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Arsenal predicted XI v Rapid Vienna: Mikel Arteta starts £140k-a-week man and Mesut Ozil’s ‘successor’

Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion: Premier League 2
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Arsenal predicted XI v Rapid Vienna: Mikel Arteta starts £140k-a-week man and Mesut Ozil’s ‘successor’

Arsenal will look to maintain their winning run in the Europa League on Thursday night, with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta likely to make widescale changes.

The North Londoners have won four out of four in the competition, sealing their place in the knockout rounds of the competition ahead of Rapid Vienna coming to the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal’s Europa form is in stark contrast to their Premier League struggles, with two defeats and a draw in their last three domestic games leaving them 14th in the table.

Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

With a trip to Tottenham Hotspur coming up at the weekend, Arteta is likely to rest his big guns while also giving fringe players and youngsters the opportunity to impress.

So, who could make up the Gunners starting XI against their midweek opponents?

Alex Runarsson is likely to replace Bernd Leno in between the sticks, while the back four could be completely overhauled.

David Luiz is the only enforced changes from the loss to Wolves but Hector Bellerin, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney are likely to make way too.

 

Cedric Soares is likely to take the right-back spot, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is a good shout for left-back, and in the middle we could see Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi given a chance.

Joe Willock’s great form could be rewarded with another starting spot, and with central midfield his strongest position, we predict he’ll be paired up with Mohamed Elneny in the middle.

Further up, Nicolas Pepe is banned domestically but available in the Europa so Arteta is likely to give the £140,000-a-week ace a start.

Meanwhile, Emile Smith Rowe – the 20-year-old previously described as “Mesut Ozil’s successor” – and Reiss Nelson could line up at No. 10 and on the left respectively.

Although Alexandre Lacazette didn’t start against Wolves, Arteta is unlikely to risk him in a dead rubber from the off, so Eddie Nketiah is likely to lead the line.

Arsenal predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Runarsson; Cedric, Mustafi, Holding, Maitland-Niles; Willock, Elneny; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Nelson; Nketiah

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