Standard Liège and Arsenal meet on Matchday 6 with the English side top of Group F and in a strong position to qualify.
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Standard Liège and Arsenal meet on Matchday 6 of Group F with the English side topping the section and in a strong position to qualify, but their Belgian hosts, who trail them by three points, are still in with a chance of going through to the round of 32.
• Standard have won both of their previous two Group F encounters in Liege, beating Vitória SC 2-0 and Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1, but the German club's Matchday 5 win in north London not only prevented Arsenal from sealing their place in the knockout phase – and led to the departure of head coach Unai Emery – but also served to dent the hopes of Standard, who held Vitória 1-1 in Portugal on the same evening.
• Arsenal, who have ten points, will be through with a win or draw, and can even afford to lose by up to a four-goal margin irrespective of the outcome of the other final Group F fixture between Frankfurt, who have nine points, and Vitória, who are out of contention with two. The Gunners beat Standard 4-0 at home and also boast a commanding goal-difference advantage, which would benefit them in the case of a three-way tie should Standard beat them and Frankfurt draw against Vitória. Only if Frankfurt lose can Standard be certain to go through with a win; regardless of the outcome in Germany the Belgian side will be eliminated if they do not beat Arsenal.
• Arsenal were comprehensive winners against Standard on Matchday 2, an early double from 18-year-old Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli on his European debut paving the way for a victory sealed by further goals from Joe Willock and Dani Ceballos.
• The Gunners have now won all five UEFA encounters against Les Rouches, including a 7-0 success in Liege in the second round of the 1993/94 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup that still stands as their biggest European away win and Standard's heaviest European home defeat.
• Standard have won just twice in 15 competitive matches against English opposition, both at home, the most recent of them 2-1 against Everton in the first round of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup – a result that took them through after a 2-2 first-leg draw in Liverpool.
• Arsenal have won three of their four games in Belgium, including each of the last three, the most recent 2-1 at Anderlecht in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League group stage when they were a goal down entering the 89th minute.
• Standard's third place in the 2018/19 Belgian league earned them direct qualification for this season's group stage.
• The Liege club have competed in the UEFA Europa League group stage in five previous campaigns, but have only once made further progress, at the first attempt in 2011/12, when they went through to the round of 16. They were also quarter-finalists in the inaugural 2009/10 season after switching over mid-campaign from the UEFA Champions League. Last season they failed to get into the knockout phase despite picking up ten points in a group that contained Sevilla, Krasnodar and Akhisar.
• Standard have won only eight of their 17 UEFA Europa League home group stage matches (D5 L4), but have taken three points from each of their last five and are now unbeaten in 11 European home fixtures (W7 D4) since losing 0-3 to Feyenoord in December 2014.
• UEFA Champions League ever-presents for 19 successive seasons 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 Madrid, before going one step further and making it to last season's final, where they were defeated 4-1 by London rivals Chelsea.
• Fifth place in the 2018/19 Premier League secured a third successive UEFA Europa League group stage berth for the Gunners, who had won five European games in a row – one against Rennes, two apiece against Napoli and Valencia – before the defeat in Baku.
• The 1999/2000 UEFA Cup runners-up won all three away fixtures without conceding in last season's group stage, having won two out of three in 2017/18, a 0-1 defeat at Köln the lone exception. This season they have won 3-0 in Frankfurt and drawn 1-1 in Guimaraes, making their overall away record in the UEFA Europa League W10 D2 L4.
Links and trivia
• Standard midfielder Gojko Cimirot and Arsenal left-back Sead Kolašinac are national team-mates for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
• Standard's Paul-José Mpoku was on the books of Arsenal's local rivals Tottenham Hotspur early in his career, spending 2010/11 on loan at Leyton Orient.
• Standard full-back Mërgim Vojvoda scored an own goal in Kosovo's 5-3 defeat by England in a UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier in Southampton this September.
• Arsenal's next victory in the UEFA Europa League will be their 23rd in the competition, setting a new record for an English club. They are currently level on 22 with Tottenham.
• A former goalkeeper who played 58 times for the Belgian national team, Michel Preud'homme started out with Standard, winning two league titles with the club, before making further waves with Mechelen, notably in their European Cup Winners' Cup triumph of 1987/88. He has enjoyed similar success as a coach, winning trophies with every club he has managed, most recently the 2015/16 Belgian league with Club Brugge. This is his third spell in charge at Standard, his return in May 2018 coming after ten years away.
• Fredrik 'Freddie' Ljungberg was installed as Arsenal's interim head coach on 29 November following Emery's dismissal. A former Swedish international who scored 14 goals in 75 appearances for his country and appeared in five successive major tournaments from 2000 to 2008, he has a long association with Arsenal, having spent the bulk of his playing career there, winning two Premier League titles and three FA Cups. Since retiring he has also had two spells on the club's coaching staff, returning in June 2018 after spending six months of the previous year as an assistant at Wolfsburg.