Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is expected to make wholesale changes to his starting XI for the Europa League clash at home to Molde tonight. Arsenal have won their first two games of the group stage so the pressure is off Arteta’s side ahead of the visit of the Norwegian champions. Express Sport have picked an XI we expect to see line up for the Gunners at the Emirates.
Runar Alex Runarsson made a confident start to his Arsenal career in last week’s win over Dundalk.
There was not much for the Iceland international to do but what he did was done with confidence and assurance.
Bernd Leno cannot play every game so the Europa League is a good opportunity for Runarsson to prove what he can do.
Molde have won their first two games of the group stage though, so the 25-year-old may have more to do than last week.
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Tonight may be another good chance for Arteta to continue with the 4-3-3 formation he used at Old Trafford.
The players will be different but there is no need to play a back three at home against a side of Molde’s quality.
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David Luiz has returned from injury and should partner Shkodran Mustafi in the middle of defence.
Cedric Soares should get another run out at right-back, with the change in formation meaning Sead Kolasinac, not Ainsley Maitland-Niles, playing on the left.
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Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos were both left out against United and need to win their spot back after impressive performances from Mohamed Elneny and summer signing Thomas Partey.
The duo should start this match, with Joe Willock likely to play again after missing out on the squad at Old Trafford.
Willock’s creative ability and goalscoring knack could earn him a more prominent first-team role in the future if the Gunners remain shy in front of goal.
Partey and Elneny deserve a rest following their exploits on Sunday, as does Bukayo Saka.
Nicolas Pepe was once again left out of Arteta’s starting XI for a big match on Sunday.
The club-record signing needs to use the Europa League as his platform to impress and back up the fine goal he scored against Dundalk last week.
Reiss Nelson should get another opportunity after putting in an exciting display against the Irish side.
Meanwhile, Eddie Nketiah should come in for Alexandre Lacazette up front.
Predicted Arsenal XI vs Molde in full: Runarsson; Cedric, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Ceballos, Willock; Pepe, Nketiah, Nelson.
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