by Bulldog Drummond
Arsenal’s commentary on the injured shows us
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang In full training.
Mesut Ozil In full training.
Sokratis In full training ahead of schedule.
Granit Xhaka In full training.
Aaron Ramsey Right knee. Being assessed ahead of BATE Borisov (a).
Whether they will all play or not is another matter of course, but it gives us some options.
BATE are of course the champions of Belarus, because, well, they are always the champions. They have been champions every year since 2006, which means it must be getting a bit boring. Last season they won the league by just nine points which perhaps was a bit of a slow down for them.
If Arsenal need an extra advantage it is that the Belarus football season is a summer season – so they have not been playing much football of late. On the other hand it is likely to be rather cold – probably a few degrees below zero.
As for the team, Transfer Tavern could be getting themselves into a spot of hot water as they are reporting threats of rioting by fans if Mesut Ozil doesn’t play – although quite why this is the case I am not sure – and neither it seems are they. Rioting in an ex-soviet republic that has no real form of democracy seems to me to be a bit of an odd idea. Maybe they just set up a fake account to give themselves a headline.
I guess the prime issue however is whether the boss is going to put out some of the youngsters for the match – even though we are now in the knock out stages. The boss could leave the youngsters until the return match, but he might give a game to Konstantinos Mavropanos.
Mohamed Elneny and Joe Willock played in the Huddersfield match and so they could be part of the show too. Suarez and Iwobi might be there as well.
Overall the SportsMole goes with a team made up of
Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal;
Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Guendouzi, Kolasinac;
I am not too sure about this. Cech not getting a place in goal doesn’t seem too like to me for a little danger Europa game, and not giving any youngsters a chance doesn’t feel right either. Although it could be argued that they will be used if all goes according to plan and we get a good lead.
BATE’s last five games in the Belarus League at the tail end of their last season don’t really give much of a clue as to where they are…
|21 Nov 2018||Shakhtyor||3 – 0||Bate Borisov||
|24 Nov 2018||Bate Borisov||4 – 1||Luch Minsk||
|29 Nov 2018||Bate Borisov||2 – 0||MOL Vidi||
|02 Dec 2018||Torpedo Zh||2 – 2||Bate Borisov||
|13 Dec 2018||PAOK Salonika||1 – 3||Bate Borisov||
Overall, on paper there should not really be any problem – but unfortunately Arsenal don’t play on paper.
Last season we beat them 0-6 away and 4-2 at home in the Europa League group stages. And we should remember that in 2015/16 they got through to the Champions League group stages where they did indeed beat Roma.
They are by no means a top club, but they are not utterly useless either.
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