Nine weeks after rounding off the group stage with a straightforward home win over Qarabag, we are back on the Europa League trail – and now there's no room for error.
The competition has entered the knockout stage, and 15-time Belarus champions BATE Borisov – for whom former Gunner Alex Hleb is back enjoying his fifth spell – lay in wait in the round of 32.
The match will be played in sub-zero temperatures just outside the capital Minsk, but this trip east shouldn't hold too many fears for the Gunners. Just last season we recorded a 4-2 group stage win here, which was followed by a 6-0 victory at the Emirates.
BATE reached this stage after finishing second in their group, behind Chelsea, and their win over PAOK on the final matchday to clinch qualification in December was their last competitive action in any competition – this is the close-season in Belarus.
So Arsenal are big favourites to earn a first-leg advantage on Valentine's Day, as Unai Emery looks to continue his love affair with the Europa League – a competition he won three years in a row with Sevilla.
As such he has named another strong squad in Europe – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Granit Xhaka return after missing Saturday's win over Huddersfield – though there is no place for Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey or Sokratis.
Read on for our match preview, including Unai Emery's thoughts on the game, the latest team news, stats, and analysis of the opposition.
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