Arsenal v the Qs. Early thoughts on who’s in the team, and some of the records

By Bulldog Drummond

Despite the oddity of Wikipedia’s Champions of Azerbaijan for the fifth successive year in 2017/18, (see Arsenal v Qarbag: we’re lucky we only play them twice ) Qarabağ are also competing in a Uefa group stage for the fifth season running, having knocked up three appearances in the  Europa League and then a Champions League appearance last season.

BATE Borisov stopped them getting to the Champs League in the third qualifying round this season, but they got through via the play-offs against FC Sheriff (who I thought were actually based in Nottingham but it seems not).

But despite their best efforts Qarabağ have not yet qualified for the second half of a campaign, and so as yet not had the joys of feeling that qualification for the knock outs is a trophy.  Unlike some clubs.

Overall their away record in the Europa League group stage is three wins, one draw and seven defeats.   All the victories have had a 1-0 margin, so one goal from Arsenal on Thursday and it is all over.

According to Uefa (whose data sometimes seems occasionally at variance with reality to me, but maybe it is me at variance with reality) “Arsenal are on a run of four successive clean sheets in the competition – the longest sequence in this season’s group stage. One more will equal the all-time UEFA Europa League record that is currently held jointly by Napoli and Salzburg.”

Our goals in the first game against Qarabağ came from Sokratis, Emile Smith Rowe and Matteo Guendouzi, and in each case this was a first for the player, while playing for Arsenal’s first team.

And there is one cross-team link.   Qarabağ’s Innocent Emeghara has played for Switzerland alongside Arsenal duo Stephan Lichtsteiner and Granit Xhaka.  So it will be a reunion.  If Lichtsteiner or Xhaka play – which they might not.

Here is one more: Unai Emery has been in charge of more Europa League games than any other coach, this being his 65th game in the competition.

And another one that you might not know and may or may not wish to know: Qarabağ’s coach Gurban Gurbanov is Azerbaijan’s highest-scoring international with 12 goals in 64 matches. He has been in charge of the club for ten years, during which time he has led the club to five successive national league titles, four Azerbaijani Cups and regular European group stage involvement, including their one and only Champions League adventure in 2017/18.   In November 2017 he became the manager of the Azerbaijan national team as well.

In other news Ainsley Maitland Niles has stated that as a child player he received racial abuse, which I suspect even for anyone who is not already sickened by racist abuse issues surely must have an impact.   I imagine he will be playing tomorrow, and with his injury now behind him he can start rebuilding his first team challenge.

And he’ll be doing it alongside Petr Cech and Laurant Koscielny, so it won’t just be Ainsley and the kiddies.

There is some chatter that the midfielder / left winger Bukayo Saka (aged 17) will also get a chance.  His rise up the international listings tells us how highly he is rated:

Season Level Games Goals
2017 England U16 2 0
2017–2018 England U17 9 0
2018– England U18 5 1
2018– England U19 3 1

Then there is the defender Zech Medley, who might just play as a full back in the same team as  Laurent Koscielny and thus make his debut.   He started last season as captain of the under 18s but was then moved up to the PL2 playing for the under 23s.   So far he has played there 13 times.

And here’s a little thought to help us on our merry way: Arsenal have picked 26 players in the Europa League this season in the five games this far – more than any other team.  Some of course will criticise that because they are always looking for anything to criticise in terms of Arsenal.  But I think that is great – a wonderful way of encouraging the current crop of young players (who I think are quite exceptional) and of saying to youngsters who are thinking about which youth team to go for, at Arsenal if you are good enough you will get a chance to play.

7 Replies to “Arsenal v the Qs. Early thoughts on who’s in the team, and some of the records”

  1. Some always looking to criticise Arsenal? I could not help but sigh when the BBC added the so-called hippy crack story to Ainsley’s comments about the racial abuse of youth players. Such an important agenda and yet the BBC seem to have soiled themselves instead.

  2. OT: Reiss Nelson starts on the bench for Hoffenheim

    Hopefully he gets a goal. I am also hoping that Man$ity don’t try to take him out.

  3. Reiss came in at half time. From the commentary I seen, he was mentioned 4/5 times. He didn’t get Hoffenheim the win, and there was no indication the Man$ity wounded him.

    I hope you enjoyed the game Reiss!

  4. It’s dumb to keep seeing these medja idjut articles about what Arsenal is doing. They haven’t a bloody clue what Arsenal is doing. They just make up things and pretend that is what Arsenal is doing.

    Apparently Smith Rowe is injured (according to Foot.Lon) from training.

    I was just glancing at the medja-bot blurb, but I seen no cause. So I will guess that some whorenalist taking pictures jumped onto the field and injured Smith Rowe.

    And some mental giant in the medja, suggested that Arsenal were going to buy a player for more than 300 million. Magic mushrooms? LSD? Hey buddy, go buy something with a good chance of fentanyl as a substitute. Doorknob!

  5. C’mon Gord, these journalists may be integority lacking, agenda pushing cretins, but wishing that they overdose and die is in very poor taste..

  6. I kept myself away from UntoldArsenal today. But it was disappointing to see the medja bang away at Arsenal both before the game and after.

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