UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|Arsenal FC||Arsenal Stadium - LondonThursday 29 October 2020|
21.00CET (20.00 local time) Group B - Matchday 2
Arsenal face opposition from the Republic of Ireland for the first time in UEFA competition as they welcome Dundalk to north London.
• The Gunners came from behind to beat Rapid Wien 2-1 in Vienna on the opening night of Group B action, preserving their perfect record on Matchday 1 of the UEFA Europa League thanks to goals from David Luiz and substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Dundalk, meanwhile, endured the opposite fate, failing to hold on to a first-half lead provided by Sean Murray's header as they went down 2-1 at home to Molde.
• This is Dundalk's first official match in England for 38 years, since a 1-0 defeat by Liverpool at Anfield in the 1982/82 European Cup first round, which followed a 4-1 first-leg defeat in Ireland. That was the club's second UEFA match in England, the first having come the previous season when they also lost 1-0, against Tottenham Hotspur in the European Cup Winners' Cup second round, following a 1-1 first-leg draw.
• A disappointing eighth in the 2019/20 Premier League, Arsenal ensured a 25th consecutive season in Europe by winning the FA Cup – their record 14th triumph in the competition – with a 2-1 victory over London rivals Chelsea in the final. Their third successive UEFA Europa League campaign ended in the round of 32 with an extra-time away goals defeat by Olympiacos (1-0 a, 1-2 h).
• UEFA Champions League ever-presents for 19 seasons in a row from 1998/99 to 2016/17, Arsenal reached the UEFA Europa League semi-finals at the first attempt in 2017/18, losing to eventual winners Atlético de Madrid, before going one step further and making it to the 2018/19 final, where they were defeated 4-1 by Chelsea in Baku. They have been group winners on all three of their appearances.
• The 1999/2000 UEFA Cup runners-up have lost two of their last four European home games but their overall UEFA Europa League record at the Arsenal Stadium is W12 D3 L3 (W6 D1 L1 in the group stage).
• Dundalk retained the League of Ireland title in 2019, making it five triumphs in six years and 14 overall. Runners-up also in the FAI Cup, losing on penalties in the final to league runners-up Shamrock Rovers after a 1-1 draw, their 2019/20 European campaign ended in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League against Slovan Bratislava (0-1 a, 1-3 h). They had been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League a round earlier by Qarabağ (1-1 h, 0-3 a).
• Beaten 3-0 at Slovenian champions Celje in their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round tie this term, Dundalk came through three subsequent UEFA Europa League qualifiers – 1-0 at Inter d'Escaldes of Andorra, 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw away to Sheriff of Moldova, and 3-1 at home to KÍ of the Faroe Islands – to book their second appearance in the competition's group stage following a 2016/17 campaign in which they registered four points to finish bottom of a section including Zenit, AZ Alkmaar and Maccabi Tel-Aviv. The only other Irish participants in the UEFA Europa League group stage are Shamrock Rovers, who lost all six fixtures in 2011/12.
• Penalty shoot-outs notwithstanding, Dundalk have won only two of their last 16 European away fixtures (D5 L9). In 2016/17 they drew their opening away game in the group, 1-1 at AZ, before losing the other two. Home and away, they have lost their last five UEFA Europa League group fixtures.
Links and trivia
• Dundalk's Jordan Flores is English and played in his homeland for Wigan as well as having loan spells with Blackpool, Chesterfield and Fylde.
• Also born in England but now representing Nigeria, Nathan Oduwa started his career with Arsenal's London rivals Tottenham before playing on loan for three other English sides – Luton, Colchester and Peterborough.
• Several other Dundalk players have spent time with English clubs – Andy Boyle (Preston, Doncaster loan), Patrick Hoban (Bristol City, Oxford, Stevenage loan, Grimsby loan, Mansfield), Murray (Watford, Wigan loan, Swindon, Colchester), Cameron Dummigan (Burnley, Oldham), Patrick McEleney (Oldham) and Aaron McCarey (Wolves, Telford loan, Walsall loan, York loan, Portsmouth loan, Bury loan).
• Aubameyang's winning goal in Vienna on Matchday 1 was his 20th in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, putting him joint fourth in the competition's all-time listing with only Radamel Falcao (30), Aritz Aduriz (26) and Kevin Gameiro (22) ahead of him.