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June 2021

Arsenal in the Europa League draw: who we got.

We did the speculation, and now here is the result hot off the little balls (as it were).

Our group is

  • Arsenal
  • Red Star Belgrade
  • BATE Borisov
  • Cologne

We’ll have background and details later today.  But in the meantime if you want to give some insights on any of those teams please feel free.


15 comments to Arsenal in the Europa League draw: who we got.

  • Goonermikey

    BATE ranked 82 in UEFA
    FC Koln 125
    Red Star 225

    Should be able to play the under 23’s quite successfully

  • Usama Zaka

    Koln- Sort of a Podolski Derby. They are a defensive team, play with high-goal scoring striker, looking to get 1-0 or 0-0.

    BATE- Alex Hleb’s home team.

    Red Star Belgrade – “Welcome to Hellgrade” is their supporter’s (ultras) slogan. Expect hostile fans in Serbia, and flares thrown at Emirates. and Lets just say they don’t like Bosnians and Albanians.

  • Josif

    BATE Borisov (ex-club of Alex Hleb).

    1.FC Köln aka Cologne (ex-club of Lukas Podolski and our sometimes preseason friends).

    Crvena Zvezda aka Red Star Belgrade (ex-club of Vladimir Petrović Pižon).

    Zvezda have knocked out the Russian side Kuban Krasnodar. They have been European champions back in 1991 and should have won European Supercup if they had a chance to play Manchester United either at the neutral venue or the second leg on their own soil (the one-legged Supercup was played at Old Trafford because of sanctions imposed at Yugoslavian clubs but Zvezda were a class above United back then and only poor conversion rate kept Ferguson from a defeat, and I mean a big one).

    Zvezda had been in the shadows of their arch-rivals Partizan for years but their luck “suddenly” changed when their life-long fan Aleksandar Vučić became the absolute ruler in Serbia. Still, Partizan managed to win the league last season in a two-horse race.

    After the disolution of Yugoslavia, Zvezda haven’t had too much success in Europe. They did knock out Leicester in 2000-01 (1:1 in England, 3:1 in Belgrade) but lost to Bolton in UEFA League 2007-08 (0:1 at home, back in days when UEFA League Group had consisted of five teams who played just four games, against two opponents at home and with two away so Zvezda didn’t play at Reebok Stadium).

    I reckon we will have to put our strongest second string to secure the progress beyond the group stage.


    Zvezda and 1.FC Köln played one of the most heartbreaking matches in UEFA Cup 1989-90. Zvezda won the first leg 2:0 only to lose in Germany 3:0. If you ask Zvezda fans about that game, they will tell you the name of the referee with the same precision and hate like I would say: “Mike Dean!” if someone mentioned the Chelsea game in 2015-16. The first leg was one of the first games ever I’ve seen on TV with my Yugoslavian support for Zvezda (the club I grew to hate since then to the level I’d probably support Tottenham against them) and brilliant yet lazy Dejan Savićević scored brace. When the Germans won the second leg, I started crying so my father had to console me.

    Famous ex-players of Crvena Zvezda aka Red Star Belgrade:

    1.Rajko Mitić (their stadium is named after him – previously it was known as Marakana; Mitić had a concussion once during the game v Brazil and didn’t know that Brazil scored while he was off the pitch so when he returned to the pitch, he encouraged his team-mates by saying: ‘Come on, boys, 0:0 against Brazil is a great result!),

    2.Dragoslav Šekularac (he was a great goalscorer),

    3.Vladimir Petrović Pižon (he used to play for Arsenal as well; his nickname is a French word for “pidgeon” translittered to Serbian language),

    4.Robert Prosinečki (one of the greatest football artists of the nineties; if he didn’t smoke two packs of Marlboro on a daily basis, he’d be one of the greatest midfielders ever; watch his YouTube clips to see what I am talking about),

    5.Dragan Stojković (one of the most favourite players for Arsene Wenger; refused to take the penalty v Zvezda in the Champions Cup Final 1991),

