This whole thing is weird. Europa League on a Wednesday? Sure, why not. Portuguese police can’t staff three Europa League games at once, so one moves to Wednesday. 4.50PM CET kickoff (7.50AM in Portland)? In another indication of the class status of the Europa League, it’s that early so the sole Europa League match doesn’t clash with the Champions League matches taking place later on Wednesday.
Then, there’s the matter of Unai Emery’s traveling squad. While it’s true this is a relatively important game, “relatively” is the keyword there - three points sees Arsenal through to the next round, and gives them a leg up on locking down the top spot in the group. Arsenal are scything through this Europa League group, at least results-wise, so it doesn’t seem all that necessary to bring the big guns, does it?
Well, there’s for sure an element of, if not panic, then a realization that Unai Emery has a lot riding on this match. With Arsenal playing Leicester this weekend, and with the odds of Arsenal winning that game as, at best, a tossup, an under-fire Emery will want to make sure he does as much as possible to win this game, in order to buy him some goodwill before the weekend’s fun.
I don’t think Emery is dead man walking just yet, but he’s acting as if he is, which is why there will probably be a fairly strong lineup today, so Arsenal can hopefully be sure of three points here as they head into Saturday.
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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Arsenal - Martinez, Sokratis, Holding, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Ceballos, Willock, Tierney, Pepe, Martinelli, Saka
We've made 8️⃣ changes for today's @EuropaLeague clash with @VitoriaSC1922— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 6, 2019
⛔️ @RobHolding95 and @MustafiOfficial return
⚡️ @Ains_7 and @kierantierney1 at wing-back
Nico, Gabi and @BukayoSaka87 up top
Vitoria - Douglas, Victor Garcia, Venancio, Tapsoba, Rafa Soares, Mikel, Pepe, Lucas Evangelista, Davidson, Marcus Edwards, Bruno Duarte