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

It’s back to the kids as Unai Emery searches for a much needed win.

Arsenal FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

It’s been just one win in five for Unai Emery’s Arsenal. That win? The 3-2 Europa League victory over Vitoria at home which required two late Nicolas Pepe free kicks to save the day. At times it seems as though nearly nothing is going right at the moment for the Gunners. The defense has given up 10 goals in the last four matches. The Xhaka debacle. And a lack of creativity and chances in the Premier League games.

Yet somehow the club is still in a decent position. They top their Europa League group with three wins from three matches. They sit 5th in the Premier League table, while Manchester United and Tottenham are in 10th and 11th. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has eight goals in the league. Gabriel Martinelli has been a sensation in his debut season. And the club has no significant injuries for the first time in years (as Reiss Nelson played for the U23s this past week).

So Arsenal are static and the calls for Emery to go continue to grow. But the team is in a decent spot in the league and Europa. Even Mesut Ozil seems to be finding his way back into the rotation. It’s a crucial point in the year for the Gunners and for Emery if he wants to still have the job come January 1st. With all of that in mind, how does he rotate the large squad available for the road trip against Vitoria?

Check out the gallery below for the predicted starting XI.

Notes on the XI

  • Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka are safe picks. And since Pepe wasn’t featured in either of the last two matches you’d have to think he gets a starting spot on Wednesday.
  • Emile Smith Rowe is a bit of a gamble. But Ozil won’t play three matches in a row and with Emery still searching for options to unlock the attack ESR deserve a chance on the road.
  • Willock, the back line and Martinez are all fairly expected picks for the Europa League at the moment. The real toss up is at right back and the second center mid. Chambers and Ainsley Maitland-Niles can play right back. Chambers could easily be a better option at CDM, but Emery seems open to moving AMN around now that Bellerin is fit.
  • I think Bellerin is rested for Leicester, Xhaka remains at home until the weekend and the trio of Ceballos, Torreira and Guendouzi all played against Wolves.
  • Folarin Balogun deserves a spot on the bench. He has seven goals and four assists for the Arsenal U23s so far this season and that squad doesn’t have another match until the 23rd.


  1. Bernd Leno
  2. Kieran Tierney
  3. Konstantinos Mavropanos
  4. Lucas Torreira
  5. Dani Ceballos
  6. Folarin Balogun
  7. Alexandre Lacazette

How to watch

Wednesday (11/6) at 10:50 am ET / 7:50 am PT on B/R Live.

Vitoria gave Arsenal more trouble than expected at the Emirates. Now with the Gunners on the road, how confident are you that they can pick up all three points and stay atop the group?