Top spot sewn up. Twenty one games without defeat, Unai Emery will view this tie against Qarabag FK as an opportunity to test the mettle of some of his players again.

They came through with flying colours in Ukraine in our last Europa League game, as Emery rang the changes through the side, and the impressive youth players who took part in that 3-0 win will get their chance again for this tie.

With Southampton our next game, and with our league standing so close to the top4, our Spanish coach will be keen to keep our Champions League chances healthy, and that tie will take precedence over this one.

Qarabag will be a tougher test than Vorskla, but this tie is at home too, so we can be confident that the likes of Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith-Rowe can impress once more, and push their claims for more starts this season with a great display.

Whether the game is a dead rubber or not matters a little, but winning is a habit, so Emery will want his youthful eleven to keep the unbeaten run going here, and put on a show for our fans in attendance.



Team News

We have wonderful news in that our club Captain, Laurent Koscielny, will be making his first start since May - and our Europa League Semi-Final versus Atletico Madrid - in this game. The Frenchman will be playing his first game under Emery, and will have to prove he is the best option for one of the permanent centre-back spots.

Who else will play though?

Petr Cech will no doubt return between the sticks, and the likes of Stephane Lichtsteiner, Carl Jenkinson and perhaps Zach Medley will get the nod in defence.

In midfield, Mohamed Elneny and Matteo Guendouzi are prime candidates for the engine room, with Charlie Gilmour hopeful of getting some more minutes.

In attack, Aaron Ramsey has forced himself into the first team of late and could be on the bench with Southampton on the horizon. Emile Smith-Rowe, Alex Iwobi, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah will play big parts in forming our front four, with Mkhitaryan and Saka vying for contention.

Mesut Ozil is once again fit and could play some part to gain some much needed match sharpness.



How will this go?

Qarabag FK will look to spring the counter trap if, as expected, Arsenal dominate possession, with the superior skillset and also home advantage. That means that Carl Jenkinson and Koscielny will need to be on high alert for rare attacks and not be lulled into relaxing. It will be an examination of concentration for our kids too.

I think Smith-Rowe will be pivotal. His ghosting runs into the box are a snare that seem to be hard for our opponents to avoid, he just needs to be found. That responsibility will most likely fall to Alex Iwobi, so the Nigerian needs to keep his cool and make the right decisions.

If we can get Nketiah on the end of a few flicks, then the home crowd should enjoy a few goals, but the first half could be a midfield war. Elneny could remind Emery what he has with a bossy performance, and win the battle for Arsenal.



Predicted Lineup - Cech, Lichtsteiner, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Guendouzi, Willock, Iwobi, Smith-Rowe, Nketiah


Predicted Scoreline - 2-0 to The Arsenal