Arsenal vs BATE preview: Unai Emery wary of extra-time
Last Updated: 21/02/19 10:02am
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has warned his players they may be in for a long night when they attempt to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit in their Europa League round-of-32 clash with BATE Borisov on Thursday (kick-off 5.55pm).
BATE stunned Arsenal last week by securing a 1-0 lead to defend at the Emirates Stadium, with the Belarusian champions having not played a competitive game since mid-December.
Emery's side will remain heavy favourites to advance given the gap in quality between the two teams - but he suggested he was prepared for a long evening on Thursday.
"For us, tomorrow [Thursday] is a very important match," said the Spaniard.
"After the first result, we must manage the 90 minutes and also know if we need more minutes after the 90 minutes it can be in our mind with the preparation to do that.
"It is also very important to play in our stadium with our supporters, and we need their support for this match and I hope there is a big atmosphere for us.
"Together, with their support, I know our players can play and give their all."
Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette is suspended after being sent off in the first leg, but top-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in line to make his first start in Europe's second-tier competition since October.
Meanwhile, versatile full-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles was absent from training on Wednesday with illness, however, midfielder Aaron Ramsey (knee) and centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos (ankle) may both feature.
Mesut Ozil missed last week's first leg as he was still feeling the effects of a sickness bug, with Emery opting to leave Arsenal's highest-paid player at home. But the 30-year-old trained on Wednesday morning ahead of the return leg.
- Arsenal will host BATE Borisov in European competition for a second time, having beaten them 6-0 in last season's group stage at the Emirates.
- Including qualifiers, Belarusian sides have lost three of their four previous visits to English clubs in the UEFA Europa League; the other was won by BATE Borisov away at Everton in December 2009.
- Arsenal haven't failed to score in both legs of a two-legged tie in European competition since the European Supercup final in February 1995, when they followed up a goalless draw at home to Milan with a 0-2 defeat away from home.
- BATE Borisov have won each of their last three Europa League games; they had only won two of their previous 16 in the competition beforehand (D5 L9, excluding qualifiers).
- Igor Stasevich, who assisted BATE's winning goal in the first leg against Arsenal, has at least three more assists (seven) than any other player in the 2018-19 UEFA Europa League.
BATE were pretty rotten at home and Arsenal should have scored three or four, so I think Arsenal will beat them quite easily at home. I can't see anything too complicated here.
I don't think the Europa League is the priority for Arsenal this season, that still has to be finishing in the top four in the Premier League. Unai Emery has a reputation in the Europa League but I think they will get through this round, see where the draw takes them and then evaluate the situation. I think at the moment the Europa League is behind top four in terms of Arsenal's priorities.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 5-0 (12/1 with Sky Bet)