Arsenal: Oleksandr Zinchenko still sidelined for PSV clash

Image for Arsenal: Oleksandr Zinchenko still sidelined for PSV clash

Arsenal are expected to be without the influential Oleksandr Zinchenko once again as they prepare for Thursday’s Europa League clash with PSV Eindhoven. 

The Lowdown: Qualification secured

The Gunners have emphatically exceeded expectations this year, sitting atop the Premier League table despite a lacklustre draw at Southampton at the weekend.

Progress from their Europa League group has already been secured, with four wins from four, but manager Mikel Arteta will want result and performance to go in tandem after a dip in intensity over the past few weeks. 

Making the trip to the Philips Stadium, home to the Dutch outfit, the north Londoners know a point will earn them the groups top spot, offering a more favourable route to the trophy, on paper of course. 

The Latest: Still sidelined 

One player that won’t be able to influence the result on the pitch is summer signing Zinchenko, who initially picked up a calf injury in September whilst on international duty with Ukraine and has only started twice since. 

Despite edging closer to a comeback, the midweek fixture against PSV comes too soon for the technician, with The Standard reporting the 25-year-old is yet to return to full training.

Arsenal, who have only lost to Manchester United in the Premier League this term, will be confident in doing enough to withstand the Boeren’s fiery attack but they will get scorched if they are not careful, and the security and fluidity that Zinchenko instils will be missed. 

The Verdict: He will be missed

Zinchenko, signed in a £32m deal from reigning champions Manchester City this summer, has made just the six appearances for the north London outfit thus far but has impressed whenever he has featured. 

He has recorded an 89% passing accuracy in the Premier League and made 1.8 tackles per game, as per SofaScore, whilst FBref ranks him in the top 3% for progressive passes per 90 and the top 4% for passes completed, illustrating a technical prowess that aptly suits Arsenal’s Spaniard manager’s philosophy as he evidently helps out the side both offensively and defensively, making him an important figure on the pitch.

PSV have been ruthless in front of goal this season, scoring 37 times in just 11 Eredivisie matches, although they did blank at the Emirates Stadium last week, and Arsenal’s long-term transfer target Cody Gakpo will be eager to leave his imprint against tonight’s opposition as he seeks further acclaim on the major stage.

During a press conference this summer, Arteta hailed the Ukrainian ace as “a perfectionist” and praised his “winning mentality”, and although confident in attaining the desired result in Europe, as such his presence will be sorely missed in what is another big setback to the Spaniard and his side.

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