Fresh off battering rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the North London Derby, Arsenal look to continue their winning ways this Thursday as Norwegian side FK Bodø/Glimt come to London for their Europa League group stage match with the Gunners.
Premier League leaders Arsenal (which I will never get tired of saying) are in the middle of a brilliant purple patch. Questions about their mettle were put to bed when they put on a masterful display against Spurs following the international break to cement their spot atop the PL table. With a Sunday tie with Liverpool on deck, there is little time to rest on their laurels. But first, Mikel Arteta and co have a date with Norwegian side FK Bodø/Glimt to tend to.
Look, I am not about to pretend that I have any meaningful knowledge about the Eliteserien side, their players, or their history. What I do know, though, is that the club, second in the Norwegian Premier League, has garnered a bit of a recent reputation of being a tough draw in European competition. They beat AS Roma in the group stage and then Celtic and AZ Alkmaar in the knockout stages of last season’s Europa Conference League before losing in the quarterfinals to Roma.
Regardless, there is no reason Arsenal should need to rely on the majority of their starters - if any - for this tie. This is by no means a slight on FK Bodø/Glimt - it’s a simple truth. With a brutal October fixture list, Arteta is going to have to juggle his roster very delicately if he hopes to have the squad both healthy and in a favorable league position heading into the World Cup break in November.
This match is a perfect chance for Arteta to get his second choice side some meaningful run out. There is no reason that any of the first team starters should have to be counted on against FK Bodø/Glimt. For line-up and final score predictions, please check out Nathan’s preview!
It would be really nice to see the fans come out in full voice for this match. The supporters’ energy has been tremendous this season, and by all accounts, this is the best energy at the Emirates in many, many years. They have had no issues getting amped up for the league matches, and the team deserve to see that same energy midweek.
On a similar, non-performative note, the advantage of hosting this match at the Emirates on Thursday with a massive league game against Liverpool only three days later is tremendous. Travel, even if only a few hours to Norway, certainly complicates Arteta’s preparation for not only this match, but the weekend tilt as well. Will it matter all that much in the grand scheme? Maybe, maybe not. But any advantage is worth taking.
Arsenal should win this tie. With how Arsenal are playing, that shouldn’t be an unrealistic expectation. If Arsenal want to continue being viewed as an elite team again, matches like this need to be taken care of with a business-like sense of purpose - get in, get the result, get out healthy. Save the fireworks for the weekend.
WHAT: Arsenal vs FK Bodø/Glimt
WHEN: Thursday, October 6th 3:00pm EST/12:00pm PST/8:00pm BST
WHERE: The Emirates stadium, London
WHERE TO WATCH: Streaming on the Paramount+ & TUDN.