Partey & 21 y/o gem start, Arteta makes 6 changes: Predicted Arsenal XI v Rapid Vienna – opinion

Arsenal kick off their Europa League campaign with a trip to Austria to face Rapid Wien in Group B’s opening fixture.

The Gunners go into this tie on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Mikel Arteta’s former club, Manchester City, whilst they have a tough-looking game with Leicester City later this weekend.

That could tempt 38-year-old into some changes to his starting XI.

Here’s how the north Londoners could line-up in the Austrian capital…


Several players are in line to make their Arsenal debuts this evening, though one name that won’t is William Saliba after his surprise omission from their Europa League squad registration.

Back-up goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson is yet to feature and he could well have to wait a little longer with Bernd Leno in good nick.

However, it is likely to be Thomas Partey’s first start from the off having made a little cameo off the bench at the Etihad Stadium.

According to Football.London’s James Benge, Shkodran Mustafi has travelled with the squad and is available for selection. Arteta could throw him straight in after Rob Holding’s latest injury blow.

He could partner Gabriel and David Luiz, who both started against City.

Bukayo Saka may well continue at left wing-back with Ainsley Maitland-Niles coming in to replace Hector Bellerin, who is rested for this one.

Neither Dani Ceballos nor Willian have travelled to Austria, so that opens up some more changes further up the pitch.

Young Hale End product Joe Willock could partner Partey in the middle while Nicolas Pepe is the obvious swap for the 33-year-old Brazilian.

Gunners talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn’t found the net since the opening day victory over Fulham, so Arteta could keep him in in order to help him refind his goalscoring boots.

Although he’ll be deployed from the left with 21-year-old striking gem Eddie Nketiah being named over Alexandre Lacazette through the middle.

The England U21 talisman is the sixth and final change in this line-up.

AND in other news, Arsenal may just have found their next Bukayo Saka…

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