BATE Borisov



Good evening everyone! After the dull repetitiveness of the Champions League, it’s time to cleanse the palate with some delightful Europa League action. Well, let’s hope so at least. It’s Arsenal v BATE Borisov, @Ugster1 with you for it.

Arsenal, as is de rigueur for English teams in Europe this season, have already secured top spot in the group so have nothing to play for. BATE, on the other hand, could qualify for the knockout stage with the right result, as could both Cologne and Red Star. So plenty to be decided.

Given the fact Arsenal can’t be knocked off the top spot, it’s a bit disappointing that Arsene Wenger hasn’t gone for kids throughout the team - he’s instead gone for a second string XI (with the exception of Maitland-Niles). At least there’s some young ‘uns on the bench.

Right then, to the teams. Arsenal first:

So very much the fringe players, like a lot of the previous games in the competition. Plenty of empty seats at the Emirates, but you do sometimes get a decent atmosphere for these ‘lesser’ games.

BATE team: Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Scherbitski, Rios, Polyakov, Milunović, Volodko, Berezkin, Dragun, Gordeichuk, Ivanić, Stasevich, Rodionov Subs: Chichkan, Yablonski, Buljat, Signevich, Tuominen, Baga, Gvilia

(apologies for no fancy BATE tweet - the English BATE account hasn’t tweeted since New Years Eve 2016...)

Theo Walcott the Arsenal captain tonight. Kick off moments away...

And we’re off! And OK, the atmosphere doesn’t sound great so far. Can’t help thinking a young, exciting team might have got a few more through the doors, but the manager wanted to keep the second strong sharp.

(3’) - First chance drops to Elneny, shoots wide. Interesting aside on BT Sport - BATE, having been champions in Belarus for 12 years on the spin, don’t actually know yet for sure if they’ve won that last one - an appeal against a points deduction still ongoing. They’ve had to cancel their title celebrations (insert Arsenal title celebrations joke here...)