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Europa League: Arsenal vs. Standard Liege - Predicted Starting XI & Bench

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Who gets the nod as the Gunners look to take control of the group.

Arsenal Training and Press Conference Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

It’s a crammed schedule for Arsenal right now. Luckily for fans that means more chances to see the team and for Unai Emery to figure out what is going on with this roster / formation. And luckily for Arsenal they have a fairly deep player pool with the injury report looking slim these days. The Gunners host Standard Liege on Thursday in matchday two of the Europa League group stage.

Plug: If you haven’t read it already, check out my piece ‘Know Your Opponent: Standard Liege - Transfers, Form, Series History & Stats’ to get caught up on our opponent.

We all know rotation is key, so who does Unai Emery go with Thursday night? Might we get a look at the exciting trio of young defenders? Could Ozil and Ceballos play together? Here’s my predicted XI and the players that make the bench. Have a look at the gallery below and then leave your selections in the comments.

Notes on the XI

  • Emiliano Martinez - Default keeper for the Europa League and Cup competitions now. Just got called into the Argentina national team camp.
  • Kieran Tierney - As noted in Emery’s press conference, if training and warm-ups go well, Tierney will start.
  • Rob Holding - Didn’t feature against Manchester United, leaving home against Standard Liege as an excellent opportunity to continue his comeback.
  • Shkodran Mustafi - Is he better as a depth CB with the pressure off? David Luiz and Sokratis have taken over his role of blundering away Premier League results. Mustafi has looked solid in his appearances thus far and will get another go in this match.
  • Hector Bellerin - If Bellerin is fit, Emery hinted that he’ll get the start. If not, expect to see Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the starting XI with Bellerin on the bench.
  • Joe Willock - Came on late against United, with the other three CDM’s starting in Manchester. Should be a clear choice for one of the two spots in a 4-2-3-1 Thursday.
  • Dani Ceballos - Replaced Torriera on Monday, so this spot could go to either of them. I’d really like to see how Ceballos and Ozil can link up together.
  • Nicolas Pepe - Still trying to find his footing with Arsenal and Thursday’s match at the Emirates offers another chance for him to run at defenses. Perhaps we will get to see the first combination of Pepe and Bellerin down the right hand side of the pitch.
  • Mesut Ozil - Didn’t play in the league (again), the match is at home, once again we will have an Ozil sighting.
  • Reiss Nelson - Hasn’t found his footing since the opening two matches of the season. Much like Pepe, needs another match, to get into an attacking rhythm. Home against Standard Liege sounds like the perfect chance.
  • Gabriel Martinelli - Played wonderfully in the Carabao Cup last week and should be rewarded this week with a European start at home.

Bench

  1. Bernd Leno
  2. Mattéo Guendouzi
  3. Lucas Torreira
  4. Sead Kolasinac
  5. Ainsley Maitland-Niles
  6. Folarin Balogun
  7. Bukayo Saka

How to watch

Thursday (10/3) at 3:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm PT on B/R Live.