Arsenal will begin their Europa League group stage campaign with a trip to Germany to take on Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night.
After an encouraging start to the new Premier League season, the Gunners have stumbled in recent games and blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Watford on Sunday afternoon so Unai Emery will be keen to get back to winning ways.
The Arsenal boss will view the Europa League as another realistic way to get back into the Champions League next season having lost in the final last year but he’s expected to use the group stages as a way to give some of his fringe players and youngsters a taste of first-team action.
Arsenal are obviously the heavy favourites to qualify from Group F as Standard Liege and Vitoria S.C should be easy pickings for the north Londoners but Frankfurt could provide stiff competition for top spot after making it to the semi-finals last season.
Emery will continue to be without the services of Alexandre Lacazette as the French hitman is ruled out with an ankle injury while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to be rested.
Rob Holding has been building up his fitness with the Arsenal U23s in recent weeks so he could be given a recall to the first team on Thursday night after recovering from a serious knee injury.
Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are back in full training but need more time to work on their fitness before they’ll be considered available for selection so they remain on the sidelines.
Emery is likely to rotate his squad with the likes of Emi Martinez, Calum Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi, Lucas Torreira, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Martinelli pushing for starts.
Betting sites such as 123Aposta are predicting Arsenal to win this game despite the fact they come into the match having failed to win any of their last three games and are expected to field a weakened side. The Gunners can be backed at odds of 13/10 while Frankfurt are available at 2/1 so Emery’s side are only the narrow favourites but they’re still tipped to collect all three points.
The draw is available at odds of 5/2 which could be tempting considering Arsenal’s poor away form, however, we still think the north Londoners will do enough to edge this one. Frankfurt haven’t convinced this season and lost to Augsburg at the weekend so Arsenal should be quietly confident of bringing home three points from Germany.
Emery will make changes but the side should still have enough quality to win so we’re predicting a narrow 2-1 Arsenal victory – which can be backed at odds of 15/2.