Rapid Vienna vs Arsenal Predicted Lineup: European Football is Back!

Arsenal, Thomas Partey (Photo by Xaume Olleros/Getty Images)
Arsenal, Thomas Partey (Photo by Xaume Olleros/Getty Images) /
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Arsenal Goalkeeper & Defenders

Arsenal, David Luiz
Arsenal, David Luiz (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images) /

Bernd Leno (GK) – Part of me wants to see Alex Runarsson make his debut. Part of me also doesn’t. Having seen absolutely nothing of our new Icelandic goalkeeper apart from the occasional training video, his inclusion will depend on how he’s settled into the style of play.

If we were playing Dundalk or Molde at home I think Mikel Arteta might have been tempted, but as the opening game against the toughest opposition we’ll face, I think he’ll play it safe.

David Luiz (CB) – I do think he’ll revert to a more familiar back three for Thursday, mostly due to the players involved having settled in that setup over recent months. It’s a matter of time before transition into a 4-3-3 permanently, but I think keeping things tight in Austria and tiring them out will be the game plan.

Gabriel Magalhaes (CB) – As with Luiz, I’d rather see Gabriel given a rest but there are simply no other options. Rob Holding is out for up to four weeks, Mari will be short of match fitness, Mustafi has only just come back and Sokratis hasn’t even been selected for the squad.

Gabriel is young, though. He missed only two matches from his time with Lille and his eagerness to play is evident. He can play twice a week no problem. Not to mention he’s the best we’ve got.

Sead Kolasinac (CB) – Lining up in a back three will not mean that 3-4-3 is set in stone. In possession we’ll see Kolasinac high up the pitch as usual, even if my preference is to see as little as possible of him at any given time.

Nothing more than a squad player now, he is the charger to our Kieran Tierney-shaped battery. Also, bizarrely, I’ve got a peculiar feeling he’ll score on Thursday. Heck knows why, mind.