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Vieira, Marquinhos and the other Arsenal stars set for big Europa League opportunity

09:34 BST 08/09/2022
Marquinhos Arsenal 2022-23
Mikel Arteta is expected to hand opportunities to several squad players as the Gunners get their Europa League campaign underway against FC Zurich

Arsenal kick-off their Europa League campaign on Thursday night when they take on FC Zurich in Switzerland.

It is the first of six group stage games for the Gunners, with FK Bodø/Glimt and PSV Eindhoven making up the rest of Group A.

Mikel Arteta is expected to rotate his squad heavily during the early stages of the competition as the fixtures begin to come thick and fast.

Several players who have had to bide their time during the early weeks of the season are set to be given opportunities to impress, such as summer signings Fabio Vieira, Marquinhos and Matt Turner.

Below, GOAL takes a look at some of the players who could benefit most from Arsenal’s Europa League run.

  • Marquinhos Martinelli Vieira Gabriel Jesus Arsenal

    Fabio Vieria

    Arsenal’s £30 million ($34.5m) summer signing has almost felt like a forgotten man at times this season.

    His surprise arrival from Porto generated huge excitement at the time, but injury stopped him taking any part in pre-season.

    Vieira has now recovered, but Mikel Arteta has resisted the urge to throw him straight into the hustle and bustle of the Premier League.

    He finally came on for his debut during the closing stages of the defeat at Manchester United and whilst he couldn’t do anything to change the result, Vieria did impress during his 15 minutes on the pitch.

    And that bodes well for the Europa League group stage campaign, with Vieira expected to feature heavily from the start.

    It remains unclear exactly where Arteta sees Vieira playing, with his versatility allowing him to play almost anywhere across the midfield or attack.

    But wherever he plays, the talented 23-year-old will be looking to make a big impression as he attempts to force his way into Arteta’s thinking for the upcoming Premier League fixtures.

  • Eddie Nketiah, Arsenal 2021-22

    Eddie Nketiah

    Having been convinced to sign a new contract in the summer, Nketiah has had to wait to really get an opportunity this season.

    He has featured in every Premier League game so far, but has had to make do with cameos off the bench - with summer signing Gabriel Jesus getting the nod from the start.

    Nketiah has impressed in those cameos, however, and has looked very sharp - even if he is yet to score a goal.

    So the Europa League will provide him with the regular starts that he craves to really make an impact this season.

    Nketiah showed at the end of last season what he can do when he gets regular game time and will be desperate to impress again now, having had to bide his time during the early weeks of the current campaign.

  • Emile Smith Rowe Arsenal

    Emile Smith Rowe

    Emile Smith Rowe will not feature against FC Zurich on Thursday night, with the young playmaker having pulled up whilst doing a warm down alongside the rest of the Arsenal substitutes following Sunday’s defeat at Manchester United.

    But even though he will miss out on the trip to Switzerland, Smith Rowe will certainly be eying the Europa League as an opportunity to make a real impact during the first half of the season.

    He was guaranteed starter for most of last season, but a slight dip in form combined with the impressive performances of Gabriel Martinelli, has seen his game time become more and more limited.

    So, fitness permitting, the Europa League group stage games will give Smith Rowe the chance to get some regular starts under his belt as he looks to force his way back into the Premier League starting XI.

  • Marquinhos Arsenal

    Marquinhos

    Arsenal’s summer signing from Brazil has yet to see a single minute of action for the first-team following his move from Sao Paulo.

    That looks set to change during the Europa League, however, with the right winger expected to be handed the opportunity to impress.

    Marquinhos’ performances during training convinced Mikel Arteta to keep him around the first-team this season, rather than sending him out on loan.

    And with Nicolas Pepe having been allowed to depart, the young Brazilian will be hoping to feature heavily on the right side of the attack during the group stages, with Bukayo Saka expected to be rested.

    There is still a possibility that Arsenal will decide to send Marquinhos out on loan during the January window, but some good showings in the Europa League will go a long way to ensuring Arteta opts to keep him around.

  • Rob Holding Arsenal

    Rob Holding

    Holding has had to make do with just two brief substitute appearances so far this season, coming on in the 88th and 89th minute.

    Now behind William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White in the centre-back pecking order, regular game time is going to be very difficult to come by for the 26-year-old in the Premier League.

    So the return of European competition will be a big boost for Holding, who is expected to feature heavily during the early stages of the competition.

    Arteta is a big admirer of the defender, not just for his ability on the pitch but because of the influence he has behind the scenes.

    So Arsenal’s manager will want to ensure Holding gets enough minutes to feel appreciated and the Europa League should give him the opportunity to do exactly that.

  • Matt Turner Arsenal 2022-23

    Matt Turner

    Thursday night’s game against FC Zurich will have felt like a long time coming for Matt Turner.

    The USA international goalkeeper completed a dream move in the summer when he joined Arsenal - the club he supported growing up - from MLS side New England Revolution.

    But with Aaron Ramsdale firmly established as No.1, Turner has had to wait for his debut, which is expected to come against FC Zurich on Thursday night.

    There are lots of question marks over Turner, especially after some mixed showing during pre-season, so he will want to use the Europa League to show why Arsenal were willing to let Bernd Leno go and bring him in.

  • Kieran Tierney Arsenal 2022-23

    Kieran Tierney

    It wasn’t long ago that Tierney was being tipped as a future Arsenal captain.

    But now he finds himself struggling for game time in the Premier League.

    With injury ruling him out of the crucial final weeks of last season and the majority of the summer, Arsenal brought in Oleksandr Zinchenko and the immediate impact made by the Ukrainian at left-back has seen Tierney have to make do with a place on the bench.

    He did get two starts against Fulham and Aston Villa when Zinchenko was injured, but found himself back amongst the substitutes at Manchester United on Sunday once the former Manchester City man had returned to fitness.

    So Tierney will be looking to remind everyone just how good he is when opportunities come his way in the Europa League and could well captain the side, if Martin Odegaard, Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Jesus are all rested.

  • takehiro-tomiyasu

    Takehiro Tomiyasu

    Tomiyasu finds himself in a similar situation to Tierney.

    Like the Scotland international, he missed the majority of pre-season due to injury and had to watch as Ben White started the campaign at right-back.

    White has performed well in his new role and although Tomiyasu has featured in each of Arsenal’s last five games, he has yet to make a single start.

    It’s almost certain he will start in the Europa League, however, and he will be looking to produce some solid performances to put pressure on White for the upcoming matches in the Premier League.