MX23RW : Tuesday, December 1 10:08:53| >> :60:3432:3432:
Oct 22, 2020 at 5.55pm UK at Allianz Stadion
Rapid ViennaRapid Vienna
1-2
ArsenalArsenal
Fountas (51')
Grahovac (15'), Arase (61'), Kara (63'), Ritzmaier (70')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Luiz (70'), Aubameyang (74')
Lacazette (27'), Partey (35'), Nketiah (38'), Leno (90+2')

Preview: Rapid Vienna vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League group-stage clash between Rapid Vienna and Arsenal, including team news and predicted lineups.

Arsenal begin their latest Europa League adventure with a trip to Rapid Vienna on Thursday, aiming to improve on last season's disappointing early exit.

The Gunners crashed out at the first knockout stage last time out but are among the favourites to go all the way this time, though this could be a tricky opening test for them.


Match preview

Arsenal players celebrate Nicolas Pepe's goal against Sheffield United  on October 4, 2020© Reuters

Mikel Arteta admitted to being "hurt" by Arsenal's shock loss to Olympiacos in last season's last 32, with Youssef El Arabi scoring late in extra time to seal a dramatic victory.

This is now Arsenal's fourth attempt at trying to win the Europa League, having previously reached the semi-finals and finished runners-up in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

The Gunners will be taking the competition seriously, too, although as ever the early rounds can often be a distraction from the bigger target - a top-four finish in the league.

Arsenal have made a good start to their season, winning three and losing two of their opening five league games, albeit with two of those defeats coming in their last three games.

That includes a slender 1-0 loss to Manchester City last time out, leaving Arteta's men fifth in the table with nine points from a possible 15.

With an EFL Cup quarter-final place already in the bag, focus now switches to the continent for the first time this season.

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

As well as facing Rapid Vienna home and away, Arsenal will also take on Norwegian and Irish champions Molde and Dundalk over the next two months.

Rapid boast plenty of experience in UEFA's secondary competition, with this their eighth campaign, reaching the knockout stages on two occasions previously - 2015-16 and 2018-19.

The Green-Whites are also in the early stages of their campaign and enter this game on the back of three straight wins, most recently thrashing Wiener Neustadt 5-1 in the cup, though they did face the disappointment of losing to Gent in Champions League qualifying.

After finishing second in the Austrian Bundesliga last season, the aim for Dietmar Kuhbauer this time around will be to finish above Red Bull Salzburg at the top of the pile.

This will be Rapid's first meeting with Arsenal, although the Austrian side did beat Aston Villa 3-2 in a Europa League qualifying match nine years ago in their most recent meeting with an English side.

Arsenal's last Austrian opponents were Austria Wien in the 1991-92 European Cup, meanwhile, winning that one 6-1 at home before losing 1-0 away.

Rapid Vienna form (all competitions): WLDWWW

Arsenal form (all competitions): WWLWWL


Team News

Thomas Partey pictured in Arsenal gear on October 17, 2020© Reuters

Summer signing Thomas Partey made his debut from the bench against Man City and is in contention to make his full debut here.

There will be no Mesut Ozil or Sokratis Papastathopoulos as both players were left of Arsenal's Europa League squad.

With Sunday's home league meeting with Leicester City likely taking priority, Arteta could turn to academy graduates Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock.

Bukayo Saka, who was directly involved in more goals in the Europa League last season than any other Arsenal player, is expected to be given a breather.

As for the home side, an unnamed player has tested positive for coronavirus in the build-up to the game and will therefore miss this match.

However, he was not in close contact with any of his teammates so Kuhbauer still has pretty much a full-strength squad to choose from.

Taxiarchis Fountas has four goals in four league appearances this season and is one to watch for Rapid.

Rapid Vienna possible starting lineup:
Strebinger; Stojkovic, Hofmann, Barac; Arase, Grahovac, Ljubicic, Ullmann; Murg, Kara, Fountas

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Runarsson; Luiz, Gabriel, Kolasinac; Cedric, Elneny, Partey, Maitland-Niles; Willock, Nketiah, Nelson


SM words green background

We say: Rapid Vienna 1-2 Arsenal

Rapid Vienna have won four home games in a row in all competitions, whereas Arsenal are winless inside 90 minutes in their last three away games, losing two of those.

However, the Gunners were unbeaten in their four away matches in the Europa League last term and, even accounting for some rotation, we can see them prevailing at the Allianz Stadion.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data

ID:419053:cQx

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

Rapid Wien
Draw
Arsenal
Rapid Wien
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Arsenal
0.0%
0
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on June 28, 2020
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Arsenal season preview - predictions, fixtures, summer signings, starting XI
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