Arsenal will be looking to continue their fine Europa League record at the Emirates Stadium as they take on Belgian side Standard Liège.
The Gunners overcame, arguably, what will be their toughest task of the group stage, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 in Germany, a game that was much tighter than the scoreline suggests.
Arsenal's 'success' in this competition last season, where they reached the final, had a lot to do with their home form. First-leg deficits against BATE and Rennes were comfortably overturned at the Emirates, whilst home performances against Napoli and Valencia meant neither side stood a chance in the return fixture.
Their last defeat at home in this competition came against Graham Potter's Östersund in February 2018, so Standard Liège know any positive result for them will be an upset.
Les Rouges impressed against Vitoria SC in their first group game and they've also started the domestic season brightly, sitting just a point off the top.
Check out 90min's preview of the game below.
Where to Watch
|When is Kick Off?||Thursday 3 October|
|What Time is Kick Off||20:00 (BST)|
|Where is it Played?||Emirates Stadium|
|TV Channel/ Live Stream||BT Sport 2|
Unai Emery may include Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding on Thursday, as all three look to build up fitness after not featuring at Old Trafford on Monday night.
The Spaniard may also give another start to summer signing Nicolas Pepe. The Ivorian looks shot of confidence in the final third and a home Europa League fixture would give the ex-Lille man a good opportunity to impress.
Alexandre Lacazette remains out with an ankle injury, but we could see him return later this month.
Standard's Orlando Sa and Noe Dusenne remain sidelined; Sa's ruptured Achilles tendon has ruled him out since May, whilst Dusenne has missed six games so far with a cruciate ligament rupture.
Midfielder Merveille Bokadi has also been added to the long-term injury list. The DR Congo international ruptured his ACL in his a 2-1 victory against Lommel in the Belgian Cup last Thursday.
|Arsenal||Martinez; Bellerin, Holding, Mustafi, Tierney; Xhaka, Ceballos, Willock; Pepe, Martinelli, Nelson|
|Standard||Milinkovic-Savic; Vojvoda, Bope, Laifis, Gavory; Bastien, Cimirot, M'Poku; Carcela-Gonzalez, Emond, Limbombe.|
Head to Head Record
Arsenal have won all four encounters with Standard Liège in European competition, netting 15 goals in the process.
These two sides met in the group stage of the 2009/10 Champions League, Arsenal coming out on top in both fixtures. Goals from Samir Nasri and Denilson helped the Gunners to a 2-0 win in the only meeting between these two at the Emirates.
Standard Liège have lost seven of their eight trips to England in all European competition, with the only exception being a 2-2 draw with Everton during the 2008/09 UEFA Cup.
Horrendous first half of football at Old Trafford. Shocking lack of quality all around from both sides.— EiF (@EiFSoccer) September 30, 2019
If not for the last 4 minutes of that half and McTominay’s screamer, this could’ve easily been the worst half of football so far this season.
The home side are coming into this one off the back of their 1-1 draw against Manchester United, a game which severely lacked quality and showed Arsenal are far from a polished team.
However, Premier League wins against Newcastle, Burnley and Aston Villa has helped Unai Emery's side into the top four after seven games, and they haven't lost since their 3-1 defeat at Anfield on matchday three.
The visitors have started their season well, winning six of their nine games thus far. But, they failed to move into top spot after being held at home to Charleroi on Sunday.
Both these sides picked up wins on matchday one in this competition; Arsenal's win in Frankfurt will give them confidence that they can secure top spot in the group, while Standard's win against Vitoria should give them early hope of making it to the knockout stage.
Here's how both teams got on in their last five games.
|Man United 1-1 Arsenal (30/09)||Standard 1-1 Charleroi (29/09)|
|Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest (24/09)||Standard 2-1 Lommel (26/09)|
|Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa (22/09)||Standard 3-0 Eupen (22/09)|
|Frankfurt 0-3 Arsenal (19/09)||Standard 2-0 Vitoria (19/09)|
|Watford 2-2 Arsenal (15/09)||Oostende 1-4 Standard (14/09)|
Arsenal's youngsters have been impressive so far this season and they should get the job done here.
Despite Emery likely to heavily rotate, the Gunners' potential lineup still has bags of quality, especially for the Europa League. We could see three first-choice defenders play and the likes of Dani Ceballos, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and even Nicolas Pepe are in contention after substitute appearances at Old Trafford, or in Pepe's case, a poor performance.
However, the Belgian outfit shouldn't be underestimated - they have little to lose and plenty to gain.
On average, Standard score over two a game and concede less than one. Although they haven't faced a side like Arsenal, expect them to come out all-guns-blazing on Thursday.
Look out for Maxime Lestienne from the left-wing - he'll be the most likely to hurt the Gunners in this one.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Standard Liège