Arsenal face Liege in Europa League


Arsenal host Belgian side Standard Liege in the second round of Europa League fixtures as they look to make it two wins from two.

The first group game saw Unai Emery hand a number of youngsters a chance to impress, and despite riding their luck throughout, they came away from Frankfurt with a 3-0 win, thanks to goals from Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

They come into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw away at Manchester United, which has left the Gunners sat 4th in the Premier League, and unbeaten in six in all competitions since their defeat to Liverpool in August. Youngster Saka was the shining light for Arsenal, but summer signing Nicolas Pepe struggled on the other flank, and this Europa League tie offers a chance for players such as Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Martinelli an opportunity to stake claims for the first team ahead of their Sunday clash with Bournemouth.

Standard Liege currently sit second in the Belgian Pro League after 9 games, with a record that reads W6, D1, L2. Looking to make it two from two in the Europa League after their 2-0 victory over Vitoria in the opening game, they endured a tough weekend in the league, relying upon a stoppage-time equaliser to snatch a point at home to Charleroi.

Top scorer for the Belgian side this season is Maxime Lestienne with five goals, whilst winger Paul-Jose M’Poku comes into the game on the back of a man of the match performance on Sunday, where his injury time free kick earnt his side a point.

There are a number of ex-Premier League connections in the squad, with captain Sebastien Pocognoli previously turning out for West Brom, whilst strikers Orlando Sa and Obbi Oulare were once on the books at Fulham and Watford respectively.

These sides last met in the Champions League Group Stages of the 2009/10 season, where goals from Samir Nasri and Denilson handed Arsenal a 2-0 win, coming up against a Standard Liege side that included Axel Witsel and Eliaquim Mangala.

Team news

Emery is once again expected to make changes for this Europa League clash, and as a result expect to see starts for youngsters such as Gabriel Martinelli and Joe Willock. Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin could start as they work their way back to fitness, but Alexandre Lacazette will definitely miss out.

Standard Liege will be without Merveille Bokadi, who was ruled out for 6 months with an injury picked up this weekend. Ex-Fulham striker Orlando Sa and Noe Dussenne will also miss out with long-term injuries

Unai Emery on his side’s fitness and performance on Monday night:

“Football is changing. Physically it’s very important. Every team physically is very strong.”

“You need to play with quality, you need to play with quality of course and be able to use the space on the pitch for 90 minutes. Every player in each team is very, very fit. We both have very quality players. We need to improve our mental work, tactically to achieve the best performance.”


Arsenal Wins – 4

Draws – 0

Standard Liege Wins – 0


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