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Preview: Arsenal vs. Dundalk - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League fixture between Arsenal and Dundalk, including team news and predicted lineups.

Arsenal welcome Dundalk to the Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening looking to retain their 100% record in Group B.

The Gunners started their 2020-21 Europa League campaign with a hard-fought triumph against Rapid Vienna, while their Irish opponents lost to Molde by a 2-1 scoreline.


Match preview

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on September 19, 2020© Reuters

Despite the progress made under Mikel Arteta during the second half of last season, Arsenal are yet to find their best form during the early weeks of this campaign.

Just two victories have been recorded from their last half-a-dozen contests, both by 2-1 scorelines against Sheffield United and Rapid Vienna respectively.

Arteta will argue that the Gunners could have prevailed against Leicester City at the weekend had they not had a goal controversially ruled out by VAR, but the lack of response from the North London outfit will concern the Spaniard.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's form has also been criticised of late with the Gabon international scoring just once in his last six appearances.

Like he did last week, Arteta may use this competition to give the versatile attacker an opportunity to get back on track, potentially from the substitutes' bench with Manchester United to come on Sunday.

After being required to come from behind in Vienna, Arteta will be hoping for a more routine evening against the minnows of the group.

Dundalk looked on course for an eye-catching win over Molde last week before the Norwegian side netted twice during a 10-minute spell in the second half.

Having also suffered defeat at the hands of Waterford on Sunday, it leaves Filippo Giovagnoli with a major job on his hands to lift his squad ahead of the trip to the 2019 runners-up.

Goals have proven to be issue in recent weeks with just five coming in as many games, but Giovagnoli will be focused on avoiding a heavy defeat in England's capital.

Having come through the Tottenham Hotspur academy setup, Nathan Oduwa will hope to have recovered from a knock in order to feature in this game.

Arsenal Europa League form: W
Arsenal form (all competitions): LDWLWL

Dundalk Europa League form: WDWL
Dundalk form (all competitions): DWDWLL


Team News

Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson in Ligue 1 action against Paris Saint-Germain on February 29, 2020© Reuters

Having had to remain patient for his Arsenal debut, goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson could be provided with an opportunity on Thursday night.

With David Luiz having suffered an injury at the weekend, Shkodran Mustafi should return for his first start of the season.

Cedric Soares, Mohamed Elneny, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock are all in contention to make rare outings from the opening whistle.

As for Dundalk, Gary Rogers is expected to return between the sticks to replace former Wolverhampton Wanderers youngster Aaron McCarey.

Dane Massey is nursing a hip injury, while Oduwa may make the substitutes' bench if he can shake off a hamstring problem.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Runarsson; Soares, Mustafi, Gabriel, Kolasinac; Elneny, Ceballos; Nelson, Willock, Pepe; Nketiah

Dundalk possible starting lineup:
Rogers; Gannon, Cleary, Boyle, Dummigan; Mountney, Murray, Shields, Sloggett, Duffy; Hoban


SM words green background

We say: Arsenal 4-0 Dundalk

Dundalk will only be encouraged if, as expected, Arteta makes sweeping alterations to his first XI. However, this remains a stiff test for the minnows, and we would be surprised if the Gunners do not ease to victory with minimal fuss.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting that at least one team will not score (BTTS - no) in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.BTTS No:data

ID:419931:cQx

Who will win Thursday's Europa League clash between Arsenal and Dundalk?

Arsenal
Draw
Dundalk
Arsenal
100%
Draw
0.0%
Dundalk
0.0%
1
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Molde's Ola Brynhildsen in action with Dundalk's John Mountney and Andy Boyle in the Europa League on October 22, 2020
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Dundalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli regrets not acting earlier during defeat to Molde
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Tottenham HotspurSpurs106312191221
2Liverpool106312217521
3Chelsea1054122101219
4Leicester CityLeicester96031812618
5Southampton105231916317
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves105231111017
7Everton105141917216
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd95131616016
9Aston Villa85031911815
10Manchester CityMan City94321511415
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham94231510514
12Leeds UnitedLeeds104241517-214
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle104241215-314
14Arsenal104151012-213
15Crystal Palace104151215-313
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton102441416-210
17West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom10136718-116
18Burnley9126417-135
19Fulham9117918-94
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd10019416-121

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