We head into unchartered waters on Thursday night when we play our first-ever match against a Belarusian side, BATE Borisov, in the Europa League.
Arsene Wenger has named a squad mixed with experience and youth - including the likes of youngsters Charlie Gilmour, Vlad Dragomir and Josh Dasilva.
It will certainly be no easy task against Alexander Hleb’s former club - BATE have won the title here for 11 straight seasons and the atmosphere at the Borisov Arena will be partizan to say the least.
It should be a fascinating clash, and you’re in the right place for a comprehensive pre-match briefing. We’ve got team news, quotes from Arsene Wenger, match facts, graphics and a chance to have your say.
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE:
Wenger on the young players in the squad…
This is the kind of job where you do not get 10 opportunities to play for Arsenal. If you only play 20 minutes, you have to show you have the qualities to do it. There is always an uncertainty. You see in training that the player has the quality. After, to show it during competition is something different. And in my experience you only discover that during competition.
ARSENAL: Cazorla (plantaris), Chambers (hip), Welbeck (groin), Coquelin (hamstring), Ozil (knee)
BATE BORISOV: None
BATE are a good technical side, capable of long periods of possession play while also offering a counter-attacking threat. Mikhail Gordeichuk, who starts on the right flank, tops the goalscoring charts in Belarus.
Montenegro international Mirko Ivanic, who wears the No 10 shirt, is a creative, intelligent and two-footed playmaker who assisted Nikolai Signevich’s headed equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Red Star Belgrade with a lovely right-wing cross.
THE LAST WORD
Wenger on a chance for his young players to impress in Belarus…
“I believe that [pressure] is part of it. When you play at Arsenal, at a young age it’s a good test for a young player. We will certainly have first knowledge of that on Thursday night. BATE Borisov have a new stadium, they have a good crowd so certainly it will be very loud.”
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