Mikel Arteta & co. will be aiming to book place in Uefa Europa League semi-finals for the second time in three seasons when take on Czech champions Slavia Prague in the second-leg of their quarter-final showdown at the Sinobo Stadium this evening.
The Gunners, who made impressive return to winning ways in domestic league, with 3-0 defeating relegation-threatened Sheffield United on Sunday evening at Bramall Lane, will arrive in Prague with the tie finely poised at 1-1 after last Thursday’s first-leg at the Emirates Stadium.
A stoppage time equaliser from Slavia defender Tomas Holes cancelled out Nicolas Pepe’s 86th minutes openers for the Gunners, ensuring the Czech champions head into tonight’s tie with an away goal to their name.
That means that the Gunners, who have already knockout both Benfica and Olympiacos in earlier stages of this season’s competition, will have to score this evening to stand any chance of reaching the semi-finals, whereas a goalless draw would see Czech champions through.
After knockout of FA Cup and Carabao Cup while also miserable form in the Premier League, in which saw Mikel Arteta’s side sitting ninth position on league standings, their hopes of win silverware this season, remains only Europa League competitions, with also using it as a back-door into the Uefa Champions League.
As a result, boss Mikel Arteta is fully aware of just how much is riding on this evening’s encounter. Addressing the media at his pre-match press call on Wednesday morning, the Spaniard said: ‘It’s very important for us and this is our club. It’s not individual interests it’s all a collective interest that we want to do well in every competitions.
‘Tomorrow’s game puts us in a position to go into a semi-final of European competition and this is where this club have to be. That’s why tomorrow we have to earn that.’
And ahead of this evening’s clash in Sinobo Stadium, Arsenal are faces anxious wait on the availability of both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Martin Odegaard while David Luiz and Kieran Tierney are totally ruled out the match.
But Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith-Rowe all back to training and full fit for selection. Trio show signal of injuries problem but there appeared at London Colney training based on Wednesday morning, showed they are ready for tonight clash.
Full Arsenal squad available for Slavia Prague showdown:
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno, Karl Hein & Mat Ryan.
Defenders: Pablo Mari, Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalheas, Hector Bellerin, Cedric Soares & Calum Chambers.
Midfielders: Emile Smith-Rowe, Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Dani Ceballos, Willian, Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka, Miguel Azeez & Reiss Nelson.
Strikers: Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli & Folarin Balogun.