THE ODDS FAVOUR US TO QUALIFY FOR THE KNOCKOUT STAGES OF EUROPA LEAGUE: STANDARD LIEGE/ARSENAL PREVIEW.
Contrary to popular thinking, we have not yet qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League. However, it is unlikely that we would not. For us not to qualify, Standard Liege would have to beat us by at least a 5-goal margin as well as Frankfurt win its match.
How is Freddie going to approach the game? He’d want to win not only to top the table but also for the confidence of the team. At the same time he’d be thinking of fresh legs for the Sunday match against City. Not only is the chance of our finishing in the top four not entirely extinguished (we are 7pts from top 4), meaning we have to keep straining for maximum points in the EPL, but a poor result on Sunday would be a big set back to our recovering confidence. All things considered, Freddie is likely to rotate heavily in this match against Liege.
Unfortunately we have a number of players out or doubtful. Tierney is out for an expected three months with a shoulder injury. Mustafi is out, suspended. Bellerin, Holding, Ceballos and Xhaka have been ruled out for this match. Kolasinac who is our only available left back is not likely to be risked, particularly as he was carrying a slight strain but had to be played in the West Ham match when the team lost Bellerin and Tierney. All these, particularly the left back issue, mean that Freddie has some balancing work to do. By my calculations he might be constrained to go for a back three.
This looks a good team that is composed mostly of players who, instead of being short in confidence, are craving the opportunity to prove themselves. We might be set for a successive away win.
I have a feeling that Martinelli’s goal against the Hammers has put us back on the highway.