Good morning everyone.
After what feels like a bit of an age, Arsenal are back in Champions League action tonight with another tough looking away game in Seville.
After the 2-1 defeat at Lens last time out, another defeat this evening will put Mikel Arteta’s side under lots of pressure at the halfway mark of the group stages, so they have to make sure they get some sort of result against a Sevilla team who have had a mixed start to the season in La Liga.
But even though they sit 13th in the league, they are still a very dangerous side, especially at home. They showed that at the weekend when they drew 1-1 with Real Madrid in a game they easily could have won.
So Arsenal know they have to improve on the performance they put in against Lens in their last away game in the competition.
Arteta does not have a good record in Europe away from home. Wins have been difficult to come by for Arsenal on their travels, even in the Europa League in recent seasons.
Arteta was asked about that during his press conference in Spain last night. He said:
“The opponents are really good and to win away from home is always difficult, but to win away from home in Europe, you see a shift in all the top teams that they are not the same results. Margins become critical and the emotional state of the team in certain moments goes through difficult ones, so that’s absolutely key.”
There will be lots of focus on Arteta’s team selection once again this evening.
I expect David Raya to keep his place. Arteta backed him again last night after what happened against Chelsea and was adamant he’s seen no signs that he is struggling to deal with the pressure of playing for Arsenal.
Takehiro Tomiyasu could come in on either side of the back four, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Oleksandr Zinchenko given the night off for this one.
Kai Havertz – who came in for some big praise from Jorginho during the pre-match press conference – is another player I expect to start, potentially in place of Gabriel Jesus up top.
“I think Kai has so much potential,” Jorginho said, “I’ve tried to stay close to him because, to be honest, he’s a great guy and an amazing footballer of course.
“He’s just arrived at the club, so many new things for him to adapt and learn. Of course he’s going to show so much more, but I think he’s doing well to be honest.
“I’m sure he’s hungry for much more and I’m sure he will do it.”
Right, that’s it from me. I’ll leave with you my predicted XI for tonight. Enjoy the game.
Arsenal predicted XI: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu: Partey, Rice, Odegaard; Saka, Havertz, Martinelli.
Enjoy the game everyone.