Arsenal v Crvena zvezda background

Arsenal know they will be in the round of 32 with two games to spare if they record a second successive victory against Crvena zvezda on matchday four.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere challenges Crvena zvezda's Slavoljub Srnić during matchday three
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere challenges Crvena zvezda's Slavoljub Srnić during matchday three ©Getty Images

UEFA Europa League Group H appears to be Arsenal's for the taking after the London club registered their third successive victory in beating Crvena zvezda 1-0 in Belgrade. Another win on matchday four will seal the Gunners' place in the round of 32 with two games to spare.

Previous meetings
• Olivier Giroud's spectacular 85th-minute strike settled a tight matchday three encounter in the Serbian capital as Arsenal took advantage of Crvena zvezda defender Milan Rodić's dismissal – for a second yellow card offence – five minutes earlier.

• The teams had previously met in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup third round, Branko Stanković's Crvena zvezda winning 1-0 in Belgrade – with Cvijetin Blagojević the scorer – and then making it through to the next round thanks to a 1-1 draw against Terry Neill's men at Highbury, where Dušan Savić's late effort cancelled out an Alan Sunderland goal.

• Apart from their encounters with Crvena zvezda, Arsenal's only other meetings with Serbian opponents were a pair of 3-1 wins against Partizan in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage, with Theo Walcott among the scorers in the home fixture.

• Crvena zvezda's record in 17 matches against English sides is W6 D5 L6. Their only win in eight outings on English soil came back in 1973, when they beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield in what proved to be a seminal defeat for the Merseyside club – their first home loss in the European Cup.

Form guide
• Arsenal have won all of their opening three Group H matches; they have not lost (over 90 minutes) in eight UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League games (W7 D1) since a 2-1 reverse at Deportivo La Coruña in March 2000.

Watch Giroud's stunning winner on matchday three
Watch Giroud's stunning winner on matchday three

• Crvena zvezda have won twice on the road in this European campaign, posting 1-0 victories at Sparta Praha in the third qualifying round and at Köln on matchday two of the group stage. Their other three European away fixtures this term have yielded two draws and one defeat (3-2 at Krasnodar in the play-offs).

• Arsenal are making their UEFA Europa League group stage debut; their last campaign in this competition was the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, which ended unhappily when they lost on penalties to Galatasaray in the final.

• Second in Serbia last term, and UEFA Cup runners-up in 1978/79, Crvena zvezda last reached the group stage in 2007/08, when they lost all four matches.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Belgrade to London is around 1,700km.

• Crvena zvezda are one of three teams to have made it all the way from the first qualifying round to the group stage this season, along with Skënderbeu and Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

• Crvena zvezda's Richmond Boakye was the seven-goal joint-top scorer in UEFA Europa League qualifying this summer – level with Trakai's Maksim Maksimov.

• Crvena zvezda club captain Nenad Milijaš had three seasons in England with Wolverhampton Wanderers (2009–12).

• Sent off on matchday three, Rodić misses this game through suspension.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Guelor Kanga, Srdjan Babić (Crvena zvezda).

The coaches
• Arsène Wenger has been Arsenal boss since 1996, leading the Gunners to three English titles, seven FA Cups and the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. An unremarkable player, he made his name as a coach with Nancy and Monaco in his native France.

• Vladan Milojević returned to Crvena zvezda in June 2017, having played for the club in 1996. He spent much of his playing career in Greece with Panathinaikos and Iraklis, and headed back there as coach of Panionios in 2016/17.

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