Tag Archives: BATE Borisov

Match Report: Arsenal 3 – 0 BATE Borisov

Arsenal (2) 3 FC BATE Borisov (0) 0
UEFA Europa League, Round of 32, Second Leg
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Thursday, 21st February 2019. Kick-off time: 5.55pm

(4-2-3-1) Čech; Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Özil, Iwobi; Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Sokratis, Ramsey, Elneny, Torreira, Leno, Suárez, Kolašinac, Nketiah.
Scorers: Volkov (o.g.), Mustafi, Sokratis
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain)
Attendance: circa 40,000

Despite the ridiculously early kick-off (courtesy of the intransigence of UEFA) there appeared to be more people in the stadium than was previously thought there would be under the circumstances, which is something akin to a miracle. However, intent is a strange driver; within four minutes of the start, we were one-up courtesy of  a messy own goal by Zakhar Volkov via a cross by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The match settled down and in one heart-stopping moment it looked like BATE Borisov were going to equalise when a shot from Stanislav Dragun beat Petr Čech, only for Stephan Lichtsteiner to clear the ball away from the line. Slowly and surely, not only did Arsenal keep their shape, but also created the better chances with Alex Iwobi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrik Mkhitaryan coming close to scoring at various points throughout the first half. Arsenal’s quickness of pace and thought certainly paid off, when six minutes before half-time, the much maligned Shkodran Mustafi scored our second goal with a superb header provided by a Granit Xhaka corner. Although we were now in the ascendancy, we did look vulnerable at times, particularly in the defensive areas. Despite one or two midfield issues, we kept the pressure up on the visitors, and it certainly paid off, as we went into the break as deserved leaders on the night.

Club captain Laurent Koscielny was having a troubled game generally, so Mr. Emery substituted him for Sokratis just ten minutes into the new half, and you could see the change in the defence almost immediately. Arsenal seemed more immediate at first, somehow aware of their movement and shape, something that Mesut Özil contributed to excellently, it has to be said in his first full match in this calendar year. Minutes later, our new arrival on the pitch, Sokratis, duly scored our third goal on the hour with a well-taken header. Mattéo Guendouzi was substituted for Lucas Torreira after 64 minutes in order to bring fresh legs to a seemingly weary midfield that was starting to look bereft of ideas. When Henrik Mkhitaryan was replaced by Denis Suárez with just twelve minutes left, it seemed as if Arsenal were just simply running down the clock, and to be fair, with the score as it was, who could realistically blame them out there, on this chilly Islington evening. Aside from an unsavoury incident featuring a petulant Granit Xhaka in injury time in which he was fortunate not to have been booked (or worse), that was it, really. Arsenal are now into the draw of the last sixteen of the Europa League with this 3-1 aggregate win that has calmed a lot of North London nerves tonight.

In summary, this win may just have helped us turn a very large psychological corner indeed; a much improved performance from a week ago in this very competition – obviously the work Mr. Emery has undertaken on the training ground has borne successful fruit indeed. A 3-0 win in anyone’s book at this level against any opposition is an emphatic victory, and one that we can certainly take heart in. Mr. Emery’s record in this competition is second-to-none, and bearing this in mind, his experience will be vital in our progression within the Europa League. It was good to see Mesut Özil return, and along with it the playmaker that we need (when he’s on form that is). No tragedies, nor histronics, his match here tonight was a most satisfying one overall; whether he will keep his place against some of the Premiership heavyweights that lie in wait for us over the next few weeks is open to conjecture, but surely he has done enough tonight to remain somewhere in contention within Mr. Emery’s grand and elaborate master plan. Unfortunately we still lack cohesion at the back and in many ways a greater overall vision on the pitch, but the true test of this team will be the results of the matches that are coming up on the horizon in the final weeks of the season. Southampton are our next opponents here at The Emirates on Sunday afternoon, so we will see if tonight’s lessons will be both learned and remembered by the starting XI then. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.


