Arsenal v BATE Borisov preview: Gunners seek to end goalless run in Europa League
Last Updated: 07/12/17 7:57am
Arsenal will be hoping to rediscover their scoring form in the Europa League as they round off their group campaign against BATE Borisov on Thursday.
The Gunners are already guaranteed top spot in Group H, but have failed to score in their last two outings in the competition. They have never gone three European games without finding the net.
Arsenal are unbeaten at home in their last seven European group stage games (W5 D2), racking up 18 goals and conceding just three, and will be confident after they beat BATE Borisov 4-2 when the sides last met in September.
Asked how winning the group would affect his team selection, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: "Not too much, because I have many players available who need competition.
"Next week we go into a week with three games and so some players need competition, some experienced players. We'll play quite an experienced team tomorrow."
BATE Borisov currently sit bottom of the group but are just one point behind Red Star Belgrade and Cologne - both on five points - and can qualify for the knockout phase if they win and the fixture between the other two sides ends in a draw.
Wenger is likely to recall a host of fringe players for the game, with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud expected to come in.
It remains to be seen who the manager deploys in defence as, with Shkodran Mustafi struggling with a thigh injury suffered in the defeat by Manchester United, he may rest another centre-back ahead of Sunday's trip to Southampton.
This will be just the second meeting between these two clubs after their matchday two fixture earlier in the campaign. Arsenal went on to win 4-2 against their Belarussian opponents.
If the Gunners beat BATE, they will record 13 points after six Europa League group stage games, only Tottenham in 2013/14 will have ever picked up more points for an English side (18).
Arsenal are already guaranteed to win their group, being only the second English club to finish top of the group in their debut Europa League campaign (after Man City in 2010/11). No English club has ever recorded more than 11 points in their debut EL season.
BATE Borisov have won just two of their last 24 European away games including qualifiers (D7 L15), although both of those victories have come in their last five outings.
The Belarussians have kept just two clean sheets in their last 26 European away trips (inc. qualifiers), conceding five goals last time out.
BATE Borisov's Aleksey Rios has provided three assists in the Europa League this season; only Raphael Holzhauser (4) and Sergio Canales (5) have more.