It’s been a pretty interesting season for Arsenal so far, and it feels like that can be viewed as both a good thing and a bad thing. We all knew that it was going to be a rollercoaster ride with someone that isn’t named Arsene Wenger in charge, but to be perfectly honest, we don’t think anyone could’ve anticipated just how up and down it has been. There have been monumental highlights to go alongside some really low points, but in truth, we wouldn’t change it for the world.
The story of Arsenal’s first leg defeat against BATE Borisov has already been told over and over again. It’s the kind of loss that can threaten to derail your season, especially if your club is putting so much emphasis on a competition (such as the Europa League). Of course, there’s no guarantee that the Gunners are going to crash out of the Europa League later today, but we’re just preparing for the ‘worst case scenario’.
Arsenal suffered an embarrassing 1-0 defeat at BATE Borisov on Thursday night in the Europa League last 32. The first leg defeat in Belarus was compounded by Alexandre Lacazette’s late dismissal. Overall, it was a miserable night for the Gunners, who had headed into the game as massive favourites to win the game and the tie.
Should have been a comfortable win
It would not have been harsh to think that Arsenal should be beating a team from Belarus in a comfortable manner. BATE are a solid team, but they have very little pedigree in European football and the Gunners are until recently a team accustomed to playing in the Champions League.
Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are set to miss the first leg of the Europa League round of 32 clash with BATE Borisov, according to multiple reports.
The two attacking midfielders did not take the trip to Belarus as Ozil apparently still doesn’t feel too good following a bout of illness and Ramsey made a complaint about his knee.
The Gunners certainly boast enough quality to put in a good performance against BATE, with Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan looking likely to start the game, but new signing Denis Suarez might be in with a shout as well. The good news is that central midfielder Granit Xhaka and forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are available, having recovered in time from a groin issue and illness, respectively.
On Thursday evening, Arsenal make a trip to Belarus to face BATE Borisov in the last 32 of the Europa League. The Gunners will be confident of emerging with a victory to take into the second leg of the tie.
BATE Borisov have not played competitive football since December having won the Belarus Premier League at the end of last season. Despite their achievements in domestic football, the home sides record in the Europa League is patchy, as they have won just three of their last nine matches in Europe’s secondary competition.
Arsenal continue to battle away for a top-four spot in the Premier League and the Champions League spot for next season which comes with it. However, the Europa League offers a viable route to the Champions League for next season.
Last season the competition offered hope to the Gunners of making Europe’s elite competition. Arsene Wenger’s side fell at the semi-final stage against Atletico Madrid, who went on to lift the trophy.
They’ve just got to win this and there are no two ways about it. Cardiff have surprised a lot of people so far this season as they’re still right in the hunt for survival, and we’re anticipating them giving Arsenal a really tough game in this one. Unfortunately for Bluebirds fans that isn’t quite going to be enough, especially considering that Arsenal are much, much stronger at home than they are away from home. It’s going to be closer than a lot of fans would like, but they’ll manage to get the job done.
Manchester City (A)
As you’re probably aware by now, Arsenal have been drawn to face BATE Borisov in the round of 32 of this season’s Europa League, with the first game being played in Belarus, and the rematch scheduled for February 21, at the Emirates.
However, according to Sky Sports, there was some commotion regarding the timing of the second leg. UEFA tried to avoid two games in the same competition being played in the same City on the same evening, and as Chelsea are set to host Swedish side Malmo on that date, Arsenal’s clash with BATE was moved to Wednesday, February 20. That would, of course, mean that the game would now be overlapping with Champions League encounters, and they had therefore decided to move the kick-off time to 5PM.
Arsenal will play Belarusian side BATE Borisov in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, after the draw was made earlier today. The Gunners managed to ease through their group but will now face the tough task of mastering knockout football, with their goal being to go a few steps further than they did last season when they crashed out at the semi-final stage.
On Thursday night, Arsenal plays their final group game of their Europa League campaign as they host Belarussian side BATE Borisov at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners have already qualified for the knockout stages and won Group H. However, the visitors are bottom of the group, but could still qualify for the knockout stages if results go their way in the final round of fixtures.
Arsenal heads into this game on the back of a 3-1 home defeat by Manchester United. The Gunners also lost their last Europa League game, suffering a 1-0 defeat in Germany against Koln.