In Focus: Five Gunners ready to fire in the Europa League
After their Champions League qualification dreams were dashed last term, Arsenal begin their Europa League campaign at FC Zurich tonight.
Winning the tournament will earn the Gunners a spot at Europe's top table next season, yet this campaign's congested fixture list means boss Mikel Arteta is expected to make wholesale changes.
As the North Londoners focus on securing a top-four finish in the Premier League, we turn the focus on five players who will want to use the Europa League to their advantage.
Fabio Vieira has quickly become the forgotten new signing at Arsenal owing to pre-season injury problems.
He finally made his first Gunners appearance at Old Trafford, coming off the bench for the last 16 minutes after being an unused substitute in the three previous games.
The ex-Porto midfielder cost Arsenal £34.2million and is a player Arteta rates highly.
Games like tonight are a perfect opportunity to force his way into the Spanish coach's Premier League XI.
"With Fabio his versatility is something that caught our eye and we believe he will give us a lot of options," Arteta said in August.
"It might take him now time to get there, depending on who he’s playing with and how the game goes — it could take him no time to adapt. What I can tell you is that he’s doing everything he can to make that process really short."
Japanese right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu was one of the Premier League’s surprise packages with his displays for Arsenal last term.
But the ex-Bologna ace has endured a frustrating time in 2022 and been restricted to substitute appearances so far this season.
Ben White is not a natural right-back and despite playing well there this term, Arteta continues to get minutes into Tomiyasu's legs and strong performances in the Europa League may see him recalled.
"We are really happy that we are loading some minutes into him and he’s responding really well," Arteta said following last week's win against Aston Villa.
"He’s been training now for weeks without any issues which is the first period he’s been able to do that in the last six or seven months, and you can see the way he played today when he came on — I think he was really good."
There is every chance that White will be one of two or three regular starters named in the XI in Zurich.
But White should get a chance to start at his preferred centre-back position for the first time this term.
The emergence of William Saliba has seen him paired with Gabriel, rather than the England international.
White will know that he needs minutes in the middle of defence if he is to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.
And after just missing out on selection for Euro 2020, he will be desperate to put his best foot forward in Switzerland.
Unsurprisingly, Eddie Nketiah has found himself back on the bench at the Emirates so far in 2022-23.
After usurping Alexandre Lacazette as Arteta’s first-choice striker as the Gunners failed to qualify for the Champions League, Gabriel Jesus has now taken that spot.
But Nketiah proved he can cut it in the top flight during that spell, netting five goals in eight starts.
Now he must use the Europa League to keep reminding Arteta, Arsenal fans and any potential future suitors of his talent.
Though he signed a new five-year deal in the summer, that may not stop the Englishman deciding he wants more minutes elsewhere in upcoming windows.
Teenage Brazilian winger Marquinhos has impressed in his first couple of months since moving from Sao Paulo.
"Very happy with him," Arteta said recently. "He’s adapted really well. He’s a really likeable figure even if his language is not great yet.
"We’re going to keep him here for another few months and make sure he establishes himself and then see what’s best for his development."
He may well make his Gunners debut either from the start or off the bench at Zurich and fans are excited to see what he can do.
Having sent Nicolas Pepe on loan to Nice without signing a replacement, Arsenal are short of wingers meaning there will be opportunities for Marquinhos to make his mark.