Arsenal Starting XI Prediction, Team News vs Vitoria SC (UEL): Nelson, Xhaka

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Arsenal travels to Vitoria SC for a UEFA Europa League group stage clash that kicks off at an unusual time on an unusual day. Why are the Gunners playing at Vitoria de Guimaraes on a Wednesday? In the late afternoon? What’s up with all this?

It’s all about logistics, as Vitoria are based in the city of Guimaraes, along with Braga, who have a Europa League home clash on Thursday against Besiktas. The two stadiums are pretty close to each other, so having two UEL clashes at the same time/on the same time would cause all kinds of unnecessary headaches. And the unconventional start time is because of UEFA.

Their by-laws state that a Europa League and Champions League match cannot be held at the same time for broadcasting window concerns.

Arsenal won 3-2 in the reverse fixture a couple weeks ago, but it was tight. In other words, the Gunners will be on their guard not to take this match easy; at all.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery had left Granit Xhaka out of the squad for this one, and stripped him of his captaincy. This was kind of expected, given his fallout with Arsenal fans, but now the midfielder finds his future at the club in serious doubt. Reiss Nelson is the other other absentee for Arsenal, but his omission is due to long term injury.

Expect Emery to field a team of reserves of kids for this one.

Arsenal Starting XI Prediction: Martinez; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac; Torreira, Willock; Maitland-Niles, Ozil, Pepe; Martinelli

granit-xhaka

Arsenal FC at Vitoria SC (UEFA Europa League Group stage) FYIs

Kickoff: 3:50 BST, Nov 6, The Estádio D. Afonso Henriques

TV: Arsenal WWW Vitoria LLL

Group L Standings: Arsenal first with 9 points, Vitoria last with 0 points

Prediction: Arsenal 1, Vitoria 0

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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