Arsenal v Rapid Wien Preview/ Lineup: Guess Who’s Back, An African Midfield, Nelson’s Night?

Rapid Vienna v Arsenal – October 22nd , 2020

Vienna is the capital of Austria. Of the country’s nine states, Vienna is the smallest in area but the largest in population.

Modern Vienna has undergone several historical incarnations. From 1558 to 1918 it was an imperial city—until 1806 the seat of the Holy Roman Empire and then the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1918 it became the capital of the truncated, landlocked central European country that emerged from World War I as a republic. From 1938 to 1945 Austria was a part of Adolf Hitler’s “Greater” Germany, and Vienna became “Greater” Vienna, reflecting the Nazi revision of the city limits. In the decade following World War II, Austria was occupied by British, French, American, and Soviet forces, and Vienna was divided into five zones, including an international zone, covering the Innere Stadt (“Inner City”). In 1955 the State Treaty, by which the country regained independence, was signed with the four occupying powers, and Vienna became once again the capital of a sovereign Austria.

Once the seat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Vienna is filled with majestic sights, both old and new.

Vienna is among the least spoiled of the great old western European capitals. Its central core, the Innere Stadt, is easily manageable by foot and public transportation. In a city renowned for its architecture, many of Vienna’s urban prospects remain basically those devised over several centuries by imperial gardeners and architects. The skyline is still dominated by the spire of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and by the giant Ferris wheel in the city’s chief park, the Prater. The city suffered heavy damage in the last months of World War II, and much rebuilding was done after the war. Nevertheless, the character of Vienna as a whole remains much the same as in the years before 1914.

Vienna reaches across the Danube on one side and climbs into the Vienna Woods on the other. There it includes the 1,585-foot (483-metre) Kahlen Mountain (Kahlenberg) and the 1,778-foot (542-metre) Hermanns Mountain (Hermannskogel), Vienna’s highest point. The Vienna Woods slope to the river in four roughly semicircular terraces, with the Innere Stadt occupying the second lowest terrace. The city has a mean altitude of 1,804 feet (550 metres), but different sections vary considerably in height.

A stretch of the Danube was straightened and confined in the 19th century to form the Danube Canal, a flood-control canal parallel to the main stream, that flows through the city. An island 13 miles (21 km) long and 750 feet (230 metres) wide was thus created from former floodlands and was equipped as an all-sports park, adding to the city’s already generous recreational space. The Lobau, a wooded section along the river, has, like the Vienna Woods, long been a protected greenbelt area. Since the 1970s the open spaces on the far side of the Danube have been exploited for apartment buildings and factories.

Vienna, aerial view at night, with danube and cityscape

Rapid Vienna Honours

Rapid Wien is Austria’s record titleholder, lifting the trophy a total of 32 times, and the club also won a German Championship and German Cup while part of that country’s football competition from 1938–45 following the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany on 12 March 1938.

Austrian Championship

 Champions (32): 1911–12, 1912–13, 1915–16, 1916–17, 1918–19, 1919–20, 1920–21, 1922–23, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1934–35, 1937–38, 1939–40, 1940–41, 1945–46, 1947–48, 1950–51, 1951–52, 1953–54, 1955–56, 1956–57, 1959–60, 1963–64, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1995–96, 2004–05, 2007–08

Austrian Cup

 Champions (14): 1918–19, 1919–20, 1926–27, 1945–46, 1960–61, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1971–72, 1975–76, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1994–95

Austrian Supercup

Champions (3): 1986, 1987, 1988

German Championship

Champions: 1941

German Cup

Champions: 1938


Arsenal have only played Rapid Vienna twice, both games were in the 1991 European Cup and Arsenal won both games.

18 Sep 1991 Arsenal v Austria Wien        W        6-1      European Cup

02 Oct 1991 Austria Wien v Arsenal        W        0-1      European Cup

By GunnerN5

TA’s Predicted Lineup:

There is good reason not to underestimate this game and Mikel really could do with a good start in this group. There are a few players who are desperate for a game and there are also quite a few in the sickbay: Ceballos, Holding, Willian, Chambers, Mari and Martinelli. Luckily, The Shkod is back and just in time as we need a right-footer in defence desperately.

