Arsenal have to turn round a first-leg deficit against BATE Borisov, who are bidding to reach the last 16 for the first time.
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One of only four teams to win at home in the first leg of the round of 32, BATE Borisov pulled off one of the shock results of the UEFA Europa League by defeating 2017/18 semi-finalists Arsenal 1-0. That gives the champions of Belarus hope of making amends for the 6-0 reverse they suffered away to the Gunners in last season's group stage. Qualification would take them further than they have ever previously gone in European competition.
• Arsenal cruised through to the round of 32 from Group E, dropping just two points as they qualified with two games to spare.
• It was nines across the board for BATE – points, goals for and goals against – as they finished runners-up to another London club, Chelsea, in Group L, sealing their qualification on matchday six with a 3-1 win at PAOK.
• Stanislav Dragun's header on the stroke of half-time at the Borisov-Arena ended Arsenal's record-equalling run of five successive UEFA Europa League clean sheets. It also proved enough to give BATE a famous victory in their first competitive outing of 2019, with the visitors suffering further woe as striker Alexandre Lacazette was sent off in the 85th minute, suspending him for this return leg.
• Arsenal made light work of BATE in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, winning 4-2 in Belarus and 6-0 at home. Only two of the ten Arsenal goals, however, came from players who are still at the club – Rob Holding and Mohamed Elneny – neither of whom played in the first leg.
• Those are Arsenal's only previous European engagements with Belarusian opposition. BATE have had four other matches against Premier League clubs, all in the UEFA Europa League group stage, beating Everton 1-0 on matchday six at Goodison Park in 2009/10 but losing 3-1 at Chelsea this season.
• The Gunners finished sixth in the 2017/18 Premier League – their lowest final placing under Arsène Wenger in his swansong season as manager after 22 years. It earned them a second successive qualification for the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• UEFA Champions League ever-presents for 19 successive seasons until last term, Arsenal reached the UEFA Europa League semi-finals at the first attempt, going out to eventual winners Atlético Madrid. This season they breezed through their group, an opening 4-2 win at home to Vorskla Poltava preceding four wins and a draw in which they conceded no further goals.
• Arsenal's one previous round of 32 tie came last season against Swedish debutants Östersund, Wenger's side progressing 4-2 on aggregate after winning the away first leg 3-0 but losing the London return 1-2. It was the first time in eight years that the Gunners had won a European tie in the spring following seven successive round of 16 eliminations from the UEFA Champions League.
• The 1999/2000 UEFA Cup runners-up picked up seven points at home in this season's group stage. Their home record in two UEFA Europa League campaigns is W6 D3 L1, with 23 goals scored and eight conceded. However, Arsenal have lost their first European home fixture of the spring in each of the last six seasons, and even the last one they won, 3-0 against AC Milan in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League, was insufficient to take them through to the next round as it followed a 4-0 first-leg defeat in Italy.
• Arsenal have won only two of the 12 UEFA competition ties in which they were defeated away in the first leg, most recently overcoming Porto 5-0 in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League round of 16 after a 2-1 loss in Portugal – the last time they won a knockout phase tie in that competition. On each of the five occasions that they have lost the first away leg 1-0, they have failed to make up the deficit at home, lastly in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League semi-final against Manchester United (1-3 home).
• Champions of Belarus for the last 13 seasons, BATE returned to this competition after missing out on UEFA Champions League group stage qualification last summer. A pair of 2-1 aggregate victories over HJK Helsinki and Qarabağ preceded a heavy play-off defeat by PSV Eindhoven (2-3 home, 0-3 away).
• BATE's fourth UEFA Europa League group stage participation looked destined for failure when they collected just three points from their first four games, but wins in their last two matches enabled them to repeat their feat of 2010/11 and qualify as runners-up. They were unable to progress from their group in both 2009/10 and 2017/18.
