Sunday’s win at Old Trafford was is exactly what Mikel Arteta, the squad, and the fanbase needed to lift the collective confidence following a frustrating Premier League loss to Leicester City. Arsenal now have the lowest goals allowed in the Premier League. Yes, Arsenal.
Surrounding those matches Arsenal put away their first two group stage matches in the Europa League and welcome in Molde FK who have opened up with two wins as well. Molde play in the top division in Norway and won the league title in 2019, but currently sit in 2nd place 16 points back from the top of the table with the league wrapping up this coming weekend. They were knocked out of the 2nd qualifying round for the UEFA Champions League before joining Arsenal in Group B. With two one-goal wins Molde will face their biggest test of the year at the Emirates.
Predicted Starting XI
- Alexandre Lacazette
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
- Bukayo Saka
- Mohamed Elneny
- Thomas Partey
- Rob Holding
- Granit Xhaka
- Héctor Bellerín
- Kieran Tierney
- Emile Smith Rowe
- Bernd Leno
Notes on the XI:
- Left Out: No senior players with the 12 man bench.
- Injured: Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli & Calum Chambers.
- If Luiz is available for a starting role, I have him in place for Xhaka on the back and Granit on the bench as coverage, as I’d still rather have Kolasinac on the left over Xhaka. If Luiz isn’t ready to start and can only make the bench,then Xhaka steps into the starting XI.
- It’ll be interesting to see what Arteta does with the end of the bench. A third keeper again like last week with Karl Jacob Hein? Will he leave out a few senior players into order to get Folarin Balogun and Emile Smith Rowe a chace to make a second half appearance?
- Last Thursday Arsenal controlled the game and won comfortable 3-0. Still at the Emirates, why change much? Especially when the majority of that starting XI were on the bench on Sunday. Thus, I’ve brought back 9 of last week’s 11.
- Nketiah, Pepe and Nelson make a solid 2nd line for the front three, Willock had a stellar match, and both Maitland-Niles and Cedric offered more control out wide than their previous outings. But since Elneny started against Manchester United, and fully earned the praise he is receiving, he slides to the bench in favor of Dani Ceballos or Granit Xhaka.
The Gunners can open group play with three wins and take a clear lead at the half way point. After back-to-back wins, who are you you starting?
How to watch
- Thursday (11/5) at 3:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm PT on CBS All Access.