Big Match Breakdown: CSKA Moscow v Arsenal
Gunners hold healthy first-leg lead
After a dazzling couple of nights in the Champions League, the Europa League takes centre-stage this evening.
Arsenal are off to Russia to face CSKA Moscow, having secured a 4-1 win in the first-leg at the Emirates last week.
On paper the Gunners should be cruising through, but Roma and Juventus have proven that nothing is assured in European football.
Here’s all the key info for tonight’s game…
Head to Head
This will be only the fourth meeting between the two sides. Prior to last week’s clash in London, Arsenal and CSKA met in the group stages of the 2006-07 Champions League.
The Gunners lost 1-0 in Moscow, before a 0-0 draw in London. Things should be far more entertaining this time around.
In terms of form, Arsenal are flying after winning their last six games, scoring 18 times in the process.
CSKA have won only three of their last 10 home games, and followed their first-leg defeat with a 2-1 loss to Dynamo Moscow on Monday evening.
Arsene Wenger has made it clear that Arsenal’s priority now is the Europa League. The Frenchman made a whole host of changes for the 3-2 Premier League win over Southampton on Sunday.
So it’s likely that the Gunners will go with a similar squad to the one which started last week’s first-leg.
That means returns for Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil.
Alexandre Lacazette will start in place of the ineligible Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Danny Welbeck could start too after his two-goal haul on Sunday, especially with Henrikh Mkhitaryan injured.
Laurent Koscielny may be given another night off, however.
The first-leg was remarkably open, and both sides could have scored several more goals had they been a touch more clinical.
Arsenal will need to keep Ahmed Musa quiet. The Leicester City striker was a threat last week, and his pace can cause problems.
Keeping Moscow quiet and denying them an early goal will also be key for the Premier League outfit.
Granit Xhaka has been far more composed in recent weeks, and the Switzerland midfielder will need to retain focus once again.
But Moscow couldn’t get near the movement of Ramsey,Ozil and Lacazette in the first leg. If they don’t manage to solve that, then they’ll be in trouble again.
CSKA need to come out and score a few tonight, while one Arsenal goal would kill the tie. Both teams to score is 1/2.
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