There’s good and bad news for Arsenal. On the down side, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, who made such a positive impact off the bench in the first leg, is not fit enough to feature at all today, and nor are Martin Odegaard and, of course, Kieran Tierney. On a brighter note, gifted young sprites Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are rearing to go, as is Nicolas Pepe, who also made a big difference as a substitute in the first leg.

Gabriel has been dropped from central defence and replaced by Pablo Mari. Granit Xhaka is being asked to play at left-back. Guess we’ll have to wait and see whether that belongs to the good or bad news category. Slavia, meanwhile, are without Ondrej Kudela, who’s in the “banned for 10 matches for racist abuse” category, the fool.

The way Slavia celebrated at the end of last week’s first leg in London suggested they thought the 1-1 away draw meant they had already completed the hardest part of this tie. Their confidence is understandable: the Czech champions have not lost at home in any competition since November 2019. But Arsenal have scored in every away match so far and must know they have the potential to beat their hosts if they play with the same intensity that they mustered in the last quarter of the first leg until, of course, conceding a slapdash late equaliser.

The question, then, is can Mikel Arteta’s infuriatingly inconsistent and sometimes incoherent team produce a sharp all-round performance when their season depends on it? Advance today and they could have a semi-final reunion with dear old Unai Emery to look forward to. Fail, and their current manager will find himself having to explain what use this entire season has been. The stakes are high. Are Arsenal up to it?

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