An Arsenal win over Vitoria Guimaraes on Wednesday in Lisbon essentially clinches the Gunners a place in the Europa League knockout stages. Yes, there are some crazy, unlikely scenarios where they could win tomorrow and still not advance, but for all intents and purposes, three points should be enough to move on. Arsenal also want to win the group and taking the first 12 points on offer sets them up nicely to do just that.
Unai Emery has named a particularly strong traveling squad for the trip to Portugal, which is perhaps influenced by needing two late, free-kick wonder-goals from substitute Nicolas Pépé to best Vitoria at the Emirates a few weeks ago. Heading into Matchday 3, the Portuguese side hadn’t scored a goal in the Europa League, but they managed two against the Gunners and nearly stole a result.
Arsenal’s travelling squad for the Vitoria game. Xhaka still absent. pic.twitter.com/F28NQl0Alu— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) November 5, 2019
As that tweet points out, Granit Xhaka is once again not with the team as the fallout from his meltdown apparently continues. Newly-named team captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Özil have also stayed behind, presumably because they will feature in this weekend’s massive clash at Leicester. With Kieran Tierney, Sokratis, Matteo Guendouzi and other first-choice players on the trip, Unai Emery’s team selection might give us some insight into his early-season valuation of the Europa League versus the Premier League.
N.B. — the match is tomorrow, WEDNESDAY, this week, not the usual Thursday. Also, please note the somewhat-strange kickoff time below. Because of the proximity between Guimaraes and Braga, each week, one match gets moved to Wednesday for logistical reasons.
WHAT: Arsenal at Vitoria SC
WHERE: Estádio D. Afonso Henriques, Lisbon, Portugal
WHEN: Wednesday, November 6th 7:50 AM PT | 10:50 AM ET | 3:50 PM BT
US TV: Not broadcast, even in Spanish. Streaming on B / R Live ($$$).
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