Arsenal V BATE Borisov Preview : BATE have it all to do
Event Venue: Emirates Stadium, Kick off: 20:05. BT Sport.See Stats
Arsenal have already qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League and have gone through top of the group, but they still have to host BATE Borisov on the final day of the group stages. BATE won the Belarusian Premier League at the end of November on goal difference, but they currently sit bottom of Group H in the Europa League. However, if they beat Arsenal and the other two sides draw, they will go through as runners-up in the group and they have plenty of incentive for this game.
Arsenal have literally nothing to play for in this game; no victory is going to make their standing in the Europa League any better. Arsene Wenger is almost certain to field a team of players in need of minutes and/or youth team players, but that doesn't mean the Gunners will be significantly weaker than their opponents. The amount of talent Arsenal have in their reserves - currently the likes of Mathieu Debuchy, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Mohammed Elneny - and in their youth team - names like Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Eddie Nketiah - would all walk into virtually every team in the group. Playing at home in front of an expectant Emirates Stadium crowd is also something the fringe players have a tendency to thrive on. Seeing as BATE truly need to go on and win this game to have a chance at progressing, it's perfect for Arsenal.
Champions of Belarus!
Chances are, you won't know any of BATE Borisov's players. If you're a keen follower of the Belarus national team, you'll know that BATE's skipper is striker Vitali Rodionov. Still, BATE won the league by virtue of scoring eleven goals more than Dinamo Minsk and they've managed to score six goals in their five Europa League games. It's clear that Bate can score goals and they even managed to put two past Arsenal the first time they met. But, can they go to the Emirates, score goals and keep a much-changed Arsenal side out? BATE have only actually won two of their last six games and despite winning the league title, they're really not in great form. However, this game is all or nothing and form goes out the window.
Arsenal have more talent than BATE at a basic level and when you consider that the Belarusians absolutely have to win, it makes the game a lot easier for the Gunners on home soil. With no pressure on, Arsenal are free to play their best football here and BATE are in for a long night.
- Arsenal have already qualified top of their group
- BATE must win while Koln and Red Star draw
- Arsenal will rotate their side
- BATE won their league at the end of November
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