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Group H pacesetters Arsenal and Shakhtar cross swords

Both Arsenal FC and FC Shakhtar Donetsk have started impressively with two wins from two games so something has to give on Matchday 3 as the clubs meet in north London.

Group H pacesetters Arsenal and Shakhtar cross swords
Group H pacesetters Arsenal and Shakhtar cross swords ©UEFA.com

With two wins from two games, Arsenal FC have launched their customary strong case for qualification for the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds. Matchday 3 brings them up against FC Shakhtar Donetsk who are rivalling them for Group H superiority with their own six-point haul.

• Having opened with a 6-0 defeat of SC Braga, on 28 September Arsenal were 3-1 winners at FK Partizan in a game that featured three penalties, only one of which was converted. Andrey Arshavin shot the visitors ahead but later missed from the spot at 1-1. Marouane Chamakh and Sébastien Squillaci scored with headers late on, Łukasz Fabiański saving Cléo's penalty to clinch the points.

• Having got the better of Partizan on Matchday 1 through Darijo Srna's expert free-kick, Mircea Lucescu's Shakhtar then equalled their best start to a UEFA Champions League campaign as they made it two wins out of two with a 3-0 victory at Braga, Luiz Adriano scoring twice.

Previous meetings
• The sides met in the 2000/01 first group stage, Shakhtar taking a 2-0 lead inside 30 minutes of the first game at Highbury. After substitute Sylvain Wiltord halved the deficit from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time, two goals from Martin Keown inside the last five minutes swung the result in favour of the home team.

• The teams for that game on 20 September 2000 were:
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Luzhny, Keown, Sylvinho, Grimandi, Vieira, Pirès (Wiltord 34), Ljungberg (Bergkamp 66), Henry, Kanu.
Shakhtar: Virt, Starostyak, Gleveckas, Tymoshchuk, Popov, Bakharev (Byelik 69), Zubov, Atelkin (Kovalyov 76), Vorobey, Shevchuk, Adamov (Kryventsov 58).

• The return fixture went very much Shakhtar's way as they eased to a 3-0 victory.

• Arsenal's other contests with Ukrainian sides have all been against FC Dynamo Kyiv, and all in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, in which they recorded two wins and a draw at home.

• Shakhtar have faced English opponents twice before, both from London. In 2008/09 they drew 1-1 at Tottenham Hotspur FC, completing  a 3-1 aggregate success in the UEFA Cup round of 32 en route to lifting the trophy. Last season they lost 2-1 at Fulham FC in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League, eventually losing 3-2 on aggregate.

Match background
• Last season Arsenal won all five home games, play-off round included, before FC Barcelona held them to a 2-2 draw in the quarter-finals en route to a 6-3 aggregate win for the Spanish side.

• Only Manchester United FC, 3-1 winners in the 2008/09 semi-final second leg, have triumphed at Arsenal in the 25 UEFA Champions League games, including qualifiers, at Arsenal Stadium. Before that loss Arsène Wenger's men had boasted a five-year unbeaten home run in the competition, which began at their previous stadium, Highbury.

• In the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage, Shakhtar won 2-1 at FC Basel 1893 and 3-2 away to eventual winners Barcelona as they finished third in the group.

Team ties
• Eduardo ended a three-year stay at Arsenal during the summer with a move to Shakhtar. He scored eight times in 41 league appearances for the north London side but his progress was hampered by a broken leg sustained at Birmingham City FC in February 2008.

• Tomáš Hübschman and Tomáš Rosický spent 1999/2000 at AC Sparta Praha and are team-mates with the Czech Republic national team.

• Rosický has faced Shakhtar on four occasions in the UEFA Champions League during spells with Sparta and Borussia Dortmund, winning three games. In the 2000/01 season Sparta were in the same group as Arsenal and Shakhtar, and in a 3-2 home victory against the Ukrainian side Rosický scored the opening goal.

• In August 2006 Fabiański played for Legia Warszawa against Shakhtar in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. Shakhtar won 1-0 at home and 3-2 in Poland.

• Lucescu guided Beşiktaş JK to a 2-0 win at Chelsea FC in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Marcelo Moreno helped Wigan Athletic FC to a 3-2 home win against Arsenal on 18 April.

• On 9 October Gaël Clichy and Samir Nasri were in the France team that beat Răzvan Raţ's Romania 2-0 in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in Paris.