Is Runnarson ready? I have a feeling that Leno may still start this one. The back needs to be good and I would imagine that Gabriel will play with Luiz and Mustafi. But Mikel could give Kola a run from the start and keep Gabriel on the bench. Wingbacks will probably be AMN and Soares.

I expect Xhaka to be rested and with Ceballos out it should normally be a midfield of the African Gunners. Willock is likely to come on for Partey in the second half.

Up-front I expect us to go quite heavy-gunned. Auba needs a goal, Laca needs a game and so does Nelson. Eddie could miss out but I expect him to both come on in the second half and play v the Foxes at the weekend.

55 thoughts on “Arsenal v Rapid Wien Preview/ Lineup: Guess Who’s Back, An African Midfield, Nelson’s Night?

  • A great, very informative post, GN5. I have been twice to Vienna and it is a good city to visit. There are very dark episodes in its more recent and older history and in my view this has left a mark on the city. Nevertheless, there is plenty of beauty to be seen and the people are friendly.

    Austrian football is, similar to Belgian football, on the rise and we should not underestimate this game at all. We cannot also afford a poor, insipid performance as the world will be watching and we should fight for every game. So i expect us to field a strong team whilst giving a rest to some players who need one. Tierney and especially Saka should not be overplayed and Xhaka needs a rest after the international games and then MC on Saturday. With WIllian potentially out at the weekend, Pepe should be rested too, but luckily we have a lot of players available with both quality and hunger to give the Austrian a Gunners’ ball.

  • West Ham v Manchester City: A
    Fulham v Crystal Palace: D
    Manchester United v Chelsea: H
    Wolverhampton v Newcastle: H
    Arsenal v Leicester City: H
    Barcelona v Real Madrid: 1-1

  • We are still missing the selections for this weeks competition from :-
    Gooneris and JWL
    West Ham v Manchester City
    Fulham v Crystal Palace
    Manchester United v Chelsea
    Wolverhampton v Newcastle
    Arsenal v Leicester City
    Barcelona v Real Madrid

    This week there will be an added bonus of 2 points for the correct score of the game between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

  • Well, I live 2 hours from Vienna, but this post included some new and interesting fact I didn’t know.

    TA, you supported your line-up with solid arguments, but I think it would be both unfair from Arteta towards Pepe and Nketiah as well as counter-intuitive before our weekend clash against Leicester to play those that should be starters on Sunday. So I would rather see a Pepe-Eddie-Nelson attacking trio as well as ESR in midfield.

    No offense to our fair Austrian opponents, but as long as Mikel doesn’t nominate more than 3 Academy (U23) players in the starting line-up, this game is being taken seriously.

  • Always great previews N5.
    ….To go back to a great comment yesterday by Admir. Nice stat about Willians tackling, makes him an even better candidate for a false 9. I agree that Firmino is the good example of how the position should be played. I don’t like Lacazette there at all, and I don’t know if Eddie can do it well. Energy, pace, scoring ability are all pre requisites.

    Looking forward to Europa game. Not sure we want to throw the new keeper in yet. League cup might be the way I’d work him in, but maybe he needs to get work, in case Leno cant play at some point in the league.

  • Something to cheer us up:
    Strong lineup you picked, TA; I ilke it but i’d be very surprised if Auba was a starter tomorrow tbh
    Great post as always, GN, thanks. I have a few blurred memories of the 1996 cup winners’ cup final between Rapid and PSG – it was very poor, of that i’m sure.
    I also remember Rapid’s and Austria’s left-footed CF of the 70s-80s, Hans Krankl, I remember he impressed me because he was both powerful and subtle, a rare combination (Davor Šuker, who had a very short – and unsuccessful – spell at The Arsenal in 1999, made me think of him a lot). Austria had a very good team then; they played against france in the 1982 world cup and were beaten 1-0 – but the giresse-platini-tigana-genghini team, coached by the great michel hidalgo remains, in my humble opinion, the best french team ever (and the semi-final against germany the best game ever played by any french national team).
    So, thanks also for the nice trip down memory lane your post triggered, GN.

