Arsenal need a win at home against FC Zurich to promise a direct route to the last-16 of the Europa League, after losing away to PSV Eindhoven in the preceding fixture.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta promised in his pre-match press conference to field a “really competitive team” against Thursday’s Swiss opposition, but with a pivotal league clash against London rivals Chelsea looming on Sunday, rotation may be a factor worth considering for the Spaniard.
With just two defeats all season, and a laudable Premier League title charge in the works, the Gunners need to maintain fitness and keep the squad firing from head to toe, paving the way for a return to the starting xi for promising starlet Marquinhos.
Arteta’s first signing of the summer, the 19-year-old arrived from Brazilian giants Sao Paulo; oozing talent and wizardry and has been slowly integrating into life in London, leaving his mark on several occasions despite his inexperience.
On the Chalkboard
The talented teenager has largely been a peripheral figure thus far this term, only playing one minute of Premier League action despite his inclusion in nine matchday squads.
He has, however, made an impression in Europe, starring in the reverse fixture – his debut for the club – against the Gunners’ forthcoming opponents with a Man of the Match display, both scoring and creating a goal.
Since his maiden performance, the £9m-rated teen has struggled to further his progress in the Europa League, making little impact against Bodo/Glimt in both outings and playing a sidelined role in the matches against PSV.
Regardless, he was never expected to have started his north London tenure with a central role, but a start against Zurich could be a valuable addition to his present development.
SofaScore state the South American ace has recorded Arsenal’s top rating in continental fixtures this term, and another impressive display would only richen the soil surrounding his impressive start to life in Europe.
With three big chances created across just the three matches, plus impressively abiding by defensive duties with an average of 1.0 interceptions and 1.3 tackles to aid his side’s efforts.
The offensive winger has also recorded 1.3 shots per match in Europe this campaign, as per WhoScored, which isn’t the most abundant of shot-taking statistics but still illustrates a desire to seek out goals for himself, whilst primarily focusing on his playmaking abilities.
Former Arsenal star Kevin Campbell exclusively told Footy Insider that the prodigious Brazilian talent was a “real weapon” with an innate ability to produce spectacular defence-splitting balls.
Marquinhos is also “tearing it up” in the Premier League 2, producing emphatic results with three goals and an assist in four outings, relishing the opportunity to present his skill set to his senior manager.
Arteta should, therefore, take this sterling opportunity to give the player more minutes for the senior squad, and a chance to impress once again, against a team that he decimated last time out, making an emphatic entrance to the Emirates faithful.