Football Predictions

Standard Liege vs Arsenal preview, predictions & confirmed team news as Gunners return to back three

By Chris Smith

Standard-Liege-Arsenal-preview-prediction-team news - Europa League

Published: 16:42, 12 December 2019

Arsenal travel to Belgium to face Standard Liege in their final Europa League group stage clash on Thursday.

Having finally won his first game in charge as interim manager against West Ham on Monday, Freddie Ljungberg now has the chance to lift the gloom around the Emirates further, knowing Standard must win by a minimum of five goals to have a chance of overtaking the Gunners in Group F.

Standard have had a mixed group stage so far, pulling off an impressive victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on matchday three as well as taking seven points from their five games. The Belgian side have lost just one of their last seven outings across all competitions.

Can Ljungberg build on his Monday night success, or will Standard bring further misery to a struggling Arsenal side? Read on for our preview, prediction, team news, TV coverage information and more.

When is Standard Liege vs Arsenal and where can I watch live?

Competition: Europa League

Venue: Stade Maurice Dufrasne

Date: Thursday, 12 December 2019

Kick-off: 5:55 PM (UK time)

TV coverage (UK): BT Sport 2

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Last five meetings: Standard Liege vs Arsenal

03 Oct 2019Arsenal 4-0 Standard Liege (Europa League)

24 Nov 2009Arsenal 2-0 Standard Liege (Champions League)

16 Sep 2009Standard Liege 2-3 Arsenal (Champions League)

03 Nov 1993Standard Liege 0-7 Arsenal (European Cup Winners Cup)

20 Oct 1993Arsenal 3-0 Standard Liege (European Cup Winners Cup)

Aggregate Score: Standard Liege (LLLLL) 2-19 Arsenal (WWWWW)

Ones to watch

Standard Liege: Paul-Jose M’Poku

Gabriel Martinelli

Having come through the Tottenham Hotspur academy as a youngster, Paul-Jose M’Poku will be desperate to make amends for the 4-0 thrashing he and his Standard teammates suffered against Arsenal last time out.

The DR Congo international has four goals across League and Europa League matches this season and will look to use his pace to disrupt an Arsenal defence currently short on confidence and clean sheets.

Key stat: M’Poku has completed 80% of his dribbles in the Europa League this season — the highest rate of any Standard player to attempt more than one.

Arsenal: Reiss Nelson

While the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka have impressed so far this season, arguably Arsenal’s most exciting prospect heading into this season, Reiss Nelson, has struggled.

The England U-21 international has pace and trickery in abundance but has so far been restricted to just seven appearances and four starts across all competitions during 2019/20.

With qualification assured barring a total disaster, Ljungberg has rotated his starting XI to keep players fresh for the visit of Manchester City at the weekend — this could be a big opportunity for Nelson.

Key stat: Nelson has provided an assist in his only Europa League appearance so far this season.

Team news 

Standard Liege

The hosts have made just two changes from the team which drew with Mouscron, with Collins Fai and Gojko Cimirot replacing Mergim Vojvoda and Aleksandar Boljevic.

Confirmed XI: Bodart; Fai, Vanheusden, Laifis, Gavory; Carcela, Bastien, Amallah, Cimirot, M’Poku; Emond.

Arsenal

Ljungberg has returned to a back three for the trip to Standard Liege, with both Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin out injured.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka start as the wing-backs, with David Luiz, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Sokratis in the middle.

There is also a start for Emile Smith Rowe in attack.

Confirmed XI: Martinez; Luiz, Mavropanos, Sokratis; Maitland-Niles, Willock, Guendouzi, Saka; Smith Rowe, Lacazette, Nelson.

Squawka prediction

Wedged between fixtures against West Ham and Manchester City, it’s safe to say Arsenal’s trip to Liege is their lowest priority fixture this week.

That said, it offers Ljungberg a great chance to test some of his squad members as he seeks to find a consistent winning formula at the Emirates, and they should make it back-to-back victories for the first time since October here.

Scoreline prediction: Standard Liege 1-3 Arsenal

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