  • Fantastic write up GN5, that Ferris wheel, wasn’t it the one featured in the Harry Lime film?

    Vienna is a city of fantastic architecture and one that I’d love to visit alongside Prague and Budapest, oh and Amsterdam (gotta keep in with the guvnor).

    Just one point, I think that Austria Wien and Rapid Wien are different clubs, just saying… 😉

  • Back in the 1930’s the great Arsenal teams of Herbert Chapman ruled supreme and were arguably one of if not the best club side in the world, at a time when most world football was still amateur.

    But in Austria they had during the 30’s a fantastic crop of footballers and the Austrian National team was dubbed the wonder team. During this period Chapman struggled with the position of goalkeeper, he had several in his stable but none seemed to fit the bill. So Chapman, always the innovator looked to options outside of the British Isles and he negotiated to sign the Austrian national goalkeeper, who at the time was probably the best in the world, everything was agreed, the goalkeeper was keen to join the great Arsenal but unsurprisingly the Football Association blocked the transfer as only those luddites could. One can only wonder how English football might have developed if that transfer had been sanctioned by the FA and the best of Europe had been welcomed into Great Britain? Maybe one world class player per club to start with?

  • I’m not sure how Arteta will choose to play his strikers between league and Europa, but I’m thinking we have to do something to get them going, especially Aubameyang. Maybe something novel, even radical like playing him as a traditional striker, cf.

  • Hello, people! 🙂

    Really nice preview – especially as I love Vienna (Beč on South Slavic languages – we zse Hungarian word for it which may be interesting to pbarany).

    Just a nod to allezkev – indeed, Austria Wien and Rapid Wien are not the same club. Austria play in purple shirts, Rapid Wien are green and white. Also, we didn’t win both legs v Austria in 1991-92 – we won the first one 6-1 at Highbury, lost 0-1 in Vienna. Trivia: one of late substitutes for the visitors at Highbury was Ralph Hassenhütl, the Southampton manager.

    As for Rapid, there is a slight connection with Arsenal. Their biggest European result was a Cup Winners’ Cup Final – they were inspired by their giant striker Carsten Jancker – in which they lost 0-1 to PSG (long-distance free kick by Bruno Ngotty, later of AC Milan and Bolton). They lost CWC Final 1996 which means they inherited our unlucky position from the previous year.

    Can’t say I know much about them nowadays but we should beat them if we bring our A game to the pitch. The whole Özil thing will add pressure on both Arteta and the squad so three points would help.

  • Morning all, thank you for pointing out the errors – I’ll have to be more careful in my fact checking.
    I’m looking forward to the game today – the kick off off time here is a comfortable 12:15 pm. I’ll be surprised if we lose- but who knows these days as anything can and does happen.

  • Indeed, Admir, I didn’t know Vienna is called Beč in southern Slavic languages. We call it Bécs (with probably the same pronunciation as Beč), but it used to be a Hungarian village in the middle ages. (A joke commonly used by Hungarian nationalists as well as their internationalists counterparts making fun on them.)

    On the line-up, it is most likely wishful thinking from my side, but I can imagine Lacazette left home with Nketiah starting up front and being replaced by Balogun around the 65th minute.
    There is an abundance of midfield players for the cup games as Elneny is available, Partey may start, and we have AMN, ESR and Willock looking for playing time. (I suppose if Kolasinac starts on the left flank, AMN can move to the middle of the park.)
    The position of Saka is critical, as he seems one of the most consistent and promising player of the entire squad, but if we assume (of which I don’t agree with) that Arteta should pick the attacking trio from Auba, Laca, Pepe and Willian, then Saka could/should form a lethal trident with Nelson and Nketiah – as he already has a steady partnership with them from his U23 days.

