Team news, statistics and predictions while Arsenal travels to Standard Liege in the Europa League.
The first Arsenal victory in nine games had a cost, as several players faced a time was injured after Monday’s victory at West Ham.
The Gunners had not tested the victory since October 24, but came from behind to beat Manuel Pellegrini’s team 3-1 at the London Stadium. But before Thursday’s Europa League trip to Standard Liege and Manchester City’s visit to Sunday’s Premier League, the club announced a series of injury concerns.
Héctor Bellerin was removed from the lineup before the initial serve in West Ham with a tight hamstring and will not travel to Belgium, with his place against the City also in doubt.
Granit Xhaka suffered a concussion after being hit by the ball and is definitely absent in both games. The summer signing, Kieran Tierney, lasted a little longer than Bellerin on Monday night before being removed with what turned out to be a dislocated right shoulder.
Nicolas Pepe scored and provided assistance, but a bruised knee means he could miss Sunday’s game, as he had been ruled out of Liege’s clash. Meanwhile, Dani Ceballos remains sidelined by a hamstring problem and Arsenal also confirmed that Rob Holding would be absent for about two weeks while recovering from a slight knee complaint.
Status of the situation
This is complicated. The Arsenal needs a point of distance in Standard Liege to guarantee to happen to the round of 16, but a defeat of Frankfurt in house before Vitoria would also be sufficient.
If Standard Liege does not win, Frankfurt is guaranteed a last place of 32, but if the German team wins three points, it will seal its place anyway. Liege is confident of a defeat in Frankfurt, along with winning against Arsenal, or are out. Vitoria is already out.
The top three teams could finish with 10 points, with six points each in their three-in-two table, if Standard Liege wins and Frankfurt draws. That would mean that the difference in goals in the corresponding games between the three would be used to determine who makes the last 32, which would still leave Arsenal in a very strong position to qualify.
The only way the Gunners could leave is with a loss by five or more goals in Liege and a victory for Eintracht Frankfurt.
Both Standard Liege and Arsenal can still qualify for Group F in the Europa League this season; the Belgian side seeks to progress from the group stage of the competition for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign, while the Gunners have passed each of their last 16 group stages in an important European competition since they left in the second stage group of the 2002-03 Champions League.
Arsenal have won the previous five meetings with Standard Liege, with an aggregate score of 19-2. His biggest victory as a visitor in Europe was against the Belgian team (7-0 in November 1993).
This is the first time Standard has received English opponents since September 2009, when they went 2-0 after only five minutes against Arsenal before finally losing 2-3.
Including the qualifiers, Standard Liege is undefeated in 11 home games in European competitions (W7 D4), winning each of the last five in a row.
Arsenal have not lost consecutive games in a single season in the UEFA Cup / Europa League since 1996-97, when they lost twice to Borussia Mönchengladbach in September 1996.
The prediction of Charlie Nicholas
I don’t see many things that transform in the countryside. I think Freddie Ljungberg will make more changes and they will go to Belgium more optimistic, but I imagine Alexandre Lacazette will start. Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson will probably also start, but I’m not sure what he will choose on the defensive.
I imagine David Luiz will play, but Ljungberg has a limited choice, since the sides are injured. It is not yet a turning point for Arsenal and I think they will be happy with one point: that is all they need and they will take the game to become the best.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-2 (11/1 with Sky Bet)
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