Mikel Arteta will make a late call regarding the inclusion of Kieran Tierney and Alexandre Lacazette in the starting lineup for Arsenal’s crucial Europa League semi-final second-leg against Villarreal.
According to the Daily Mail, the former Manchester City coach is certain the Frenchman could make the bench at the very least, whereas, there is less certainty over the Scotsman, who has been out since the start of April and lacks match fitness.
The Gunners are up against it in their semi-final tie as they look to recover from a 2-1 deficit to reach their second European final in just three seasons. However, after David Luiz’s hamstring issue in the win over Newcastle United, the Spaniard is now sweating over the potential returns of the duo.
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Arsenal’s campaign is such that their entire year rests on their performance this Thursday night. It is a shame the Gunners have to rely on one game, however, their Premier League performances have made it this way.
Given the scenario, it may well be worth risking the duo for the encounter if they can be pushed that far.
Tierney has added an abundance of attacking talent down the left-hand side with his crosses proving the one of the side’s best creative threats. Only Bukayo Saka has attempted more crosses (136) than the former Celtic defender, a sign of the side’s over-reliance on his attacking nous.
Meanwhile, Lacazette proves too much of a well-rounded center-forward when compared to the rest of Arsenal’s options and would add a huge threat in the final third. At times this season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has struggled to hold the ball up and bring teammates into the game as well as close down opposition players, but, this proves no worries for the former Lyon man who has shown off his quality this season.
If ever there was a game where you would risk injured players, it would be the second-leg on Thursday. With the Emirates Stadium giants performing so poorly in the league, Arteta’s future may well be at risk if they fail to qualify for the Champions League via Europe’s second-rate competition.