With a return to winning ways secured and the gap to the top four of the Premier League closed to a point with victory at Huddersfield last weekend, Arsenal are back in continental competition as they face a Valentine’s Day trip to BATE in the Europa League.
However, with the top-flight title a distant dream and their chances of success in either the FA Cup or Carabao Cup over, their exploits in Europe are now the only chance of silverware they stand to have.
A trip to the Belarusian champions is the first step on the road to this year’s final in Baku – and Arsenal will be determined to go one better after reaching the semi-finals last season.
|Game||BATE vs Arsenal|
|Date||Thursday, February 14|
|Time||5:55pm GMT/12:55pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game will not be broadcast on television. It will however be streamed on Bleacher Report's B/R Live service.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on BT Sport 2 and livestreamed on the BT Sport Live app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 2||BT Sport Live|
Squads & Team News
|Defenders||Filipenko, Volkov, Filipovic, Malkevich, Yablonski, Simovic|
|Midfielders||Drahun, Baha, Berezkin, Rios, Stasevich, Bessmertniy, Hleb|
|Forwards||Skavysh, Milic, Moukam, Mukhamedov, Dubajic, Tuominen|
With no competitive domestic football between December and April, this represents BATE’s first game of 2019 with any real meaning to it.
Nemanja Milic makes his debut for the club, but Dmitri Bessmertny and Bojan Dubajic miss out. Ex-Gunners man Aleksandr Hleb faces his former club.
BATE starting XI: Scherbitskiy; Rios, Volkov, Filipenko, Filipovic; Baga, Dragun, Hleb; Skavysh, Milic, Stasevich.
|Defenders||Koscielny, Lichtsteiner, Kolasinac, Mustafi, Monreal|
|Midfielders||Elneny, Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Xhaka|
|Forwards||Iwobi, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Nketiah, Suarez, Mkhitaryan|
There's no room for Mesut Ozil in the travelling party for Arsenal, with the German left out in the cold once again.
Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck meanwhile are all out through injury.
Arsenal starting XI: Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Mkhitaryan, Lacazette, Iwobi.
Betting & Match Odds
Arsenal are the odds-on favourites to pick up a vital away win at 4/11 wit bet365 . BATE are meanwhile priced at 17/2 while a draw is available at 9/2.
Having exited the FA Cup to Manchester United and slipped off the pace of the top four with defeat to Manchester City, Arsenal were likely relieved to get back into the swing of winning ways after their victory over Huddersfield this weekend.
However, with their losses at the hands of the Red Devils and the Citizens, the Gunners have now seen any chance of domestic success slip away from them once again.
As such, their return to continental action with a Europa League trip represents Unai Emery’s last chance to claim silverware in his debut season at the Emirates Stadium – and it remains an opportunity he will be keen to take.
A three-time competition winner with Sevilla in consecutive years – tasting success in 2014, 2015 and 2016 – the Spaniard will be hoping to take Arsenal one better than their semi-final exit under Arsene Wenger last season.
In his way stands Belarusian champions BATE, who have not only never progressed beyond the round-of-32 in this tournament but have not played a competitive game since 2018 either.
Alyaksey Baha’s side have seen several new faces enter the fray during the off-season, with several in line to make their debut for the club when they host the Gunners.
They’re also looking for a modicum of revenge if possible – Arsenal swatted them aside by an aggregate scoreline of 10-2 when the pair met in the Europa League group stages last season.
Igor Stasevich is likely to hold the key for them if they hope to deliver a shock – with a total of six, he has made more assists than any other player in the competition this campaign.