The Breakdown

The Breakdown: BATE Borisov v Arsenal

We return to Europa League action on Thursday when we face the Belarusian champions, BATE Borisov, at the Borisov Arena.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox examines our opponents in detail to pinpoint their strengths, their dangerman and the areas we can exploit.

Alyaksandr Yermakovich has been at BATE almost as long as Arsene Wenger has been at Arsenal – albeit in various capacities. After a 10-year period as a midfielder ended in 2008, he immediately became assistant manager, before being appointed to the top job in 2013. A five-time league winner as a player, he managed four straight titles before slipping to third last time out.
Expect a standard 4-2-3-1 system, which will appear more like 4-4-1-1 for long periods when BATE are defending. Both full-backs can push forward well, with the holding midfielders playing covering roles.
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. 
Against Red Star, BATE’s defenders seemed terrified by any kind of pace and retreated quickly towards their own goal, which in turn created too much space between the lines – Arsenal may be able to exploit this.

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