Arsenal have drawn last season’s semi-finalists, Eintracht Frankfurt who ran Chelsea close, in the Europa League groups draw today.
Vitoria SC and Standard Liege make up the other teams in Group F with Arsenal being spared unduly long distance trips, unlike Man U.
The German team have lost the dangerous Sebastien Haller to West Ham and Luka Jovic to Real Madrid for around £90m. But bought goalkeeper, Kevin Trapp from PSG, Bas Dost from Sporting and centre back Martin Hinteregger from Ausburg. On Transfermarkt values they are nominally £50m down.
Meanwhile, BT Sport along with Opta, Squawka and Google are combining data analytics on every Premiership game this season.
Their prediction for Sunday: Arsenal 2 Spurs 2.
Similarly, the Daily Telegraph reckons it could be 2-1.
Perhaps more interesting than speculation is the formation Unai Energy chooses. Some pundits, like RvP doesn’t like a ‘no style’ Arsenal – changing formation from game to game. But it is clear, unlike Wenger with his predominantly one style, that the Spaniard sets up primarily to beat the opposition, and changes personnel and formations accordingly.
The most likely looks like being 4-3-3 changing to a 4-4-2 with Pepe dropping into midfield out of possession. The team will probably sit deeper, with Xhaka and Guendouzi blocking central midfield, Ceballos high pressing further forward and the system allowing longer balls to the speed merchants up front.
Whether the back four includes Nacho Monreal Arsenal’s most reliable defender over the last few years, and one of the three captains, remains to be seen. He has been offered a two-year deal by Real Sociedad with an option for a further 12 months.
Arsenal’s longest serving player, bought for £8.5m six years ago, has been told he is welcome to stay and leave on a free transfer at the end of the season. Arsenal are looking to recoup £3m. If he departs, he will leave with good grace.
Emery confirmed that Mesut Ozil is not departing in this transfer window. He said: “This week he is training well, he is progressing physically and he is training and doing normal work with us. He will be available on Sunday. It is good news.
‘We are not speaking about the possibility for Mesut to leave. We cannot sign another player but we have some players who have a possibility to leave in the four days before the transfer window closes.”
But Mohamed Elneny is off to Besiktas on a year-long loan. Nothing on Mustafi, of note.
Meanwhile Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Konstantinos Mavrapanos are all set to return to first team training in September. Rob Holding and Emile Smith Rowe have already taken part in games – as part of their rehabilitation.
Emery is also talking up the effect of David Luiz on the squad: “I like and want his mentality. I want his ambition. I want to transmit the ambition from him and me to other players. After, we can be competitive,”
For those interested in Arsenal’s finances – a short Stock Exchange note indicates that KSE Holdings has complied with its post-offer statements of intent.