BATE Borisov v Arsenal: Europa League Match Preview
BATE Borisov host Arsenal in the second round of Europa League Group H fixtures tonight (6.00pm kick-off UK time).
The match will be played at BATE’s 13,126 capacity Borisov Arena.
It will be Arsenal’s first encounter with Belarusian opponents.
BATE are unbeaten in seven European home games (D3 L4).
The last visiting side to beat them in a UEFA game were Barcelona, 2-0 in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage.
BATE’s only past experience of playing an English club was in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage against Everton: they lost 2-1 at home but won 1-0 at Goodison Park.
The Zholto-Sinie (Yellow-Blues) opened their Europa League group campaign with a 0-0 draw with Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.
BATE are currently third in the Belarusian Premier League, two points behind leaders FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk.
They beat FC Slutsk 6-0 on Saturday and have won 16 of their 21 league games
Tonight will be the Gunners’ first UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League fixture away fixture since 2000.
Arsenal beat FC Koln 3-1 in the opening Group H fixture. Sead Kolašinac, Alexis Sánchez and Hector Bellerín scoring for the Gunners’ after Jhon Córdoba had opened the scoring for the German side.
The Gunners moved up to seventh position in the Premier League table, with their 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday night.
Arsenal Team News
Arsene Wenger is set to make wholesale changes to the team that West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Monday. The Arsenal starting line-up is likely to be similar to the one that took on FC Koln in the opening Group H fixture.
David Ospina, Per Mertesacker, Rob Holding, Mohamed Elneny, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud are all set to start, as they did against FC Koln. Shkodran Mustafi and Jack Wilshere are also in the party that has travelled to Belarus. Also included in the squad are a host of youngsters including Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Vlad Dragomir, Charlie Gilmour, Eddie Nketiah, Josh DaSilva, Matt Macey, Chuba Akpom and Marcus McGuane.
Belarus striker Mikhail Gordeychuk is BATE’s main attacking threat. Gordeychuk scored a hat-trick in BATE’s 6-0 win over FC Slutsk on Saturday. He has scored fourteen goals in twenty-three league appearances this season.
The Gunners will look to the experienced Per Mertesacker to marshal what is likely to be a makeshift defence and youthful side around him.
“I’ve been in this country before, I came with the French national team. They played against Belarus in June when I was on holiday. They have always technically had very good sides, and overall I remember France had a very difficult game.
We know [BATE’s strength], we watched them yesterday. They are a team with good quality, technically strong, so we will need a good performance to have a chance.
I said on Monday night after the game (with West Brom) that I would play an experienced team with a young bench, and that is what I did,” he said. We have a very tight schedule and it is an important game, and that’s why there is only one or two young players who will start the game.”
On some of the young players with the squad, Wenger added. “Gilmour is a defender or central midfielder. McGuane is a defensive midfielder, and overall he can play as a wing-back or even a centre back in training. Josh Dasilva is a left wing-back or a left-centre back. Vlad Dragomir is a Romanian boy, he was with us for a few years, he’s a No 10, Wilshere-style, left-footed, a creative player. It’s a good test for the young players. They will have to cope with that intimidating atmosphere. It will be very loud.”
Daniel Stefanski (POL)
Marcin Boniek (POL)
Dawid Igor Golis (POL)
Krzysztof Myrmus (POL)
Additional assistant referees
Bartosz Frankowski (POL)
Zbigniew Dobrynin (POL)
Arsenal to win 2-0.