Arsenal make the long trip to Serbia to take on Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday night. The Gunners suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat to Watford in the Premier League on Saturday, and Arsene Wenger will want a response from his squad for the midweek clash. The Gunners are placed sixth in the English top-flight, nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City. Meanwhile, Belgrade triumphed 4-0 over minnows Macva Sabac in the Serbian SuperLiga, and they are comfortable at the top of the summit.
Players to watch for:
Richmond Boakye – Red Star Belgrade: The Ghana international has been a huge hit for Red Star Belgrade in a short space of time. The 24-year-old has notched 28 goals in just 37 outings for the Serbian champions, and his prowess is apparently attracting interest (Ghana Soccernet) from Chelsea. The former Genoa graduate scored the winner in the 1-0 triumph over Cologne, and he will surely be the centre of attention against a fragile-looking Gunners backline.
Theo Walcott – Arsenal: A regular benchwarmer in the Premier League, Walcott has impressed in the Cup and European competitions this term with three goals in as many outings. The England international has fallen down the pecking order since the shift to the 3-4-3 formation and he is still far off from being a league regular. Walcott has the tendency to succeed in periods of particular games, and the attacker will have another opportunity to excel with the limited opportunities at hand. Walcott notched a quick first-half brace in the 4-2 triumph over BATE Borisov last month.
Arsenal are relatively short in the defensive department following a muscle injury to Laurent Koscielny. In the Frenchman’s absence, the Gunners are likely to go with Rob Holding, and this does not present much confidence at the back. Arsene Wenger’s side can still be tipped for a victory, although a clean sheet remains a question.
Red Star Belgrade 1-3 Arsenal
Image – Getty