“As a Gooner, I’m unsure about this one,” write Bill Hargreaves, echoing the sentiments of thousands. “Which Arsenal will turn up? The one represented by Saka at his best (his usual mode), or the one represented by one of Willian’s less good days? I have a good feeling, believing in Mikel’s ability to rouse the troops after the lame showing against Liverpool. Whatever happens, I won’t be celebrating too hard for some time, I suspect. Hashtag iffy re-build.”

Kieran Tierney hasn’t made it, so Hector Bellerin is expected to play at left-back. But Bukayo Saka is back after missing the last three matches - none of which Arsenal won - and so are Emile Smith Rowe and Granit Xhaka. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been dropped to the bench. Captain Dispensable.

Arsenal: Leno; Soares, Holding, Gabriel, Bellerin; Smith Rowe, Xhaka, Partey; Willian, Lacazette, Saka

Hello and welcome. Fourteen months into Mikel Arteta’s reign there are still more questions than answers at Arsenal. But one thing is for sure: winning the Europa League would be an honourable achievement, because it will be hard to do. Their opponents today are pretty much everything that Arsenal are not: reliable, powerful and truly in synch with each other. Those qualities, plus a splash of flair, enabled them to oust Leicester and Rangers in previous rounds and should help them poke at Arsenal’s well known frailties. It’s anyone’s guess as to how Arsenal will cope: they unquestionably have the ability to beat the Czech champions, even heavily, but that will require them having one of their good days, where they operate as a real collective in which their individual flourishes. Do that and they could earn a nice first-leg lead and take one step towards a semi-final meeting with either Villarreal or the conquerors of Spurs, Dinamo Zagreb. But fail to do that and Arsenal will find themselves facing the prospect of a joyless campaign. The stakes are high. Will Arsenal rise to them? that’s what we’re here to find out.

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