Molde will hope to continue an impressive run of home form in Europe as they host an Arsenal side that beat them 4-1 in north London last time out.
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Molde will hope to continue an impressive run of home form in Europe as they host an Arsenal side that beat them 4-1 in north London last time out, have yet to drop a point in Group B and could secure their place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 with a positive result in Norway.
• It was Molde who scored first at the Arsenal Stadium on Matchday 3, through Martin Ellingsen's spectacular long-range strike, but two own goals turned the game in the home side's favour before Nicolas Pépé and Joe Willock, who had also both scored in a 3-0 home win against Dundalk the previous week, cemented Arsenal's third win out of three. That gave them a three-point advantage over the Norwegian side at the top of the group table.
• While Matchday 3 brought Molde a first encounter with English opposition, Arsenal have been paired with Norwegian clubs twice before, beating Strømsgodset 7-1 on aggregate (3-1 a, 4-0 h) in their first ever European Champion Clubs' Cup tie, in 1970/71, and taking four points off Rosenborg in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage (1-1 a, 5-1 h).
• Champions of Norway in 2019, claiming their fourth title in nine years, Molde returned to the UEFA Europa League group stage having just missed out on a place in the UEFA Champions League. Following qualifying victories against KuPS (5-0 h), Celje (2-1 a) and Qarabağ (0-0 a, 6-5 on pens), Erling Moe's side lost out in the play-offs on away goals to Ferencváros (3-3 h, 0-0 a).
• Defeated in the UEFA Europa League play-offs in each of the past two seasons – by Zenit in 2018/19 and Partizan in 2019/20 – Molde are competing in the group stage for the third time. Bottom of their group in 2012/13, they defied the odds to top a section including Fenerbahçe, Ajax and Celtic in 2015/16 before losing to eventual winners Sevilla in the round of 32 (0-3 a, 1-0 h).
• Molde are unbeaten in 12 European home games (W9 D3), their last defeat coming against Fenerbahçe (0-2) on Matchday 5 of that 2015/16 UEFA Europa League campaign. They have kept eight clean sheets in those matches.
• Eighth in the 2019/20 Premier League, Arsenal ensured a 25th consecutive season in Europe by winning the FA Cup under new manager Mikel Arteta – the club's 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 are unbeaten in seven European away games (W5 D2) since Rennes defeated them 3-1 in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg. Their overall away record in the UEFA Europa League is W12 D3 L4; in the group stage it is W7 D2 L1, the only defeat coming at Köln (0-1) in 2017/18.
Links and trivia
• Two Molde players, Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Etzaz Hussain, spent time together in the Manchester United academy at the start of their careers (2009–11).
• Eikrem, the Molde skipper, also played in the Premier League and Championship for Cardiff City in 2014, making 13 appearances for the club in all competitions.
• Arsenal's Kieran Tierney was in the Celtic side, led by Norwegian coach Ronny Delia, that lost 2-1 at home to Molde in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Arsenal's win on Matchday 3 was their 26th in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, the most in the competition by an English club – two more than local rivals Tottenham.
• Molde surrendered their domestic title at the weekend as Bodø/Glimt were crowned champions of Norway for the first time.