BATE v Arsenal preview: Arsene Wenger to field strong side
Last Updated: 28/09/17 4:40pm
Arsenal will look to continue their winning start to the Europa League campaign with a trip to Belarus to face BATE Borisov on Thursday.
Wenger says he will pick an experienced team for Thursday's clash, with the Gunners travelling to Belarus without a host of big names.
Wenger insists that, while he expects to field a youthful bench, "only one or two" youngsters will start the match.
Wenger said on Wednesday night: "I said on Monday that I would play an experienced team with a young bench, and that's what I'll do."
Arsenal beat Cologne 3-1 in their group opener at the Emirates a fortnight ago, while Belarussian side BATE are hoping for their first win in the Europa League on Thursday.
BATE drew with Crvena Zvezda in their opening match of the campaign, but despite being league champions for the past 11 years consecutively, are expected to be outclassed against Wenger's side.
Arsenal are understood to have travelled to Belarus without Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Granit Xhaka, Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal.
Injury has also deprived them of Alex Iwobi, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Calum Chambers and Danny Welbeck, meaning Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson are expected to start.
This will be the first competitive meeting between these sides, while it will also be Arsenal's first match against a Belarusian side.
BATE Borisov's only previous meetings against an English side were in the 2009-10 Europa League group stage - they lost at home to Everton before winning the reverse fixture in England.
BATE have lost just one of their last 12 home games in all European competition (vs Barcelona in October 2015) and are unbeaten in their last seven (W3 D4).
Arsenal have scored in each of their last 11 away games in European competition, but have only managed to keep two clean sheets in that run (W6 D1 L4).
This will be Arsenal's first away game in this competition since their 1999-00 UEFA Cup semi-final second leg - a 2-1 victory at Lens.
Well, Arsenal are going to have a strong team because I imagine Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere are going to get a good run out again.
I think a decent bit of momentum is building with a few good results racked up thanks to some solid defensive performances.
This is where the healthy competition really starts to shine through. Players don't mind battling for their places when the team is winning and the attitude should be positive.
Arsene Wenger has good options to rotate and I'd be looking at them to win by a couple of goals here, with a few different names getting themselves on the scoresheet.
Charlie predicts: 1-3 and Walcott to score first (35/1 with Sky Bet)