    I know we are more stable playing with a back 3, but I don’t think we need 5 defenders against a team that has a market value in the ballpark of Leno/Tierney/Ceballos. No disrespect here, but that is a weaker league and we are not playing against Red Bull Salzburg either. And without the spectators they don’t have the atmosphere (12th player) advantage.

    So my line-up would be something like (I’m not sure I managed to picture a midfield dimond):

    That would be a very experienced back 4+1 as well as a pretty young forward 3+1.

  • Nice little joke, PB. I like your wishful lineup a lot, but I expect us to put a near full strength team up. Uefa value that and we will want to be on friendly terms with them.

  • Happy Birthday to Arsene Wenger, 71 years young today.

    He would like nothing more than to be back at in some capacity at his beloved Arsenal.

  • Wow what fantastic previews from GN5! So historical and wonderful learnings – sadly, I have nothing historical to offer in return. All i do know is that Rapid was Austria’s biggest club (evident from their 32 titles) and their fans have been very saddened by the rise to prominence of RB Salzburg (a club that essentially just buys their titles as they say). Yusuf Demir is one to watch out for on the Rapid side, as he is looking like he could become Austria’s next big upcoming talent (potentially greatest ever ahead of Szobozslai).

    The line-up is interesting and I think TA’s nailed it with a more “senior” side playing today. I’ve heard Auba might not have travelled, so perhaps that is the only change. With 5 subs still being allowed in Europa, we should see some healthy rotation as early as potentially half time (WIllock, ESR etc. should hopefully get 30-45 mins today).

  • In Praise of Arsene Wenger

    I wrote this post back in 2013/14 time frame.

    As an Arsenal supporter for the past 70 + years I want to thank Arsene for his dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and his devotion to playing a caliber of football that is envied the world over. His 18 seasons in charge of Arsenal have been a revelation to many of us older fans who have witnessed many, many dark years where our support of the club was tested to the fullest.

    Football fans are among the most fickle in sport and many of them only seem to care about winning trophies in order to give then the upper hand in bragging rights over the opposition. Thankfully there are also supporters who can see beyond a piece of silverware and fully appreciate the transformation of Arsenal into a truly world class club with world class facilities and one of the world’s top teams.

    I’ve tried to understand the mentality of the anti Arsene Wenger segment of Arsenal supporters – but I just don’t get it! It’s also beyond my comprehension how Arsene stands tall and proud in face of the inane nonsense that is leveled at him regardless of his actual list of successes and achievements. A lesser individual would have accepted one of the many offers he has received from the world’s top clubs.

    If we put aside the lack of silverware, for a mere eight year period, we are among the top four clubs in the UK and the top ten clubs in the world of football. So why are so many of our supporters against the manager with the longest tenure in our history and the most successful from every statistical standpoint. They choose to ignore the fact that Arsene has won more silverware than any previous Arsenal manager and his haul has only been exceeded by one other PL manager in football league history.

    In the ninety two years before Arsene became our manager we managed to get into the top four on only twenty eight occasions or less than 29% of the time – during Arsene Wengers 18 year tenure we have been in the top four 100% of the time. However instead of applauding this incredible feat his detractors theorize that he and the Board of Directors are complacent and are satisfied to only finish in the top four – because it brings us a modicum of financial security.

    I wonder how many of our current detractors have experienced being out of the running of everything before the end of October? Or winning just one league title and 2 FA Cups in a thirty four year period under the stewardship of six different managers?

    There is always a lot of chit chat about our “glorious history” when in fact many, many years were nothing more than hum drum under the management of thirteen rather ordinary managers – twelve of them never even won a coin toss let alone a trophy!.

    Of course I have to agree that we have had a few glorious spells – under Chapman, Allison, Whittaker, Mee and Graham – but none as glorious as the Wenger years.

