We all know where things at Arsenal stand ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt at the Emirates. But in case you were having a good day, I’ll paint the dismal picture for you. The Gunners haven’t won a match in over a month. Players are liking social media posts about firing the manager. Alexander Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are reluctant to sign new contracts. Lucas Torreira is “no longer at ease” at the club. Former club captain Granit Xhaka is still in a row with supporters (but is at least back in training after time away). Unai Emery is apparently soon to be sacked, but it’s not clear exactly when or why he hasn’t been already.
I’m the kind of person who sees the glass as half-full. I always try to find the silver lining. I wanted to open with something along the lines of “try to find things to enjoy, like the aesthetics of the football” or something. But I couldn’t. The words wouldn’t come. And it’s not as if I’m hopping mad, although I don’t blame you if you are. I’m just resigned to the fact that right now, Arsenal are mediocre.
In a somewhat refreshing change of pace, the Europa League has yet to be stricken with the malaise infesting the club, so Arsenal have that going for them, which is nice. They currently top their group and will qualify for the knockout stages with a result or if Vitoria beats Standard Liege. An Arsenal win over Frankfurt tomorrow clinches first place in the group. When these two sides met in September, Bukayo Saka netted a brace and added an assist in a 3-0 Arsenal win.
Gabriel Martinelli is having a strong Europa League campaign, with three goals in as many matches. The young Brazilian has also tallied four goals in his two Carabao Cup appearances. I expect him to start at striker for the Gunners tomorrow.
Bukayo Saka, who probably would have started, is out with a knee injury. The Gunners will also be without Dani Ceballos, who is not expected to return to training for at least two more weeks. Rob Holding and Sead Kolasinac, both held out at the weekend, might be available for selection.
Eintracht Frankfurt will be without defender Marco Russ and keeper Kevin Trapp, who are both out with long-term injuries. The visitors thumped Bayern Munich 5-1 to open November, but have struggled since, losing their last three in all competitions. They are still very much in contention to qualify for the knockout stages, behind Liege only on goal difference.
It’s a worrying equation for the Gunners. Motivated visitors plus whatever you want to call the current situation at the club could equal a disappointing result. Or to put it differently, there is an Arsenal match tomorrow.
WHAT: Arsenal vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
WHERE: The Emirates
WHEN: Thursday, November 28th 12 PM PT | 3 PM ET | 8 PM BT
US TV: Not broadcast. Streaming on B / R Live ($$$).
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