Mikel Arteta faces a bit of a headache this week. by Dan Smith
He wanted to get a draw in Holland last Thursday which would have won our Europa League group, meaning he could give his first team players a rare week off.
He still of course could do that. The manager has every right to rotate his squad and expect to have enough to be beating FC Zurich at home.
The consequences of being runners up in our group are so huge though will the Spaniard want to take the risk?
Arsenal were not in Europe last season so some Gooners might not be aware of the rule changes to UEFA’s secondary competition.
All group winners essentially skip a round and head straight to the last 16.
Runners up go into the round of 32, the one campaign where you don’t want to be playing additional fixtures.
More crucial than that though, is your opponent would be one of the sides who drop down from the Champions League. We will learn in the next couple of days who those names are.
I don’t think it’s arrogant to play mostly a different 11 on Thursday to the one that will start at Stamford Bridge.
That’s the point of having a squad and any player who can’t be trusted to handle the pressure of a must win situation in the Europa League against FC Zurich at the Emirates, really shouldn’t be at our club.
Yes, many of those players let themselves down against PSV, but they still have fulfilled the criteria of getting us through this stage.
Many have used this competition for playing time and it would be harsh if they were now not shown faith, having done the hard part.
I also think it would be foolish if a Jesus, Saliba, Odegaard, etc, got an injury when we have alternatives to more then be able to handle a team with 1 point from their five games, and therefore nothing to play for in North London.
Let’s keep as many players as possible fresh for the weekend.
This is the team I would choose….
Ramsdale (assuming Turner is injured still)
Tierney, Holding, Tomiyasu, Cedric
Martinelli, Vieira, Nelson
Let me know your team peeps,
Would you go strong?
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