Having qualified for this season’s Europa League by virtue of winning last season’s FA Cup, Arsenal open their fourth consecutive campaign in this competition with a Group B clash away to Rapid Wien at Allianz Stadion in Vienna,
With Molde and Dundalk also in this group, this clash in Vienna is an early table topping six pointer with both teams looking favourites to progress from the quartet into the knockout stages.
Rapid have a near full squad available despite one unnamed player testing positive for Coronavirus and will consequently miss this match.
Arsenal will be without Rob Holding after the defender suffered a hamstring injury during warm-up for Saturday’s defeat at Manchester City, with Mikel Arteta set to rotate his squad with one eye on Sunday’s domestic clash against Leicester.
Pablo Mari (ankle) and Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring) are nearing returns but won’t be risked in this match, whilst Calum Chambers and Gabriel Martinelli remain absent indefinitely with knee injuries.
- This is Rapid Vienna’s first-ever meeting against Arsenal in all competitions.
- Rapid Wien are unbeaten in five of their last six European home matches, which all came in their 2018-19 Europa League campaign (W4, D1, L1).
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last six away Europa League matches excluding 2018-19 Final which was played on neutral ground (W4, D2).
Rapid Wien enter this match in strong form but with strong flexibility in formation and tactics from match to match, it is tough to predict how they will perform here although they do like to play from the back which is an area which Arsenal need to put under pressure if want to get a result.
After a disappointing performance against Man City on Saturday, Arsenal however will be wary coming into this match because they need to show more sharpness against big teams than they’ve done this season otherwise Rapid could very well to look to punish them with clinical attacks if aren’t careful defensively.
This therefore should be a game of tactics with both managers set to play a huge part in terms of timing any tactical changes correctly which could be the difference between winning and losing, although I feel that Arsenal’s superior quality could well be crucial too.
Prediction: Rapid Wien 1-2 Arsenal
Result: Rapid Wien 1-2 Arsenal