There is no pressure on Unai Emery’s Arsenal against Standard Liege tonight after they took three points from their hardest Europa League group game in Frankfurt.
That can either lead to players jogging through the 90 minutes and low-scoring, uneventful fare or a more relaxed Arsenal going through the gears and showing a more creative side to their game.
The fact so much young talent is likely to feature rather than despondent second-string seniors should make the latter more likely with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli all reasons for fans to tune in. Only Emile Smith Rowe is absent as he recovers from concussion.
Those youngsters bring a level of enthusiasm and energy that can lift a team’s performance, and minutes tonight are also important for Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney on their way back from injury.
The Mesut Ozil era is all over bar the shouting – it seems just a question of when Arsenal manage to move him on – but he should also start after his omission from the matchday squad for Monday’s trip to Old Trafford.
Arsenal’s performances so far this season have seen them lose plenty of backers in the race for Champions League qualification – winning this competition is one route – but they are in fourth and their attacking talent and firepower remains stronger than their rivals.
Nicolas Pepe will hope to add to that, but he is still finding his feet in an Arsenal shirt and his untidy performance at United was something of a low point. The return of Bellerin to overlap on his right could be key to bringing out his best.
Speaking about the Europa League, Emery said: “I think it’s a great competition. It’s European, it’s always on TV and you can reach the Champions League if you win the Europa League. It’s a good competition and we always take it really seriously.”
Team news on the way shortly.
Source:: Daily times