Tag Archives: BATE Borisov

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



BATE victory, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere

BATE Borisov result

Like the wins against Cologne and Doncaster, not much can be read into them.

Another run out for Jack Wilshere (more latter) and Reiss Nelson looked good (let’s not overhype – Jermaine Jenas compared him to Neymar).

The important things is we win. And our Europa League journey is set to continue.

Olivier Giroud

He has never been everyone’s cup of tea, but this weekend Olivier Giroud scored his 100th Arsenal goal.

He joined the club in 2012, having been Ligue 1 top scorer as Montpellier lifted the French title.

A big, tall strong man, he certainly was not the nippy Thierry Henry, skilful Emmanuel Adebayor, or deadly Robin van Persie that fans had been used to.

But what  Giroud did have are a very particular set of skills. Skills he had acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for defences. 

It was a set of skills that many fans did not appreciate. And still do not appreciate. But his stats speak for themselves. In his 6th year at the club, he has hit 100 goals. Not bad for a player who has never been guaranteed a first team spot. A man who most fans call deadwood. A lamppost, even. A player who fans continually deride.

That 100 goals has come in 237 games. So how does he stack up against other Arsenal greats?

Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere had another good game following on from his performance against Doncaster. But fans calling for him to start against Brighton are premature.

Wilshere is a brilliant player. Our best central midfielder when fit. But he has had a horrendous time with injuries, and needs to be protected.

2 games in 4 days will be a recipe for disaster. It makes him an injury waiting to happen.

Let me put it another way, he plays against Brighton, gets injured, what will you all be saying.

“Why has Wenger played him twice in 4 days. He is being over played again.”

With an international break coming up, Wilshere will get some more R&R. After the break we have Watford. Wilshere should be on the bench.

After Watford, we face 3 weeks of midweek and weekend football. It is the midweek games which Wilshere should play.

Belgrade, Norwich, Belgrade. Play him in those games. Let him continue his rehabilitation.

If you are calling for him to play on Sunday, check your tweets from days past. Have you moaned at home being over played? If yes, you are doing exactly the opposite. Demanding he be overplayed.


Hope everyone has got back safely