Martinelli, Pepe and Torreira Start: Arsenal’s Predicted Lineup Against Vitoria de Guimaraes

Arsenal head to Portugal for an early kick-off against Vitoria de Guimaraes on Wednesday as the Gunners look to consolidate top spot in Europa League Group F.

Vitoria play their games at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques, which is within 25 minutes drive of rivals Braga who are also competing in the Europa League this season.

Braga host Besiktas at the Braga Municipal Stadium on Thursday at 8pm GMT.

To prevent both sets of fans ascending on the area on the same day, Vitoria’s home game with Arsenal has been brought forward.

The early kick off time is to accomodate Champions League broadcasters with Bayern and Juventus in action against Olympiacos and Lokomotiv Moscow, respectively, from 5.55pm GMT.

Unai Emery’s side have won all three group-stage games so far this season, but needed two late Nicolas Pepe free-kicks to avoid a shock upset vs Vitoria SC at the Emirates on matchday three.

That 3-2 victory sees the Gunners sitting top of the group by three points, with a six-point gap between themselves and third-placed Standard Liege.

Another win would all but guarantee their place in the knockout stages, but Vitoria’s lively display in north London will serve as a warning that Emery’s side cannot take anything for granted.

Granit Xhaka has not travelled with the sqaud and will miss the second game in succession after his bizarre moment against Crystal Palace and Emery has said the midfielder still needs some time off the squad. Mesut Ozil misses out on the squad once again and would not feature in the game.

Arsenal predicted lineup: Martinez; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac; Torreira, Willock; Saka, Pepe, Martinelli, Lacazette

Prediction: Vitoria 1-2 Arsenal

The Gunners’ close shave in the reverse fixture is still fresh in the memory, and Vitoria will look to hit the visitors early.

Arsenal should still see out a win in the second half with greater fitness, but it could be another tight affair.

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