Arsenal make their return to the Europa League when they host Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt at the Emirates on Thursday night. It’s the Gunners’ second game of their continental campaign, having picked up a win against FC Zurich, while their clash with PSV Eindhoven was postponed for a few weeks time.
The away side – who have played one game more at this stage – sit top of the group, winning one and drawing one of their two matches so far. Mikel Arteta’s side can leapfrog them to first with a victory before the return fixture the following week.
However, the Spaniard has warned that it won’t be an easy task, saying before the game: “We’ve done that homework [on the opposition]. We have made the players aware of the team we’re facing tomorrow, their history and what they’ve done in the last few years. We’ve got Martin [Odegaard] in the squad as well, who knows them really well, and he’s done the homework in the dressing room to make sure they know it’s going to be a tough game.”
The question will remain over exactly what side Arteta will put out in front of the Emirates crowd, with the temptation to rotate during such a busy period of the season balanced with the need to be competitive in the match. It could be similar to the one that faced FC Zurich, with some fringe squad members and youngsters getting minutes.
One of which may be Takehiro Tomiyasu, who has lost his role at right-back to Ben White. The defender admitted that he wasn’t too happy with his current situation during the international break, saying: “What is required in this league is quite high, and I’m not satisfied. When you look at the players selected as starters in the Premier League games, you will understand what is required to be there. I will work hard in order to get my position back.”
Amid questions over his role, the Arsenal Twitter account has hinted at a possible start for the Japan international, posting a picture of him with the caption: “Ready for tomorrow, Tomi?”
It remains to be seen if he will be handed a start in the game, but it seems likely at this stage that he could be involved in some capacity.