Gunners look to overturn shock defeat against BATE


Arsenal welcome BATE Borisov to the Emirates on Thursday in their Round of 32 second-leg seeking to overturn their embarrassing defeat suffered at the hands of the Belarusian champions last week.

The Gunners fell 1-0 away from home thanks to a Stanislav Dragun strike on the stroke of half-time for the hosts.

Arsenal’s result at the Borisov Arena was BATE’s first home win in European knock out fixtures in a competition that could be viewed as the Gunners best chance of Champios League qualification, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United side now flying up the league table.

Unai Emery is confident that the second-leg in front of their north London fans will breed a different result, although he was aware that his team must keep a level head following Alexandre Lacazette’s red card in Belarus.

“I didn’t see the action but we need to control the frustration. It’s bad news, this red card. Next week we won’t play with [Lacazette]. But it gives chances for another player.”

“Our big opportunity is next week at home. Today is not the result we wanted. We deserved more but they worked for this. Next week is going to be different with our supporters.

“We can win or lose but we play the second match and I trust in our work and preparations to make a different result at Emirates Stadium.”

Arsenal fans will certainly hope that the club can avoid what would be classed as one of the most embarrassing European defeats in the club’s history.

BATE do possess a former Arsenal player in Alexander Hleb, while midfielder Igor Stasevich has the most assists in the competition with seven, including the one for Dragun’s goal in the first-leg.

Mesut Özil was one of a number of players left at home for the first-leg as the German’s illness issue continues to frustrate fans of the north London club. The World Cup winner is expected to return for the visit of BATE with the departing Aaron Ramsey also likely to feature.

Sokratis continue to recover from an ankle injury which is expected to keep him out for the rest of the Gunners Europa League campaign. Danny Welbeck provided some positive news as he returned to Arsenal’s training base this week, but he remains a long-term absentee for Emery.

The home team should take confidence from their result the last time BATE visited the Emirates. Arsene Wenger’s side beat the Belasurian side 6-0 in December 2017, although Mohammed Elneny is the only surviving squad member from the players that scored that day.

That group stage win, alongside a separate victory over BATE at the Borisov Arena, contributed to Arsenal causing out the Europa League groups, eventually crashing out in the semi-finals to eventual winners Atletico Madrid.

The Premier League side will be desperate for a run deep into the competition once again as the master of the Europa League Unai Emery looks to win the competition for the fourth time as a manager, after winning the competition three times with Sevilla.

Arsenal should have more than enough to get past a side who have lost three of their four visits to England, only managing victory at Goodison Park against Everton in 2009, with victory by two goals confirming Arsenal’s place in the last 16 of the Europa League.


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