Arsenal kick off the knockout stages of the Europa League with a trip to Belarus to face familiar foe BATE Borisov. The Gunners beat the Belarusian side twice in the group stage of last season’s Europa League, scoring 10 while only conceding 2. BATE currently sit atop their domestic table, 9 points clear of second place. I don’t expect you to be familiar with any of BATE’s players except for former Gunner Alexander Hleb, still kicking at the age of 37.
Unai Emery, once again, has elected to leave Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil out of the squad for the match. Ramsey has a slight knock, so his absence is understandable. Baffling, however, is the exclusion of a fully fit (as confirmed by the club) Mesut Ozil. A fixture against a team that is going to ask little of the German defensively seems as if it would be the perfect time to give him a run out.
In other news, I cannot believe I just had to write about giving Mesut Ozil a run out. The continued marginalization of the best and highest paid player at the club is absurd.
The Gunners will also be without Sokratis, who is not expected to return to training until later this month, and Dinos Mavropanos, who was not registered for the Europa League. With no game until the second leg next week, there is no need to rest Laurent Koscielny (or anybody else for that matter), so you should expect Unai Emery to field a strong side. A multi-goal, away victory would basically seal the tie and allow for a bit of squad rotation next Thursday.
Arsenal need a convincing win. The club has not played well lately, especially on the offensive side of the ball. BATE are a side against which the Gunners should be able to score multiple goals. Hopefully that will be the tonic the lads need to get things back on track.
TEAM NEWS— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 14, 2019
Cech starts in goal
Xhaka back from injury
Lacazette leads the line#UEL
BATE Borisov XI: Scherbitsky, Rios, Volkov, Filipenko, Filipovic, Baga, Dragun, Hleb, Milic, Stasevich, Skavysh.— Arsenal FC News (@ArsenalFC_fl) February 14, 2019
Former Arsenal midfielder Alex Hleb starts. pic.twitter.com/oVBZzV6fFN
WHAT: Arsenal at BATE Borisov
WHEN: 12:55pm EST/9:55am PST/5:55pm BST
WHERE: Borisov Arena, Barysaw, Belarus
STREAMING: As with all of Arsenal’s Europa League matches this season, this will only be available on B/R Live ($).
Check out livesoccer.tv for all your international streaming needs. Please do not discuss or share illegal streams.