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Arsenal under Arsene Wenger are having a roller coaster ride this season and their Premier League mediocrity has seen them get ruled out of the running for a top-4 finish. After a poor run that saw them get knocked out of cup competitions too, they are now on a six-game winning streak in all competitions prior to their Thursday night trip to Russia to face CSKA Moscow in the Europa League quarterfinal return leg tie.
A 4-1 victory at Emirates has almost ensured their progress through to the semi-finals and has enhanced their chances of making a backdoor entry in the prestigious Champions League competition by winning the Europa League title.
The tie at VEB Arena, thus, holds little significance and considering their current form, I back the North Londoners to make it to the next round without much trouble.
David Ospina is set to miss the tie due to an injury. Veteran Petr Cech should start in goal.
Hector Bellerin (RB)
The Spaniard has been a subject of criticism due to his lack of defensive composure and concentration. He, however, has been performing steadily in recent weeks and would be hoping to end the season on a high.
The German international has been a regular in the Gunners backline and has been putting some towering displays in the heart of the Arsenal defence.
The youngster started the game against Southampton this weekend due to Laurent Koscielny’s injury and although the Frenchman is fit for the midweek tie, Chambers is likely to retain his place alongside Mustafi in the Gunners’ backline.
The Spaniard is one of the very few Arsenal stars this season, who has performed steadily. He delivers a balanced display with attacking composure along with defensive discipline.
The Swiss international is yet to live up to his expectations but he has been decent in recent weeks and should start here for Arsenal.
The Welshman’s continuity has been interrupted due to injuries but he is now fit and ready to see out the tie after scoring twice in the first leg encounter.
Wilshere has utilised his opportunities with distinction and has done enough to earn back his place in the team.
The German sensation is in great form and will be instrumental for the Gunners if they are to challenge for the Europa League title and make a sensational return to the Champions League next season.
He was the unlikely hero for the Gunners against Southampton and should start on the left flank against CSKA Moscow, as Mkhitaryan is out injured.
The Frenchman has been in blistering form since returning from his injury and scored two goals against their Thursday night counterparts in the first leg. He will lead the line once more.