One point is all that’s needed for Arsenal to secure first position in Group A of the Europa League when they take the plane to the Netherlands on Thursday night to play PSV Eindhoven.
Without a win on Thursday, the Gunners might have to contend with their Dutch opponents, who are below by five points, for second place. At the Emirates, PSV never really got going, but Xavi Simons, in particular, displayed glimpses of his great potential there. To see the Gunners win by just one goal would have been a relief to Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Noni Madueke, Mauro Junior, and Luuk de Jong were each given the go-ahead to go before PSV’s loss to Arsenal last week. Guus Til might be at the front of the pack for the time being, but he still needs to work on getting fitter.
For Van Nistelrooy’s game against the Gunners, Yorbe Vertessen (muscle), Marco van Ginkel (hamstring), Ismael Saibari (muscle), Kjell Peersman (back), and Olivier Boscagli (knee) are still sidelined. Additionally, Madueke shouldn’t be granted a start just yet.
Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko is nearing a calf injury comeback, but Mohamed Elneny and Emile Smith-Rowe are still out with groin and hamstring problems, respectively.
Matt Turner, Kierney Tierney, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Fabio Vieira, and Rob Holding can still expect to be recalled despite Arteta’s comments about how crucial it is for his team to win the group. Since Xhaka is just one caution away from a continental suspension, it could be better for Switzerland’s captain, who could make his 50th Europa League appearance, to get a warning this week and then serve his suspension in the final group game.
PSV Eindhoven possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Mwene, Ramalho, Obispo, Max; Veerman, Sangare, Gutierrez; Simons, Til, Gakpo
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Turner; Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Lokonga; Saka, Vieira, Martinelli; Nketiah