21st of February 2019 Author: Johnny Karp
Arsenal are looking to rescue their UEFA Europa League campaign in Thursday's match against BATE Borisov at the Emirates Stadium in the second leg of their last-32 tie. The first leg was surprisingly won by BATE last week, Stanislav Dragun scored in the first half and Arsenal were unable to reply even though they had 71% ball possession and 14 shots. That was the first ever home victory for BATE against an English team. The two sides have also met in the group stage of this competition in 2017 and at that time the Gunners managed to grab a 4-2 victory in Borisov and a comfortable 4-0 victory in London.
Arsenal are in a period of inconsistency, they have not won two consecutive matches since the beginning of January and have conceded at least a goal in each of their last five matches in all competitions. Last week's defeat in Borisov was one of the poorest results of the season for Arsenal and they need to bounce back not only to qualify but also to regain some confidence for the tough battles that lie ahead in the Premier League. Alexandre Lacazette was sent off in the first leg and is suspended for Thursday's match, while Rob Holding, Danny Welbeck and Hector Bellerin are still injured.
BATE Borisov recorded one of their most memorable results in last week's match, but it's not the first time they produce an upset in an European competition. They have reached this stage of the UEFA Europa League twice before but never managed to get through to the last sixteen. This season they finished second in a group with Chelsea, PAOK and MOL Vidi, winning two of their three away matches. The first leg was their first competitive match since December, as the Belarussian League has already finished its season. BATE won the league title, their thirteenth in a row.
Arsenal: Cech - Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolasinac - Xhaka, Guendouzi - Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Iwobi - Aubameyang
BATE: Scherbitski - Rios, Volkov, Filipenko, Filipovic - Baga, Dragun, Hleb - Milic, Skavysh, Stasevich
My prediction: Arsenal to win 3-1, it will be a very tricky match for the Gunners but they should be able to squeeze through to the next round.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Arsenal win - 1.14
Draw - 9.00
BATE win - 23.00
14th of March 2019
Luckily for the Gunners this game started with a sloppy own goal in about 4th minute after which the victory was never in doubt I think.
It's probably been a quite pressured atmosphere around the team I could imagine after the first game and despite the manager has a credit in his first season, a potential elimination from Bate would of raise a lot of questions about Emery and the trust which the board have in him.
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