• Having crossed over from the UEFA Champions League in 2012/13, this is BATE's third appearance in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase – and first for six years. They have yet to advance beyond the round of 32, having lost on away goals to Paris Saint-Germain in 2010/11 (2-2 home, 0-0 away) and to Fenerbahçe two years later (0-0 home, 0-1 away). Dragun's goal against Arsenal was therefore the first for the club in four knockout phase encounters.
• The Borisov club have won four of their six European away fixtures this term, including group stage wins at Vidi (2-0) and, decisively, at PAOK (3-1). Their overall away record in the UEFA Europa League is W4 D4 L6, last season's 6-0 loss at Arsenal constituting their joint heaviest European away defeat.
• BATE's record in UEFA competition when winning the first leg at home is a mirror image of Arsenal's, with just two defeats in 12 ties, although both of those have been after 1-0 victories, with 0-3 away reverses following against Irish clubs Bohemians (2003/04) and Dundalk (2016/17) in the UEFA Champions League qualifying phase. All 12 of those ties took place during the summer months.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Denis Suárez
Out: Emile Smith Rowe, Emiliano Martínez, Konstantinos Mavropanos
In: Bojan Dubajić, Nemanja Milić, Dmitri Bessmertny
Out: Aleksei Chernykh, Luwagga Kizito, Mikhail Gordeichuk, Nemanja Milunović, Deni Polyakov, Nikolai Signevich, Maksim Volodko
Links and trivia
• Aleksandr Hleb is enjoying his fifth spell at BATE (1999–2000, 2012–13, 2015, 2016, 2018–). The 37-year-old midfielder played for Arsenal from 2005–08, making 130 appearances, including the 2006 UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona, the club he joined from the Gunners two years later.
• Shkodran Mustafi made his senior debut in Everton's 1-0 UEFA Europa League group stage defeat at home to BATE in December 2009. The then 17-year-old came on as a substitute in the second half.
• In addition to keeping the most clean sheets in this season's group stage (five), Arsenal conceded the joint fewest goals (two) along with Real Betis in Group F.
• The Gunners also used more players than any of the other 47 clubs in this season's group stage. One of those 28 was the youngest to appear, Bukayo Saka coming on as a substitute at Vorskla on matchday five aged 17 years and 85 days before playing the whole game at home to Qarabağ a fortnight later. The inclusion of Mustafi and Denis Suárez in Borisov means Arsenal have now used 30 players in the competition.
• BATE wrapped up their 13th Belarusian league title in a row – and 15th overall – in November. They are now one shy of the European record for consecutive league titles, held jointly by Latvia's Skonto and Lincoln of Gibraltar.
• Arsenal are one of seven teams to have come through the UEFA Europa League group stage undefeated, but they, Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb have now surrendered that record, leaving just four – Betis, Villarreal, Eintracht Frankfurt and Chelsea – unbeaten after seven games.
• BATE scored nine goals in the group stage and Igor Stasevich provided assists for six of them, the most in the competition. The BATE skipper added a seventh in the first leg against Arsenal to strengthen his position at the top of the charts.
• Arsenal's record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L2:
4-5 v Valencia, 1979/80 European Cup Winners' Cup final
3-2 v Sampdoria, 1994/95 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-final
1-4 v Galatasaray, 1999/2000 UEFA Cup final
7-6 v Roma, 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16
• BATE have yet to feature in a UEFA shoot-out.
• After two years with Paris Saint-Germain that yielded seven domestic trophies, Unai Emery was appointed as Arsenal manager in May 2018, replacing the long-serving Wenger. The Spaniard oversaw Sevilla's historic hat-trick of successes in the UEFA Europa League from 2013/14 to 2015/16, having assumed control following a four-year tenure at Valencia and a brief stint at Spartak Moskva. He has been in charge of more UEFA Europa League games than any other coach, this being his 67th.
• Handed the position of BATE head coach in June 2018 as a replacement for Oleg Dulub, Aleksei Baga was an internal appointment, having served as assistant for seven years. A former defender, he also spent most of his playing career at BATE, winning league titles in 2002 and 2006, the latter coupled with a domestic cup victory, before ending his career – after a brief spell in Latvia – with Dinamo Brest.