    6.Darko Pančev (the Macedonian Gerd Müller; his goal-poaching skills were awesome; scored the last penalty to win Champions Cup for Zvezda in Bari in 1991),

    7.Nemanja Vidić (long-time servant of Manchester United, one of the best central defenders in the Premiership era),

    8.Dejan Stanković (won Serie A with Lazio and Inter, Champions League with Inter, refused to play against Zvezda in UEFA Cup match for Lazio in 2002-03),

    9.Vladimir Jugović (won Champions League with Juventus by scoring the last penalty, had specific muscular structure and could run for days or at least it seemed that way; he is the most anti-English player ever as he won both of his European Cups on penalties),

    10.Siniša Mihajlović (free-kick specialists, once scored a hat-trick from free-kicks; won Champions Cup with Crvena Zvezda; used to play a left winger but was later moved to the central defence; I’ve always hated him and his racial insulting of Vieira cemented my opinion on him).

  • Josif

    Also, one bizarre trivia about Crvena Zvezda:

    according to some statements, their defeat in the European Cup semifinal 1971 at hands of Panathinaikos had more than we could see on the first glance.

    In the first leg played in Belgrade, Zvezda won 4:1.

    In Athens, however, Panathinaikos won 3:0 and progressed to the final (where they were beaten by Ajax).

    That game has been a subject of controversies for four decades and nobody can confirm what actually happened.

    1) In 2007, the widow of General Papadopoulos gave an interview in which she stated that her husband had told her during the game that the game was bought on the highest level (I think it was something about oil terminals and agreement between Tito and Papadopoulos).

    2) Zvezda players were accused by their own fans that they had sold the game. Apparently, they got new TVs but it was actually Phillips company who gave it to them.

    3) Some Zvezda players claimed they were either drugged or poisoned. It is a weird stuff: they got their own chefs with them but none of them were included in preparing the food for the Zvezda players!? Some players claim they couldn’t move properly during the game and they acted like animals in the plane on their way back home.

    4) Zvezda players were distracted their three-day stay at Athens before the game. Apparently, the PAO fans made a huge noise in front of the “Hilton” hotel and threw oranges at them in the training. Also, a helicopter with beautiful women landed on the stadium so Zvezda players lost their heads over the Greek beauties.

    5) Most bizarre of all: the referee was from Spain and he was son-in-law of Ferenc Puskas…the Panathinaikos manager!?

    6) Crvena Zvezda got the floodlights very soon after that game.

    7) Some players claimed their manager Miljan Miljanić was too quiet during the game as the three-goal lead melted down which sounds odd.

  • Jimbo

    I would play the second string which is still very strong in these Europa games and see how it goes.The Champions league seems a bit dull without our football illuminating it this year.I think City could make at least the semi’s though with the team they’ve assembled,yet can’t see Man U,Chelsea,LPool and the spuds with their pragmatic styles making much headway..

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Despite that Arsenal won’t be playing in the Champions league this season for the first time in 20 seasons, but as a super club side in European football that they are, that group ‘H’ Europa League Cup draw today is a confirmation that Arsenal are truly a big super club side in England and Europe as they’ll compete for honour in one of the Europe’s elite competitions of the Europa League Cup this season.

    Save the Premier League club sides of Chelsea and Man Utd who have won this Cup in the past and last season since it’s inception, no any other PL club has won the cup which should tell us that to win this Cup is not easy as it’s a big Europe’s Cup being competed for by top clubs across Europe. So, our three want away trio of: Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Oxlade Chamberlain should pipe down in their over demands for higher wages at Arsenal and extend their staying at the club by signing the new deals on the table that are on offer to them to sign with Sanchez purportedly offered a £300k\week, Ozil £225k and Oxchambo £180k to them to extend their staying at the club. The trio should accept these increments in wages offered to them and sign da thin to extend their staying at the club. Arsenal missing out on the Champions League this season is not a disaster and not a strong excuse by them for not extending as the trio have all played in CL for Arsenal for not less than three consecutive seasons in the case of Sanchez and Ozil while the Ox has played in it too for Arsenal on several occasions. So, what is the issue? Higher wages? Arsenal are in the Europa League this season and can bounce back to play in the CL again next season by either win the Cup or the PL title or both. Or get a top four finish if it comes down to that to get a Ucl ticket next season. Therefore, rather than to leave Arsenal this summer or next, the Arsenal who want them to remain at the club beyond this season, these trio should help Arsenal FC achieve it titles winning aims and ambitions this season if they sincerely loved the club and want to help it win.

