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Shakhtar aim to get back on course against Arsenal

Arsenal FC took control of Group H with an emphatic defeat of FC Shakhtar Donetsk on Matchday 3 but the Ukrainian side have plenty of reasons for optimism ahead of the reverse fixture.

Shakhtar aim to get back on course against Arsenal
Shakhtar aim to get back on course against Arsenal ©UEFA.com

The battle for the Group H leadership went in favour of Arsenal FC in north London on Matchday 3 but the teams come face to face again with FC Shakhtar Donetsk seeking immediate revenge.

• The London club were 5-1 winners at the Arsenal Stadium after both teams had won their first two matches, but Shakhtar have hope of turning the tables in Donetsk given that Arsenal have never won in Ukraine, losing on three of their four previous visits.

Previous meetings
• The sides also met in the 2000/01 first group stage when a spectacular game ensued at Highbury where Shakhtar took a 2-0 lead inside 30 minutes. Arsenal recovered to win 3-2 but the Ukrainian side proved far superior in the return, winning 3-0.

• The teams for that game in Ukraine on 7 November 2000 were:
Shakhtar: Virt, Starostyak, Gleveckas, Tymoshchuk, Popov, Bakharev, Zubov, Atelkin (Byelik 52), Vorobey (Savu 86), Abramov (Aliuţă 77), Okonkwo.
Arsenal: Taylor, Dixon, Keown, Upson, Cole, Vivas, Parlour (Vernazza 72), Lauren, Kanu, Henry (Ljungberg 64), Wiltord.

• All the English opponents Shakhtar have faced in European competition were London-based clubs. In 2008/09 they beat Tottenham Hotspur FC 2-0 at home for a 3-1 aggregate success in the UEFA Cup round of 32 en route to lifting the trophy. Last season they drew 1-1 at home against Fulham FC in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League, which meant they bowed out 3-2 on aggregate.

• Arsenal's other contests with Ukrainian sides have all come against FC Dynamo Kyiv in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Away from home they have still to register a win, losing 3-1 and 2-1 before emerging with a 1-1 draw on their last visit in the 2008/09.

Match background
• Having got the better of FK Partizan on Matchday 1 through Darijo Srna's expert free-kick, Shakhtar then equalled their best start to a UEFA Champions League campaign with a 3-0 victory at SC Braga, Luiz Adriano scoring twice.

• In their sixth UEFA Champions League participation, Shakhtar are aiming to advance from the group stage for the first time. In their last campaign, in 2008/09, they lost two home games before beating FC Basel 1893 5-0 to finish third in the group. They then switched to the UEFA Cup and won all four home contests, conceding just a single goal, en route to the Istanbul final where they lifted their first European trophy with a 2-1 extra-time defeat of SV Werder Bremen.

• Arsenal had lost their previous three UEFA Champions League away games before the visit to Partizan on Matchday 2 when goals from Andrey Arshavin – who later missed a penalty – Marouane Chamakh and Sébastien Squillaci steered them to a 3-1 victory. They had begun the campaign with a 6-0 defeat of SC Braga.

Team ties
• Eduardo, who scored Shakhtar's late consolation on Matchday 3, 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 BV 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.

• Samir Nasri and Gaël Clichy came up against Răzvan Raţ as France beat Romania 2-0 in last month's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in Paris.

• 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.

• One of Marcelo Moreno's 12 league appearances while on loan at Wigan Athletic FC last season came in a 3-2 home win against Arsenal.