Arsenal made light work of BATE in the 2017/18 group stage and will be looking for a similar outcome in this season's round of 32.
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BATE Borisov and Arsenal meet in the UEFA Europa League for the second successive season, the English club hoping for a repeat of the results in the 2017/18 group stage as they seek a place in the round of 16 for the second year in a row.
• 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. Arsenal cruised through to the round of 32 from Group E, dropping just two points as they qualified with two games to spare.
• 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 – whereas just one of BATE's two scorers, Marko Ivanić, remains with the Borisov side.
• 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, with both home games against Everton in 2009/10 (1-2) and Chelsea this season (0-1) ending in narrow defeats.
• 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). They have therefore failed to score in their last three knockout phase encounters.
• The Borisov side ended a run of five European home fixtures without a win – and three successive defeats – by defeating Vidi 2-0 on matchday five. The club's overall home record in the UEFA Europa League, qualifying included, is W6 D5 L7.
• 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 won all three of their away fixtures in this season's group stage. Their away record in two UEFA Europa League campaigns is W7 D1 L2, with 19 goals scored and just six conceded.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Bojan Dubajić, Nemanja Milić, Dmitri Bessmertny
Out: Aleksei Chernykh, Luwagga Kizito, Mikhail Gordeichuk, Nemanja Milunović, Deni Polyakov, Nikolai Signevich, Maksim Volodko
In: Denis Suárez
Out: Emile Smith Rowe, Emiliano Martínez, Konstantinos Mavropanos
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.
• Arsenal are on a run of five successive clean sheets in the competition. One more will break the all-time UEFA Europa League record that they currently share with Napoli and Salzburg.
• In addition to keeping the most clean sheets in this season's group stage, Arsenal conceded the joint fewest goals 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.
• 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 this season's group stage undefeated, the others being Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Betis, Villarreal, Eintracht Frankfurt and Chelsea.
• BATE scored nine goals in the group stage and Igor Stasevich provided assists for six of them, the most in the competition.
• 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.
• 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 66th.