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Match Preview – Frankfurt vs Arsenal

By September 18, 2019 No Comments
Match Preview - Frankfurt vs Arsenal

Follow minute-by-minute updates across the Daily Week Sports website and app; kick-off 5.55pm

Last Updated: 18/09/19 5:15pm

Joe Willock will be hopeful of a return to the Arsenal starting line-up in Germany

Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Adi Hutter insists his side cannot read too much into Arsenal’s second-half capitulation at Watford on Sunday.

The Gunners were held to a 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road after squandering a two-goal half-time lead as they conceded 31 shots during the contest.

They now travel to Germany to face Eintracht as the two sides meet in their opening Europa League Group F clash at the Commerzbank Arena.

Eintracht, who lost on penalties to Chelsea in the semi-finals of last year’s competition before the Blues went on to beat Arsenal in the final, will be keen to show they can still compete despite a summer of change.

Sebastian Haller left Eintracht Frankfurt to leave West Ham during the summer

Sebastian Haller left Eintracht Frankfurt to leave West Ham during the summer

Attacking trio Luka Jovic, Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic accounted for 56 of the 90 goals scored by the club last season but all were sold during the summer.

But Hutter believes his side can continue to build on where they left off, even if he does not expect Arsenal to be as poor as they were at the weekend.

“I saw the game against Watford,” he said. “They were lucky to have not lost after a 2-0 lead. Nevertheless, I would not tie everything to it. They try to play football from the back.

Granit Xhaka and David Luiz at full-time in the 2-2 draw with Watford

Granit Xhaka and David Luiz at full-time in the 2-2 draw with Watford

“Their philosophy is clearly recognisable and I assume that they will perform accordingly.

“On the other hand, we need a clear plan and we have both the solutions and the resources.”

Hutter also conceded that anticipation has grown following an unexpected run to the last four of the Europa League but believes everyone at the club remains grounded.

3:39 We look back at some of Arsenal’s most costly defensive errors over the last two Premier League seasons

We look back at some of Arsenal’s most costly defensive errors over the last two Premier League seasons

“Certainly the expectations have increased,” he added.

“The past season was exceptional with the semi-final and a total of 14 games. The bar is high, but we remain modest and still want to get as far as possible.

“Because of our achievements and the fact that we almost reached the final we are perceived differently.”

Team news

Eintracht are without Mijat Gacinovic, who sustained an injury in training last week, while former Swansea City player Jonathan de Guzman misses out due to a muscular problem.

Marco Russ is ruled out after the veteran defender ruptured an Achilles tendon, while Sebastian Rode and Goncalo Paciencia are both doubts.

Arsenal have no fresh injury concerns as they bid to get back to winning ways.

Arsenal have no fresh injury concerns, with Alexandre Lacazette out

Arsenal have no fresh injury concerns, with Alexandre Lacazette out

Alexandre Lacazette is among the key absentees, with the Frenchman ruled out for six weeks after picking up an ankle injury before the recent international break.

Dinos Mavropanos, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are all back in training with the first-team squad but are not yet ready to return to Unai Emery’s matchday squad.

Opta stats

This will be the first competitive meeting between Eintracht Frankfurt and Arsenal.

Eintracht’s last three meetings with English opponents have all finished level, with the German side drawing 1-1 with Chelsea in both legs of last season’s Europa League semi-final, before being eliminated on penalties.

Arsenal have lost their last four away European games against German opponents, scoring twice and conceding 13 in the process.

In Champions League and Europa League combined, Arsenal have not been eliminated at the first group stage since the 1999-00 Champions League.

Including qualifiers, Eintracht Frankfurt are unbeaten in their last 16 home games in European competition (W12 D4), since a 1-2 defeat against Palermo in the 2006-07 UEFA Cup.

2:38 Graeme Souness says Arsenal’s players weren’t taking responsibility for themselves or learning from their mistakes in their 2-2 draw with Watford

Graeme Souness says Arsenal’s players weren’t taking responsibility for themselves or learning from their mistakes in their 2-2 draw with Watford

Charlie Nicholas’ prediction

God only knows what defence Unai Emery will pick. I don’t know how often we will have to say it as Arsenal fans. They are very good going forward, as are the youngsters. The balance from midfield to front is not bad either, but it is scary how bad Arsenal are defensively.

What is the attraction to Sokratis Papastathopoulos? I would play Kieran Tierney on Thursday and see if Hector Bellerin could start too. Regarding Sunday’s game against Watford, when you see David Luiz giving instructions with 20 minutes to go, you know you are in trouble.

Konstantinos Mavropanos is still game time away from being fit. It would be the end if Shkodran Mustafi was to be brought back. We need to get Rob Holding, Bellerin and Tierney back into the side as soon as possible. I would take a hit and play these players to give them game time and let them get match fitness.

2:44 Highlights from Watford’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal in the Premier League

Highlights from Watford’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal in the Premier League

Nicolas Pepe was dreadful against Watford. How Emery took Mesut Ozil and Dani Ceballos off ahead of him was beyond me. It is starting to effect Ainsley Maitland-Niles and some of the other young players. Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock came on and could not keep the ball.

It is the manager’s responsibility. He must resolve this and come to a conclusion on how to sort this out. Tierney, Bellerin, and Holding should play – I would play them this week and take a defeat if it meant they got the game time they needed.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-2 (12/1 with Sky Bet)

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