London, Apr 7 (EFE) .- Arsenal’s entire season is already concentrating on the Europa League, their only way to be in European competition next season and in which in the quarterfinals they will face a Slavia from Prague who he is very capable of sending them home.
After eliminating Leicester City and Glasgow Rangers in this edition of the Europa League, Slavia Prague visits the British Isles for the third time for the quarterfinals of the tournament with significant losses but willing to surprise.
“We know we have quality so we will be able to make up for our losses and come out prepared for the match,” said assistant coach Zdenek Houstecký.
The Czechs landed in London on Tuesday without the central Ondrej Kudela, sanctioned, and the Ivorian coast Simon Deli, who returned with covid-19 from the national team break.
“It is a great request because ‘Kudi’ (Kudela) is a mainstay of the team and he is in great form,” said Houstecký.
Kudela received a provisional suspension from UEFA for an incident on 18 March at Glasgow’s Ibrox Stadium in the previous round of the tournament.
The Czech player and the Finn Glen Kamara then starred in an allegedly racist episode, which is now evaluated by the Control, Ethics and Discipline Committee of the governing body of European football.
The good news for the Prague squad, the solo leader of the Czech League and which has gone 37 games without conceding a loss, is that attacking midfielder Petr Sevcik is back, who already played the last league game against Brno.
Also available will be Jakub Hromada, who just made his debut for the Slovak national team.
The midfielder will have to play coverage tasks to curb Arsenal’s offensive power in the absence of the two reference centers Kudela and Deli.
The illusion of Slavia contrasts with an Arsenal that comes from making one of the worst games of the Arteta era. With no ideas and mediocre football, the London team fell at home 3-0 to Liverpool, squandering their few chances of achieving a European berth through the league.
They have to entrust everything to a Europa League where luck has smiled more on them this year, although they have always faced inferior teams and even these have created problems for them. The clearest precedent was the defeat against Olympiacos at the Emirates a few weeks ago. It is true that they already had the tie resolved in the first leg, but they ended up dominated by the Greeks and suffering to avoid getting into more trouble.
With the doubts present in the squad, Arsenal is entrusted to individual quality to save the group problem. Martin Odegaard is the ’10’ that guides the way and if he comes across a couple Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette he can create enough problems to leave the crossing very expensive already in London.
The problems come in the back, where the absences of David Luiz and Kieran Tierney due to injury, increase the chances that Arteta will rely on a five-player defense to protect against goals at home.
Arsenal: Leno; Saka, Holding, Marí, Gabriel, Bellerín; Thomas, Odegaard; Pepé, Lacazette and Aubameyang.
Slavia de Praga: Vágner; Winter, Hromada, Bah, Boril; Sevcik, Oscar, Stanciu, Provod, Olayinka; Sima. EFE
Estadio: Emirates Stadium (Londres)
Referee: Andreas Ekberg (SWE). EFE