Arsenal face Villarreal in the Europa League this year. @19SCazorla will get the best reception ever from the Arsenal fans. Don't think there is a single Arsenal fan who disliked the man.
— Samkit Udani (@UdaniKnows) September 19, 2018
“Yes we are going to change and use a lot of players for different competitions. But I am only thinking about the best performance for Thursday. Every competition for me I have respect for and want to do the best for (it).”
OPPONENTS & FIXTURES:
With Emery’s statement it seems as if the Gunners are expected to open the league with a strong starting Xl against Vorskla Poltava at the Emirates. They will also face FK Qarabag and Sporting Lisbon in the group stages, whilst travelling away to Qarabag and Sporting CP on Matchday 2 and Matchday 3, followed by home game against Sporting and an away and home game each against Vorskla and Azerbaijan outfit Qarabag on Matchday 4,5 and 6 respectively.
The Emirates outfit’s new head coach would be looking forward to give chances to the players who have warmed the bench and also a few youngsters who looked promising in the pre-season preparations.
The first player to get a go ahead and get his debut would be the goalkeeper Bernd Leno. The German has deputized Petr Cech in all five Premier League fixtures. He would be raring to go and grab his chance and show that he has the skills when it comes to play from the back. Will have to show more physicality and command his area while dealing with crosses and dead ball situations.
Alex Iwobi would be looking forward to this competition with a way back in starting XI for Premier League games as well. The Nigerian missed few games for his national side and the one against Newcastle United due to illness. He’s back in training and would be looking to operate from the left wing.
Meanwhile, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has recently not started any games since Emery is accommodating two strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette together. The Armenian would certainly be starting tomorrow with a point to prove since he was in good form before being dropped to bench.
There is a certain requirement of shuffling the defense who have played mostly all the matches in Premier League. The right-back berth will be occupied by bullish Swiss Stephan Lichsteiner. He was only brought on as a substitute for another wing-back Sead Kolasinac on opposite wing against Manchester City. Left-wing not being his natural side still he managed to keep the City attacks in check from the left. His commanding and aggressive play will be an attribute to this Arsenal side other than the experience and winning mentality he brings.
The centre-backs would be Greek Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding who have been waiting for an opportunity to show what they can bring to this defense. The gaffer would be looking forward to this partnership to find someone to fall back on if his Premier League centre-back pair doesn’t perform or gets injured. With not many choices at left-back, the Londoners will probably start with Nacho Monreal who has sealed his position there in the Premier League with his performances.
The Uruguayan international Lucas Torreira is set to start for Arsenal after his substitute cameos in Premier League games. He had been an instant impact in all the games he has played. He would be mostly be partnered by Mohammed Elneny in centre of the midfield. Danny Welbeck should start as the striker with kind of confidence the gaffer showed in him at the end of transfer window.
All eyes would be on the young Emile Smith-Rowe who has a high probability of starting behind the striker. His performances in pre-season preparations and for Arsenal U-23s had been fantastic and deserve a start in tomorrow’s game. Eddie Nketiah is waiting in the wings to be the first home grown Arsenal striker after a long time, but a substitute appearance would all he will get from the first Europa League match.
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) September 19, 2018
Though we may not see all of these players against Vorskla, we are highly likely to see all of them somewhere along the line as the campaign progresses.
EMERY’S TACTICS & INFLUENCE
The English giants yet to come to exact terms of playing from the back. But the former PSG boss insists on continuing the same way and wants his side to master the technique. In Premier League to impose the style is little difficult, he would try to master it here in Europa League against the lesser sides and would like his main Premier League players also to go through the paces with a lot of games fast approaching.
There is a positive vibe about the new head coach in the dressing room because of his attitude in training and during games. All the players are looking forward to his new tactics and working hard towards achieving the goal set by the gaffer. The Spaniard will start 4-2-3-1 as expected and would like to press the opponents high up the pitch and would also like Arsenal to retain the ball quickly once the possession is lost.
With his positive attitude, hard work combined with his experience of winning the competition three times in three years, he is bound to take his side far in the competition and eventually win it.
GROUP CHANCES & FURTHER QUALIFICATIONS
With this kind of group Arsenal have to travel a lot but are expected to finish on top of this group. The North Londoners have two tricky away ties far in the east against Vorslka and Qarabag. Otherwise the group is quite winnable with the kind of pedigree they possess.
On the other hand, they should be aware of Chelsea, Milan, RB Leipzig, Sevilla, Marseille, Lazio and the teams that would be coming form Champions League group stage exits. Emery looks forward to win this competition and wants to take back Arsenal to the Europe’s elite.
For now, the Gunners host Vorskla at the Emirates this Thursday and will be focused on walking away with all 3 points. Vorskla are newbies to European competitions so the Spanish boss should be able to use his experience to see the tie is won smoothly.