Following their 2-2 draw with Watford on Sunday, Arsenal will face Eintracht Frankfurt in their first Europa League match of the season. Thanks to a recent injury to Alexandre Lacazette, the Gunners will also face a dilemma at striker.
Unai Emery, Arsenal May Have to Get Creative Against Frankfurt
Eintracht Frankfurt made the semifinals of the competition last season. They ended their Bundesliga campaign in somewhat disappointing fashion, however, slipping to seventh after going winless in their final five matches.
So far this season, the Eagles have won two and lost two in the Bundesliga, netting five times and allowing five goals. They are dealing with the departures of star attackers Luka Jovic and Sebastian Haller.
Arsenal will have to keep a close leash on him to avoid giving away an easy goal or two. However, due to the absence of Haller and Jovic, the Gunners may have an easier task defending Frankfurt than they had against Watford on Sunday.
With the club now playing twice per week, Unai Emery may elect to rotate one or the other out of the team to keep their legs fresh. That means that Reiss Nelson and/or Gabriel Martinelli may get a chance to impress.
Fans have yet to see either play up front as both player’s natural position is on the wing. That would make playing either as an out and out striker somewhat of a gamble.
Then again, over-relying on Aubameyang and Pepe would also be a risk.
Expect a somewhat rotated Arsenal side named by Unai Emery. Although their next Premier League opponents, Aston Villa, are newly-promoted, the Gunners will want to keep one or two first-team regulars fresh for the match.
That is in addition to the fact that last season Emery made the Europa League a priority even from the group stages. This resulted in topping the group comfortably, however, also resulted in tired legs towards the end of the season.
Logic dictates that Emery will likely do the same this time around, even if it means extra work for his regulars.
Predicted score: Eintracht Frankfurt 1-2 Arsenal
It will be close but the Gunners have enough skill to take all three points from their travels.
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