Preparing for PSV: Match Preview (026)

Our postponed fixture against PSV will finally be played tonight, having been postponed due to the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II’s death and a subsequent lack of policing due to the state funeral. Arteta goes looking for his eighth straight victory across all competitions as we are yet to drop any points in the Europa League this season. PSV appear to be our biggest rival for the top spot in Group A as they are yet to lose a match too, however they did drop points as they drew 1-1 with Bodø-Glimt. Zinchenko has missed our last three fixtures, with Tomiyasu replacing him despite a fully fit Kieran Tierney, displacing him from his natural position. There are also doubts over Martinelli, who has rather worryingly been absent from training. We do have the home advantage, and in my opinion we should go into this fully optimistic that we will take all three points. We should expect to see some squad rotation, although I fully expect that several of our usual starting XI will feature on the bench should Arteta need to call upon them. There were definite signs of fatigue at the weekend, so this squad rotation will be vital to keep us going on both the Premier League and Europa League fronts.

My predicted starting lineup:

GK: Matt Turner – Turner is yet to concede a goal in the Europa League despite having quite a few tests last Thursday away to Bodø-Glimt. He is also the only Arsenal goalkeeper to have kept a clean sheet at home at the Emirates this season; “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

RB: Takehiro Tomiyasu – Tomiyasu has featured in the last three starting XI at LB, despite this not being his natural position. Although he has got the job done, it is undeniable he looked uncomfortable and Ben White definitely needs a break, so I think we will see him in his natural position tonight.

CB: Rob Holding – Holding came on in the 80th minute to defend our fragile 1 – 0 lead over Leeds, and it was a definite sigh of relief. We know Holding is reliable and he put in a solid performance last week. This will also give Saliba a week off following an uncharacteristically jumpy performance on Sunday.

CB: Gabriel – despite almost conceding a penalty and picking up a red card at Elland Road, Gabriel has been a key part of our defence this season and I doubt Arteta will want to start a game without him in the back.

LB: Kieran Tierney – KT has fallen second best to Zinchenko, who has been out with injury. I don’t expect to see Zinchenko start, but instead believe he will come on at around the 60th minute mark to warm himself up and give Tierney a break, who hasn’t been playing like his usual self this season.

CM: Thomas Partey

CM: Granit Xhaka – vice-captain Xhaka has played a vital role in his developed position which has left the opposition struggling to contain him and stop him from putting crosses into the box. He had a tough game at the weekend but is vital for team morale and guidance.

AM: Martin Ødegaard – captain Ø provided Saka with his cross that scored the winner at the weekend. Ødegaard has been immense this season and made it look so easy at the same time, a vital part of our midfield and essential to help progress the ball down the pitch, always finding pockets of space that draw defenders away from his teammates.

RW: Bukayo Saka – our Starboy had scored 4 goals in a week, including two winners, both away at Bodø-Glimt last Thursday and at Elland Road on Sunday. His linkup with Martin Ødegaard is insane and they have formed an incredible partnership which has helped in the final third incredibly.

ST: Eddie Nketiah – Jesus was definitely not on his A-game at the weekend, hopefully only due to fatigue, and Eddie has been amazing in the Europa League and the Premier League, when given a chance to shine, this season. I think we can expect to see Eddie start both tonight and on Sunday against Southampton to give Jesus a much deserved break and give Eddie some vital minutes under his belt that he needs to develop and grow as a player.

PSV come in to this fixture unbeaten in their last four matches, including a 5-0 and 5-1 victory over FC Zürich in the Europa League and 6-1 domestically. However, Arsenal definitely pose a different threat and with some incredibly versatile players at Arteta’s disposal, we have the potential to line up in a way that could totally throw our opponents off. We will go into this game with so much confidence after a well fought victory at the weekend and our first domestic clean sheet in a month, since we played 9th place Brentford away. The boys will have their work cut out, but I have every faith we can take all three points and avoid an additional playoff fixture for the knockout stages. COYG!!!

Written by: Abby Goodson @_abbygoodson

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