    I won’t bother to list his record as that is well known and the envy of all other PL managers.
    I am personally fed up to the teeth with the negative, unjustified, views that are expressed against both our club and our manager. Wading through the negative comments is a laborious chore and has turned blogging into an unpleasant experience, so as a consequence I choose to blog far less than before.

    I also feel that the issue is not really about the quality of our football or the caliber of our players but all to do with the lack of trophies – which in the writer’s opinion is very shallow indeed.


  • From

    Arsenal have handed a trial to the son of club legend Dennis Bergkamp.

    Mitchel Bergkamp, 22, has spent the week training at London Colney with Steve Bould’s Under-23s side.

    The midfielder has been a free agent since the summer having left Dutch second tier side Almere City, where he progressed through the youth ranks.

    Arsenal have been taking a look at him during the past few days as they continue to shake-up their U23s set-up at the club.

    The Gunners have sent large swathes of their young players out on loan this summer, while also adding to their ranks with a host of new additions – from both at home and abroad.

    They are, however, short of supply in experienced U23s players, with only nine of those in Bould’s current group unable to also play for the U18s.

    That saw several players with first-team experience drafted into the side that drew 3-3 against Manchester United at the weekend, with Cedric Soares, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and William Saliba all starting.

    So the potential addition of 22-year-old Bergkamp could be an appealing option, despite him having never played at the top level in his homeland.

    Mitchel grew up in London and was on the pitch with his father for his testimonial against Ajax in 2006, which was the game that officially opened Emirates Stadium.

    And although he left England 14 years ago, he still holds Arsenal close to his heart.

  • Back then I would have supported you, GN5, and I have written many similar posts over the years, but I must admit that I am happy he is gone now. It was time to move on for both parties.. 👍🏿

  • Lineup is out: Leno, Cedric, Luiz, Gabriel, Kolasinac, Saka, Partey, Elneny, Pepe, Lacazette and Nketiah.

    Bench: Runarsson, Tierney, Mustafi, Macey, Bellerin, Auba, AMN, Nelson, Willock, Xhaka

  • thanks, HH
    strong side, as you predicted, ta – not exactly a vote of confidence for rünarsson – hale end kids (joe/reiss/emil/ainsley), though
    something like
    ideal game for partey to begin in an arsenal shirt

  • Who knows?
    That starting XI could be 4 4 2 with Eddie and Laca as a pair up front?
    Or 4 3 3 with Pepe, Nketiah and Laca up front…
    More likely though Total is right although 4 2 4 would be exciting?

  • Well … We look like a team who has unlearned how to attack
    Don’t feel like putting the blame on anyone, but I guess I’m not the only one who had a thought – or two – for our marooned German genius
    There’s definitely something Vieira-esque about Thomas, a warm welcome to him
    P.S. I do hate those blue shirts

  • But it just might be the wake up call we needed. Without Tierney to support him I would rather see Bukayo pushed further forward or at last tried behind the strikers.

  • At some point I wonder if Nelson is going to have to break with protocol and ask Mikel to come on lol overlooked again.

  • a win, eventually
    i liked the way thomas pushed the whole team forward
    auba’s found his scoring boots again
    not such a bad night after all, but mick has only 3 days ahead of him, to turn our pack of seemingly disoriented puppies into ruthless fox-hunting hounds …

  • A great ball into the box by Pepe, right onto the right spot and a great leap by Luiz but overall his dead ball delivery and passing was poor and has been poor for awhile.

    Very impressed by Partey, always looking for a forward or progressive pass and a big improvement generally to what we usually have in that department, great anticipation, dominant in the air, quick to close down the danger and with all due respect to our other centre midfielders he is a couple of levels above them all. It makes you realise what we’ve been missing…

  • I’m really impressed with Partey and Gabriel they are the glue that can hold a team together.
    Pepe leave me wondering and Lacca needs a goal or two to get his confidence back.

    A 2-1 win out of the ashes of defeat is more than acceptable.

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