6 major talking points ahead of Moscow trip
In view of several crazy results in Europe this season, Arsenal will have to be extra careful in Moscow to protect the 4-1 lead against CSKA
It's not over till it's over
Remember this, please remember this. Did you see what happened last night in Rome? How many Barca fans had anticipated this, how many Roma fans had? On paper, it's all straightforward, but an away goal still gives CSKA a slight hope of progression and until Arsenal kills the tie off, bravado must not get in the way. The tomorrow's host have a tactical genius in Viktor Gancharenko, their head coach who is capable of building a strong team with as few resources as possible, so it's too early to write his team off yet.
The Frenchman was a positive presence a week ago and he also scored twice. Still, so much time after his transfer, Arsene Wenger doesn't fancy his fellow countryman as a starter. The question is what will Wenger's reasoning be in Moscow? Without Mkhitaryan, it's hard to see why Wenger would disregard Laca for this game, but it's far from being a clear-cut case given a complicated relatinship between the two. And you, would you start Alexandre?
Aleksandr Golovin, Part II
The 21-year-old central midfielder is the Russia's feeble hope that things won't go straight out of hand at the home World Cup as he is presumably the country's finest talent. Golovin impressed in the first leg with his midfield chores as he made a few good tackles and was trying to carry the ball forward.
But what else is important is he doesn't seem to be too positionally disciplined. In a chaotic CSKA midfield, he was one of the men that constantly lost their players. Aaron Ramsey, in particular, enjoyed that as he often left Golovin & Co behind. Fans will rave about a free-kick goal, but some things go unnoticed and at 21, Arsene Wenger, perhaps, would expect more from a candidate to his team.
Win it for Mkhitaryan
The Armenian is the current Europa League holder in our squad as he won it with United last season. Mkhi was arguably United's finest player in that campaign - just ask your United mates - but a flashy Paul Pogba claimed the award instead. Henrikh just knows how to play in this competition and if there's a chance he can still be back this term, the farther Arsenal advance, the bigger Mkhi's chance to feature. Arsenal are yet to gauge the extent of how much of an influence the No 77 has on the squad, but he slotted in so naturally that you inevitably want to see him play more.
We've been on the German's back for some time, but rightly so, he just doesn't deliver in the last games. A fluid Ahmed Musa will likely be racing Mustafi again, but if Southampton proved something, it's that you don't have to be a quick winger to beat the German. Shane Long scored his goal so effortlessly that you expect any kind of danger, even from a nominal defensive midfielder Pontus Wernbloom that CSKA deploy as a striker. Selecting Shkodran or not will be a headache for Wenger. Would you keep him for this game?
Elneny for Xhaka?
Arsenal have left the Swiss at home with the flu and someone will have to step in for Arsene's nearly irreplaceable midfielder. The Egyptian looks a natural, rational choice, especially after his star cameo against Southampton. Again, that's a question of priorities, just like in Laca's case, only Arsenal have a void to fill in this regard rather than choose between several fit players. In previous games, Mohamed was a late sub, will he be one now? How would you replace Granit?