The Gunners secured Europa League qualification thanks to last season’s FA Cup triumph, despite finishing eighth in the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta’s squad crashed out at the first knockout stage of the European tournament last time out but are among the favourites to go all the way this time, though this could be a tricky opening test for them.
Rapid Wien, better known as Rapid Vienna have been in excellent form in the Austrian Bundesliga, finishing second in the league, and are one of only three unbeaten teams in the country's top flight.
The Vienna-based outfit has a potent front line and are certain to cause Arsenal trouble at Allianz Stadion.
Rapid Vienna - The Green and whites have a long injury list to account for. They will have to make do without the likes of Tamas Szanto, Philipp Schobesberger, Christopher Dibon, and Dalibor Velimirovic in this game. The Austrian side will have to be at its best to stand a chance against the visitors.
Injured: Tamas Szanto, Philipp Schobesberger, Christopher Dibon, Dalibor Velimirovic
Not Available: None
Arsenal - The red’s boss is likely to rotate the squad for Arsenal this week with Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, and Joe Willock set to feature for The Gunners. Arsenal also have a depleted squad and cannot afford to lose more players to injury ahead with a hectic playing schedule oncoming.
Runar Alex Runarsson has been forced to watch on from the bench since joining from Dijon last month, while Thomas Partey was a second-half substitute against Man City on Saturday. Arsenal fans will certainly be hoping both players will make their full debut on Thursday.
Injured: Gabriel Martinelli
Doubtful: Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi
Not Available: Mesut Ozil, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, William Saliba
Let’s take a look at how both teams are expected to line up on Thursday evening for the first round of fixtures in their years Europa League competition.
Rapid Vienna possible starting lineup:
Strebinger; Stojkovic, Hofmann, Barac; Arase, Grahovac, Ljubicic, Ullmann; Murg, Kara, Fountas.
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Runarsson; Luiz, Gabriel, Kolasinac; Cedric, Elneny, Partey, Maitland-Niles; Willock, Nketiah, Nelson.
The first game in Group B is set to be a very competitive fixture, with both teams winning four of their last six matches in all competitions.
Rapid Vienna form (all competitions): WLDWWW
Arsenal form (all competitions): WWLWWL
How to watch...
Thursday evening’s match will be televised on BT Sport 2, with coverage starting from 5:15pm.
Live stream: BT Sport subscribers will be able to watch the match online via the video player and the BT Sport app.
Rapid Vienna v Arsenal is scheduled for a 5.55pm BST kick-off on Thursday, October 22. The game will be played behind closed doors at Allianz Stadion in Vienna.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two sides. Many fans get confused between Rapid Wein and Austria Wein (Austria Vienna).
It was the latter that Arsenal faced on two occasions in the past, with both official fixtures coming in 1991/92 European cup. The two sides picked up one victory apiece, with Arsenal winning 6-1 at home before a 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.
This will be Rapid Vienna’s first meeting with any English side since their 3-2 Europa League qualifying victory over Aston Villa in 2011.
In the manager’s words...
Arteta, speaking to Arsenal.com, on where the Europa League ranks in his priorities...
“We are very excited to be playing back in Europe again after a difficult season where we had to earn our right to play here through winning the FA Cup. It's a big bonus for us. We want to make the best out of it and every competition that we are involved in. Our aim is to try to win it.”
Arteta on the importance of qualifying for the Europa League…
“We know that this club has to aim for every competition and we have to be involved in European competition, so let’s start tomorrow. It will be tough. You haven’t asked too many questions about the game and I am worried, because I have seen from Rapid, they look a strong and dangerous side.
“We had one or two issues as you know against City with a few players missing out but the rest are okay. We have Musti [Shkodran Mustafi] back after a long injury. He's done really well and he looks fit to play, so we still have a big squad. We have 21 players here and we will make the decision who starts.“