  • Gord

    This should be a good round for Walter. We have two Slavic destinations, which for me would suggest good garlic sausage. And I would imagine that Koln is just the wurst place to visit (tongue in cheek).

    Belgrade, Serbia
    _ Tri Sesria (meat and potatoes)
    _ Ćevapi (or ćevapčići) minced meat suasages (beef, lamb, pork or mixed)
    _ Pljeskavica – a minced meat patty
    _ Pečenje – roast meat (pork, lamb or goat)
    _ Bečka šnicla – local copy of Viennese schnitzel
    _ Karađorđeva šnicla – rolled veal or pork steak that is stuffed (with kajmak?)
    _ Sarma – like a cabbage roll, except wrapping might not be cabbage (greens, grape also used)
    _ Fish paprikaš – fish stews
    _ Punjene paprike – stuffed paprika peppers
    _ Škembići – Tripe soup
    _ Gibanica – cheese pie, often with egg poured on top
    _ Burek – a pyllo dough pastry

    Next up for some research is: Barysaw, Belarus. BATE is an auto parts manufacturer. There seems to be a large Jewish population there.

    If you can expand on the Serbian foods, please do so.

    The only spice I seen mentioned was the paprika pepper. If nothing else, I would expect the sausage to have at least one set of spices, as well as the pyhllo pastry.

    The cabbage roll said grape vine could be used to wrap it instead. I would think it is grape leaves, not the vine.

  • Thanks everyone great stuff. Especially Josif for the background – amazing material. A whole novel in fact.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Sure would love some “Kölish bratwurst”

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    If it’s true that the Ox has rejected Arsenal latest offer of £180k/week wage to him to extend his staying at the club as per Sky Sports Emirates Stadium privileged information claims, then, what next? Should Arsenal collect £40m or more as his transfer fee but paid at once by the club that want him so as to avoid losing him on the free next season?

    What is the point keeping the Ox who may not be that totally committed to Arsenal titles winning charge this season as he focuses on moving away from the club next season? But did I say next season as he still has a season contract left to honour at Arsenal if his purported attempts to force a move away from the club this window is scuttled by Arsenal? As things could change in a twinkling of an eye for club and player, would Arsenal want to take a gamble to stop the Ox moving away from them this season in the hopes that the next situation that will occur in this Ox case will be to the favour Arsenal? And Arsenal will not be weakened by his moving away now to any of their rival top clubs as been insinuated in the media. More so, as Arsenal have jettisoned their pursuing to sign Thomas Lemar this summer window who should have been an adequate replacement for the wanting to leave Oxchambo. But would Arsenal at short notice want to revive their reported failed attempts to sign Thomas Lemar this summer by summiting a third bid of £50m to Monaco which should be enough to make Monaco let him come to Arsenal despite the media bullshit reports that it’s Man Utd he wants to go.

  • porter

    If he’s not signing , get him out of the door for as much as possible . There are only few days left to sort out a replacement , should have been done at the beginning of the window. If it’s true that he wants to go because he feels The Arsenal won’t win the league with this set up then he must leave. Such is life.

  • MickHazel

    As regards Ox sell the ungrateful sod, a lot of the times he played last season, not to mention previous seasons, he was less than good anyway. Now after a few good (but hardly brilliant) games he thinks he’s God’s gift. If its true he wants to play central midfield on a regular basis then best of luck with displacing the existing players in that position already at Chelsea.

