15 February 2019
BATE Borisov welcome Arsenal to the Borisov Arena in Barysaw for the first leg of the Europa League last-32 tie.
The hosts have reached the Europa League knockout stage as the runners-up in Group L, mainly thanks to two impressive 2-goal-margin wins over MOL Vidi and PAOK in the final two fixtures of the group phase. However, BATE Borisov’s last competitive game dates back to mid-December, which could represent a major problem for the Belarus outfit. Another potential issue could be BATE’s poor home displays in Europe that have seen them lose two of three home clashes this term (W1, D2). Alyaksey Baha can still rely on the fact his men won seven of their last nine home games across all competitions (W7, L2), scoring 2+ match goals five times in the process.
Meanwhile, the visitors are struggling for consistency in 2019 having lost three of eight competitive meetings (W5, D3) while keeping a clean sheet only twice along the way. The Gunners’ main strength remains his attack that has bagged over 1.5 goals per match, three times in their last five games across all competitions. However, a principal worry for Unai Emery is a fragile defense that has failed to keep a clean slate on every single Premier League road trip although they have finished the Europa League group stage without conceding a goal away from home. Emery should be happy to know his side utterly outplayed BATE Borisov two years ago when the two faced-off in the EL group phase, securing two wins with a stunning + goal difference (S10, D2).
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