Arsenal started strong against Southampton, scoring early, and looked to be cruising to another three points. But quickly the physicality of the Saints, and possibly the fatigue of Arsenal, turned the tide. Yes, there were a few questionable calls from the ref, but once the match was 25-30 minutes in Arsenal’s players had to accept that that was the way the rest of the game would be called. The Gunners failed to match or handle Southampton’s physical play and looked out of sorts during the second half. While Mikel Arteta has a preferred starting XI, he needs to rotate as much as possible in the Europa League to rest those key players. At least in these final two group-stage matches.
Over the weekend PSV lost to Groningen, their third league loss of the season. They are now four points behind leaders Ajax, while that result boosted Groningen away from the relation zone. Now PSV turns their attention back to the Europa League where they have already clinched a spot in the Conference League knockout rounds at a minimum. If Bodo/Glimt beat Zurich and PSV falls to Arsenal, it would set up a final-round showdown between the two in Bodo. Thus PSV knows a point on Thursday is crucial.
- Gabriel Jesus
- Khayon Edwards
- Martin Odegaard
- Bukayo Saka
- Thomas Partey
- Matt Smith
- Takehiro Tomiyasu
- Zach Awe
- Aaron Ramsdale
- Karl Hein
- Left Out: Emile Smith Rowe (injury), Mohamed Elneny (injury), & Oleksandr Zinchenko (injury)
- Zinchenko wasn’t featured in Arsenal’s training on Tuesday. Considering the state of the group and the travel involved, there is no reason to push his return. Hopefully, he can be a factor in the squad for the match against Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
- A win at PSV would be great. A point clinches first place. But honestly, I’d be fine just seeing what the majority of the backups can do and sub on the U21 players. Rest Jesus, Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard, Partey, & Gabriel for the entire match - unless injuries force his hand.
- Keeping the players fresh for the next Premier League match is a higher priority than a win in Eindhoven. So in the second half let’s bring on Matt Smith for Xhaka, Cedric for Ben White, and whichever U21 center back Arteta brings along on the plane. Give Nelson and Marquinhos a full 90.
How to watch
Thursday (10/27) at 12:45 pm ET / 9:45 am PT on the Paramount+ & TUDN.
Arsenal - 2
PSV - 1
I do expect Arteta to push Arsenal to start fast again from the kick-off. The Gunners want a response after dropping points on Sunday, even if it was in a different competition. However, PSV will feel more confident at home and probably be difficult to keep off the scoreboard.