  • Menace

    If Arsenal sell a player who refuses to sign a good offer, it should be for an obscene price. The reason is that probably there was a tapping up or agents agreement prior to the refusal. The club should never hesitate to sue for breach of rules if anything untoward surfaces.

  • Gord

    The more northern Slavic destination. I would expect stronger garlic flavour, and less peppers. There can be “noise” in my search, as there is a food critic with the surname of Barysaw.

    This was an interesting place to research, in part because some people were asking questions. Also, in part this cuisine is slightly similar to that of my Mom’s side of the family, who were German-Ukranians from Volhynia (west of Kyiv, near Zhitomir). A little south of Belarus.

    It may be that many centuries ago, that the predominant meat was cow and predominant vegetables were cabbage, beets, onions, mushrooms, sorrel, dill, beans (green, waxed and pole I would think). Many cereals (wheat, barley, rye, oats) and the big pseudo-cereal (buckwheat) were farmed here. I gather wheat was not as common as it could have been, as the climate is a little on the cool and damp side for it. Potato is popular there now, but potato is a New World crop brought to Europe in the 16th century. The Ottoman Empire (started beginning of 14th century) probably played a big part in food. The Ottoman’s were muslim, and hence couldn’t eat pork. They probably didn’t confiscate it either. Which caused the people to transition to pigs from cows (and other livestock). Communism tended to make all people eat the same things and use the same words to describe them. Make a Belarusian happy, and call a potato “bulba”. The curing of meats and vegetables was common, as refrigeration was largely not possible. Apparently they also cured pork fat, with the cured pork fat of the back (with little meat in it) being called salo.

    The peasants didn’t have much meat, and what they had was probably leftover cuts from butchering an animal or pieces from sausage making and other curing of meat. What seems to be the kind of cured meat of the most individuality, is kindziuk. It is cured pork/beef sausage that is air dried (twice) and cold smoked twice.

    Machanka from Belarus was a soup/stew made from many vegetables, or if it was available, meat. The trilogy of soup cooking is celery, onion and carrot and I don’t see celery mentioned in Belarusian cuisine. But Machanka was probably started with onion and carrot, to which the vegetables and/or meat was added. Adding mushrooms would have provided increased umami. The soup was thickened as a white sauce in France with flour and dairy (probably sour cream). Dill added towards the end of cooking.

    Apparently the Belorussians grated potato to a fine texture, and their potato pancakes could be made thin, like a crepe. These potato pancakes were a common accompaniment with machanka or other soups and stews. The potato pancakes seem to be called draniki. Dumplings (kolduny) were another thing commonly added to soups and stews.

    A low alcoholic drink made from rye bread (or just rye) is kvass.

    Barysaw, Belarus
    _ kindziuk
    _ polenwitsa
    _ machanka
    _ draniki
    _ kolduny


    Group E (Group of Death): Lyon, Everton, Atalanta, Apollon Limassol

    I don’t know if Hleb is back at BATE, but I thought that Podolski had made a move to the J league a few weeks ago.

  • Gord

    Which leaves us with Köln, Germany
    _ Kölsch beer – … beer will continue coming until you place your coaster over your glass.
    _ Himmel un Ääd – apples and potatoe, often served with a blood sausage.
    _ Mettbrötchen – raw pork sausage on a bun (with onions)
    _ Schnitzel
    _ Schweinshaxe – crispy pork knuckle
    _ Leberwurst – liver sausage
    _ Bratwurst – Walter’s favorite?
    _ Halver Hahn – Rye roll with cheese, butter and mustard. Probably waiting for a brat.
    _ Blutwurst – Blood sausage
    _ Kölsche Kaviar – that blood sausage with some onions on a rye roll
    _ Rheinischer Soorbrode – beef or horse marinated in vinegar and raisins, served with dumplings and red cabbage.
    _ Leberkäse – a baked meatloaf of beef, pork and bacon.

    Guten Appetit!