Arsenal launch dual attack on Champions League

Arsenal are in the running for to finish Top 4.

A week ago Gary Linekar said that Arsenal “do not have the squad to compete for the top 4” ignoring the fact that we were certainly in a 3 horse race to finish in a Champions League spot. As it stands we are 5th, 1 point behind Manchester United in 4th.

The Premier League has 6 competitive teams fighting for 4 places. 6 in to 4 does not go. In the 9 seasons since the turn of the decade, none of the so-called “big 6” have finished top 4 in every season:

The Premier League is the hardest league in the world to finish top 4. No team, not even big spending Manchester City, are guaranteed it – where as in Spain, Italy and Germany you can pretty much guarantee that Barcelona, Juventus, Real Madrid & Bayern Munich will always make it.

This makes it a little bit harder to budget as a Premier League team.

Where as those sides in Spain, Italy and Germany know they will make the Champions League, so can offer 5-year deals knowing that they will have the income to cover it; Premier League sides have to be a bit more careful.

Not being in the Champions League cost Arsenal around £40million in 2017/18. With it not being an easy path to get back in, Arsenal need to ensure that they are budgeting not to qualify for the Champions League.

Any side that runs their budget and wage bill to qualify for the Champions League would be in financial danger if they failed to qualify. The £40million loss would force them to sell players to balance the books.

Alternatively, like Arsenal, you could keep a good cash balance so that you can supplement income from your savings if you do fail to qualify for a couple of years. In real life terms it is like keeping 6 months worth of mortgage payments in a savings account so that you do not risk losing your home if you lose your job.

Despite when Linekar said, Arsenal are competing for the top 4, but finishing there is not a guarantee.

It is this competition for top 4 that led me to blog about Points v Places.

Perhaps an easier route into the Champions League is winning the Europa League.

Tonight Arsenal play BATE Borisov – the Belorussian champions.

The two sides faced each other in the group stages of the Europa League last season. Arsenal scored 10 goals across both games. BATE finishing bottom of the group with just 1 win.

BATE have performed better in this years Europa League with 3 wins from 6 games – and losing just 3-1 and 1-0 against Chelsea.

Arsenal should comfortably get through to the Round of 16; and further progression should not be a problem.

The big names in the Europa League are; Napoli (2nd in Seria A), Inter Milan (3rd) and Lazio (7th). Sevilla (4th in La Liga), Real Betis (7th), Valencia (8th) and Villarrea (19th). You also have Bayern Leverkuson and Chelsea who are both 6th in their respective leagues.

The only sides that would really concern me are Napoli, Chelsea and Sevilla.

Winning the Europa League is a realistic target.

With Arsenal being out of both domestic competitions, we easily have the resources to rotate and keep players fresh for both competitions.

Despite what some have said, Arsenal have two good routes into the Champions League.


10 reasons why Arsenal will beat BATE Borisov + Starting XI

  1. Even though Arsenal have little to play for, much of the starting XI are playing for their futures
  2. Except for Theo Walcott, who is playing for a move to Everton
  3. BATE Borisov have so far won just 1 of their 5 Europa League games THIS CAMPAIGN
  4. Arsenal beat BATE Borisov in 4-2 in Belarus, without getting out for 2nd gear
  5. BATE Borisov’s have yet to win an away game this season in The Europa League. Their last away game in the competition finished in a 5-2 defeat at Koln
  6. In fact, in 20 European group stage games, BATE Borisov have won just 3 away games
  7. The bookmakers have Arsenal 2/5 favourites to win
  8. Alexander Hleb is the greatest BATE Borisov player of all time. Alexander Hleb
  9. The Belarusian league finished on November 26th. BATE Borisov won. Their players would have spent the last week and a half on the Krynitsa
  10. BATE stands for Borisov Automobile and Tractor Electronics. We are literally playing a team of farmers

Predicted Arsenal starting XI:


Chambers Debuchy Holding

Nelson Willock Elneny Maitland-Niles

Wilshere Iwobi