Arsenal hosts PSV on Thursday 20th October (by 8pm) in a rescheduled match following postponement due to the death of Queen Elizabeth. The Gunners sit top of Group A with nine points, two ahead of PSV. Just like with Bodo/Glimt, Arsenal and PSV will meet on back-to-back Thursdays in a series that will determine who wins the group and jumps into the round of 16. A win at the Emirates would lift Arsenal five points clear with only six points remaining.
In the Eredivisie PSV are currently in second place just one point behind Ajax. In their last four matches across competitions, they have four wins and have outscored their opponents 17 to 2, including 10 to 1 over FC Zurich over two legs in group play. PSV enters Thursday’s match second in Group A just two points behind Arsenal knowing they likely need a point or two from this pair of fixtures to stay ahead of Bodo/Glimt.
This will be just the seventh meeting between these two sides and the first time in the Europa League. It’s been over 15 years since they’ve played each other. In fact, the last Arsenal player to score against PSV is Thierry Henry back in November 2004.
Substitutes; Gabriel Jesus, Khayon Edwards, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Thomas Partey, Matt Smith, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Gabriel, Cedric, Aaron Ramsdale, Karl Hein.
Left Out: Emile Smith Rowe (injury), Mohamed Elneny (injury), & Oleksandr Zinchenko (injury)
For me, the starting XI will depend heavily on how much Mikel Arteta believes he needs several ‘A team’ players starting vs. can the ‘B team’ secure three points given the match is at home? Start with the wingers. If he is feeling confident, Reiss Nelson and Marquinhos start with the ability to bring on Bukayo Saka or Martinelli for the last half hour if needed. Otherwise, we could see Martinelli start once again with Marquinhos the planned second-half addition.
Looking to midfield he will need to start either Odegaard or Xhaka. Given Odegaard started the last match, I’ve gone with Xhaka this time. Move Fabio Vieira back into the #10 role and it gives the captain a rest ahead of Southampton.Saliba for the fourth straight match or rotate for Gabriel, similar to the Xhaka/Odegaard situation. Saliba is by far in the better form of the two, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Gabriel start simply to keep spreading out the minutes evenly.
Both Tomiyasu and White started against Leeds. Given we don’t know when Zinchenko will return, it might be the safer option to keep Ben White starting on the right with Tomiyasu as the sub-option for either him or Tierney. It brings up a question for another time though. Given the current state of the team, will Arsenal focus on signing a new right-footed CB in the summer to pair with Holding, noting that White/Tomiyasu is the 1-2 at right-back and saying goodbye to Cedric?