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Arsenal at Molde match thread: take control

The Gunners can take a stranglehold on the Europa League group with a win against Molde.

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Arsenal FC - Press Conference And Training Session Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal can all but wrap-up top billing in their Europa League group with a win on Thursday against Molde in Norway. A win guarantees that the Gunners move on to the next round. A draw could be enough depending on the result in other match, as well. But I’m sure Arsenal have their sights set on all three points this evening.

Mikel Arteta’s side is still struggling to generate offense, but they managed 4 goals against Molde at the Emirates earlier this month. Perhaps another matchup with the Norwegian side will help get Arsenal’s foundering attack back on track. When you’re struggling and low on confidence, sometimes it’s important just to see the ball hit the back of the net.

Arsenal will be without both Bukayo Saka and Willian, neither of whom made the trip. Bukayo Saka suffered a dead leg against Leeds but is expected to be available at the weekend. Willian picked up a slight calf strain and faces a late fitness test for this weekend’s action. Sead Kolasinac and Mohamed Elneny are both still in the COVID protocols but asymptomatic; I believe they could be available this weekend should they test negative. Pablo Mari and Gabriel Martinelli are both working towards full training.

I’d expect a lineup similar to the one deployed against Molde at the Emirates earlier this month, with Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, and Joe Willock featuring. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alexandre Lacazette start. Nathan predicted something similar, though not Lacazette starting. The big question is whether Mikel Arteta will deploy Nicolas Pépé in the aftermath of his red card incident against Leeds. My gut is telling me the Ivorian will get the nod. I’d really like to see Emile Smith Rowe get a run out as well. Perhaps more important is that guys like Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang get a rest.

Arsenal - Runarsson, Cedric, David Luiz, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Xhaka, Willock, Nelson, Nketiah, Lacazette

Molde - Linde, Risa, Gregersen, Sinyan, Wingo, Hussain, Aursnes, Ellingsen, Eikrem, Hestad, James

WHAT: Arsenal at Molde
WHERE: Aker Stadium (which is like, actually ON the water in southern Norway)
WHEN: Thursday, November 26th 9:55 AM PT | 12:55 PM ET | 7:55 PM BT
US TV: Fubo TV and CBS All-Access ($$$)

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