The Europa League dealt Arsenal a fairly simple group this season and it’s provided a welcome distraction from the Premier League with three wins from three so far.
A win against Molde tonight will ensure qualification is completed after four games, so that would give Mikel Arteta the luxury of experimenting with formations and some of the younger players in the final two games.
Arteta has tended to go with a rotated side in the competition so far this season, and that’s continued tonight as some of the fringe players get another chance to impress:
? Team news!
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 26, 2020
It’s a solid enough team with more than enough quality to win the game, but the inclusion of Nicolas Pepe is the big stand out here.
He’s been impressive in Europe so far this year and he did enough to earn himself a start against Leeds at the weekend, although that quickly went pear-shaped as his red card drastically hurt Arsenal’s chances of winning.
He’ll be suspended in the Premier League so it makes sense to give him another chance tonight, although the reaction from the fans is an interesting one.
There is a general feeling of support and they want him to do well, but it’s also acknowledged that he’s running out of chances to justify his club-record transfer fee:
Few complaints with the Arsenal side. Pepe simply has to take his chance if he wants to get back in the PL team after suspension. Hope to see Smith Rowe get some minutes off the bench. #AFC
— Matt Dawson (@mattddawson) November 26, 2020
Pepe has to perform today https://t.co/iKTv8y9s2e
— Jamie Hudson (@Jamie_Hudson_) November 26, 2020
I can see why Pepe is playing given that he can’t play in the league but I think it sets a bad example
— rsnick3 (@rsnick33) November 26, 2020
Glad to see Pepe back in, sensible to use him as he’s suspended for the league but it’s a chance to make up for his error ? https://t.co/81IE93xYYR
— ???? ??????? × ?? (@xDaveAFC) November 26, 2020
Hopefully pepe can kick on from here but would've preferred to see smith rowe start behind nketiah/balogun in a 4 2 3 1 rather than have laca and nketiah up front in a 442 https://t.co/krau3cM5MT
— Sakanelli14 (@Sakanelli14) November 26, 2020
This is a make or break game for Pépé, I'm expecting a hat-trick
— ????? (@ftblfonsy) November 26, 2020