Despite already qualifying as group winners Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as ignored the opportunity to rest players, instead keeping with the team that has ensured they will be playing European Football in the new year as they play their final group game against Bate Borisov.
Olivier Giroud, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott have all been at the heart of Arsenal’s European success this year and will all start against a Borisov team that did a win and most hope Red Star Belgrade and Cologne draw to ensure they finish in second qualifying spot. There are also places in the squad for the Gunners young trio of 18-year-old Eddie Nketiah who has come off the bench 3 times, 19 year old Ben Sheaf who played in the 1-0 win away to Belgrade and 23 year old keeper Matt Macey who kept a clean sheet against Belgrade in the return fixture last month. They have all impressed in their Europa League appearances and this week have been rewarded with contract extensions.
With Everton already out and unable to progress to the final 32 of the Europa League after suffering 4 defeats from their 5-pervious pool matches, new Manager Sam Allardyce has decided not to travel with the team to play Apollon Limassol, instead naming first team coaches Craig Shakespeare and Duncan Ferguson in charge for the trip. Instead Allardyce will be attending a “pre-arranged appointment.”
With a trip to Anfield for his first Merseyside Derby on Sunday, Everton have sent over a mixed squad, leaving first team players such as Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jordan Pickford, Sandro Ramirez and James McCarthy at home.
Should Everton fail to go one better than the 2-2 draw at Goodison park when these to teams last meet, then Everton will have the record of the worst European Campaign by any English team in either the Champions League and Europa League since the group stages were introduced.