Arsenal’s pursuit of their fifth Europa League knock-out appearance on the trot continues on Thursday as PSV Eindhoven touch down in London for a top-table Group A six-pointer.
Despite being forced to play catch-up after UK national mourning initially pushed back their encounter against the Dutch giants, the Gunners head into proceedings as sovereign leaders.
Bukayo Saka’s first-half strike propelled Mikel Arteta’s high-flying crew to a 1-0 victory away to Bodo/Glimt last week, preserving their 100% three-game Europa League start.
The England international was decisive again at the weekend as his top-class finish late in the first half helped Arsenal beat Leeds United 1-0 at Elland Road and extend their lead at the Premier League summit.
Patrick Bamford’s wayward spot-kick came in handy to enable the London heavyweights to go four points clear of second-placed Manchester City, setting them up nicely for this pivotal Europa League fixture.
A victory at the Emirates Stadium, where they’ve won all six competitive matches this season, would catapult the Gunners into the Europa League knock-outs with two games to spare.
However, PSV should not be underestimated following their eye-catching three-match Group A start (W2, D1), with Ruud van Nistelrooy’s team also vying for the top spot.
Since drawing 1-1 with Bodo/Glimt on day one, the Farmers have strung together back-to-back Europa League triumphs, netting precisely five goals on each occasion.
With only two points separating the sides ahead of the kick-off, this encounter has a crucial bearing on the top-place Group A run-in, promising plenty of excitement for neutrals.
Looking at Arsenal’s bid to avenge a three-game winless European streak against PSV (D2, L1), this showdown could not have been timed any better if you ask Arteta.
Not even a power cut at Elland Road on Sunday stopped the Gunners and Arteta from wild celebrations after amassing an eye-catching 27 of the first 30 available points in the Premier League this season.
Translating their formidable domestic form to the European front is a must if Arsenal are to build on their all-time eight-game home record against Dutch opponents in UEFA-sanctioned fixtures (W3, D4, L1).
PSV’s dismal 3-0 defeat away to Eredivisie minnows Cambuur at the start of October was a wake-up call for van Nistelrooy’s men, who have since won four competitive games on the spin by an aggregate score of 17-2.
Inspired by former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain prodigy Xavi Simons, the Dutch big guns followed a 5-0 trouncing of Zurich in the previous Europa League round with an overwhelming 6-1 win over Utrecht at the weekend.
A string of jaw-dropping performances by PSV bodes well for their effort to defy their underwhelming recent European record away to English adversaries, as they’ve only won once in their 11 previous visits to the country (D4, L6).
Arsenal vs PSV Eindhoven Potential Line-ups
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Matt Turner; Ben White, Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhaes, Kieran Tierney; Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey; Bukayo Saka, Fabio Vieira, Gabriel Martinelli; Eddie Nketiah.
PSV Eindhoven (4-2-3-1): Walter Benitez; Philipp Mwene, Andre Ramalho, Armando Obispo, Philipp Max; Ibrahim Sangare, Erick Gutierrez; Xavi Simons, Joey Veerman, Cody Gakpo; Guus Til.
How to Watch?
For all die-hard Gunners supporters, you can watch Arsenal games on TV, including Thursday’s clash against PSV.
Arsenal vs PSV Eindhoven Preview
If there was a time you could’ve doubted Arsenal’s ability to perform consistently at the highest level, those days are long gone.
Arteta’s men have excelled on all fronts this season and we expect them to carry on with their stellar form by sending PSV to the Europa League play-offs.
But this won’t be another day in the office for the Gunners as we can help but back the visitors to score at least once.
Arsenal 2-1 PSV Eindhoven
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