Arsenal returned to form following a two-game blip to beat Nottingham Forest 5-0 on Sunday and with order restored domestically, the Gunners turn their attention to more continental pursuits this evening. Arsenal are in command in Europa League Group A, but anything other than a victory over FC Zurich could open the door for PSV to snatch top spot at the death on matchday six.
As per the norm, we’ve assembled a stats pack for this evening’s fixture at The Emirates Stadium below which is packed with everything you need to know about shots, shots on target, fouls, xG, corners and cards from the teams’ domestic campaigns. You know the drill – use our data and my Stats Pack Guide to compile stronger bet builders later on.
Mohamed Elneny recovers from a long term injury while both Jesus and Nketiah start. Emile Smith-Rowe is still sidelined, though Arsenal were boosted by the return to full training of Oleksandr Zinchenko during the week.
Bukayo Saka has shaken off a knock and should be in the squad, however, Granit Xhaka will sit this one out having picked up a suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards.
Blerim Dzemaili, Miguel Reichmuth, Ilan Sauter, Mirlind Kyreziu and Donis Avdijaj are all listed as absent for FC Zurich today.
Midfielder Blerim Dzemaili and defender Mirlind Kyreziu both started when FC Zurich lost 2-1 to Arsenal in Switzerland back in September.
Arsenal butchered Nottingham Forest 5-0 on Sunday and subsequently returned to the summit of the Premier League and the Gunners’ underlying stats for the campaign in England have been worthy of potential title-challengers.
Arsenal have been averaging just 1.4 goals in the Europa League compared to 2.50 per 90 in the UEL, however, they have been mustering more attempts in Europe (16.60 p/90) than at home so far (16.00 p/90).
The Gunners have also been collecting more cards per game in the Europa League (2.2) than in the EPL (1.58), however, they didn’t pick up a single caution when they played Zurich in September.
FC Zurich forced a useful 1-0 win at Sion in the Swiss Super League on Sunday, however, that was their first win of the season in their homeland and they remain bottom of the pile there.
Unsurprisingly then, Zurich’s stats in Switzerland make for uninspiring reading and they’ve carried their lack of oomph in the final third into the Europa League this term, where they have been averaging just 1.0 goal and 13.6 shots per game.
FCZ’s 2-1 triumph over Bodo/Glimt on matchday five was their first win in Group A. They notched 24 attempts against the Norwegians but still needed a 93rd-minute winner to prevail.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
All eyes will be on Reiss Nelson this evening following the 22-year-old’s two-goal salvo off the bench against Forest on Sunday. Nelson has only started once in the Europa League this term, though expect him to improve on his 1.0 shot per 90 minutes haul in the tournament if he features this evening.
Eddie Nketiah’s Premier League figures (4.74 p/90) look high until you consider that his twelve appearances have all been off the bench. The 23-year-old has averaged 0.7 attempts per appearance in the division, though that climbs to a much-healthier 3.6 per runout in the UEL.
Nketiah (three) and Gabriel Martinelli (five) had eight attempts between them when Arsenal played Zurich in September.
Jonathan Okita (5.00 shots p/90), Aiyegun Tosin (3.02) and Antonio Marchesano (2.61) have all been reliable performers in the shots per 90 stakes in the Swiss Super League this season and that trio have also been Zurich’s metric leaders in the Europa League.
Belgian Okita has been averaging 3.0 shots per game in the competition, while Nigerian Tosin and Italian midfielder Marchesano have been clocking 2.6 and 2.0 attempts per fixture respectively.
Player Goals and Assists
Two of Arsenal’s three most-potent attackers, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, don’t start this evening, so it makes more sense to turn the spotlight on players like Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson this evening.
Jesus didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet at the weekend but grabbed two assists, while Nketiah is the Gunners’ leading scorer in the Europa League (two). The 23-year-old scored against Zurich in September.
Reiss Nelson is also worth pricing as an option following his two-goal exploits at the weekend. The 22-year-old is certain to be brimming with self-belief today.
FC Zurich have been short on reliable goal-getters in the Super League this season and Jonathan Okita’s modest tally of three goals in nine appearances makes him the club’s leading marksman in the division.
In the Europa League, seven different players, including Okita, have chipped in with a goal each. Mirlind Kryeziu scored Zurich’s goal when they lost to Arsenal in September, though the centre-half is injured and won’t feature in the return fixture this evening.
With a number of Arsenal’s most-carded players from the Premier League likely to be handed watching briefs from the bench this evening, we have to go a little off script to find booking candidates in their ranks this evening.
It could be worth considering Albert Lokonga. Lokonga ranks fifth at the club for fouls committed per game in the competition.
Interestingly, Eddie Nketiah (1.4) has been averaging more fouls per appearance in the UEL than any of his teammates so far and the 23-year-old could be good value as an outsider option.
Centre-half Fidan Aliti (fouled 1.7 times per game) has been Zurich’s most-fouled player in the Europa League this season and he should be pressurised by Nketiah this evening.
In midfield, Cheick Conde (fouled 1.56 times p/90) and Antonio Marchesano (1.48) absorb their fair share of hits in the Super League and their skirmishes with Odegaard and Lokonga in the middle of the pitch could be of interest.
Match-Ups to watch
Mohamed Elneny vs Cheick Conde
Albert Lokonga vs Tosin Aiyegun
Eddie Nketiah vs Fidan Aliti
FC Zurich Cards
FC Zurich’s defensive workload is almost certain to be high in North London this evening and the Swiss side’s potential to accumulate cards should rise accordingly.
Nikola Boranijasevic (five bookings) has been a card-collecting machine at right wing-back in the Super League this term, while holding midfielder Cheick Conde (four cards) and centre-back Lindrit Kameri (three cards) are also worth tracking. That trio has amassed four cautions between them in the UEL this term.
Gabriel Jesus’s explosive acceleration and tight close control make him a nightmare for defenders and the Brazilian has been drawing 2.78 fouls p/90 in the Premier League this season. Jesus could be on the receiving end of a thump or two from the hard-hitting Boranijasevic this evening.
Red-hot Reiss Nelson’s trickery could tempt Kamberi into a mistimed challenge at The Emirates Stadium, while Portuguese schemer Fabio Vieira – who has been Arsenal’s fourth-most fouled player in the UEL this season – should be shadowed and shackled by Cheick Conde later today.
Match-Ups to watch
Nikola Boranijasevic vs Gabriel Jesus
Lindrit Kameri vs Reiss Nelson
Cheick Conde vs Albert Lokonga
My Stats Pack Picks
Analysing the stats, there’s a few selections that stood out for me that I’ll just leave here. This is the sort of bet builder that the pack can inspire.
If you back it below, it’ll come in at 10/1 on Betfair but just remember to keep stakes sensible.
Arsenal vs Zurich
Cheick Conde makes 2.47 fouls per 90.
He has received 4 cards in 11 appearances.
His counterpart Albert Sambi Lokonga is fouled 2.27 times per 90.
Eddie Nketiah drops into a false 9 and is fouled 3.53 times per 90.
Referee E. Lambrechts averages 4.43 cards per game.
Reiss Nelson scored twice and assisted once on his first Premier League runout.
Marquinhos who played as the right winger against Zurich last time notched a goal and assist.
Arsenal average 5.58 Corners in the Premier League.
That increases to 7.17 at home.
Zurich average 5.07 corners conceded in Switzerland.
Arsenal took 8 corners in Zurich last time out.