Arsenal only need 1 point from their final two Europa League group games to advance to the knockout stages. We could even lose tomorrow and still qualify, so there would normally be no reason for Unai Emery to abandon his policy of playing the fringe/youth players.
A top manager sticks by his principles no matter what the pressure, once he is having his tactics and team selection dictated to him, he knows he’s in trouble. While that’s not happening, he is aware that failure to win at Norwich could mean tomorrow is his final match at the Emirates.
Usually those who started at the weekend don’t feature midweek, with our squad big enough to field two different elevens.
To be fair that’s worked, with it taking an unlikely set of results to see us not get to the next round, crucial when you consider how far away we are from 4th in the League, making winning this trophy even more vital.
Yet does our manager need the headache of a 7th straight game without a win? Or will he try and avert a crisis?
Usually, where gooners would forgive a slip up when you’re on 10 points fielding a second-string line up, many have lost patience and will make their feelings known on Thursday if we again fail to perform. The Spaniard might feel he needs the insurance of putting out his best side just to get them over the line.
Let’s say the worse were to happen, we lose and Standard Liege beat Victoria, the way our confidence is, would you trust us to go to Belgium and get a result?
It makes Frankfurt a dangerous opponent. Don’t be deceived by our 3-0 victory in Germany, this is a unit who got to the last four of this competition last season, and while they have sold some of their stars they will be dangerous to play against, especially when they to need something out of the game. For them, this is the best time possible to visit London, never will they have a better chance of beating us.
So, does Emery try to avert a crisis, start with the likes of Leno and Auba, which would be publicly admitting he’s under pressure, or does he stick to his beliefs and carry on with those who got him the 10 points so far but who are not as experienced?
Either way, get this next week wrong, this might be the last time we see Emery at the Emirates.