Arsenal’s Europa League journey sees them take on Irish opposition for the first time in European competition as Mikel Arteta’s side welcome Dundalk to the Emirates on Thursday at 8pm.
This may be a new experience for the Gunners, but Dundalk have made the journey to north London before, facing Tottenham in the 1981/82 European Cup Winners’ Cup, with a second-half Garth Crooks goal deciding that fixture at White Hart Lane.
Arteta will be hoping to mirror that result later this week and maintain his side’s unbeaten start to Group B, with the Gunners pulling off a 2-1 win at Rapid Vienna on matchday one, thanks to goals from David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Dundalk, meanwhile, came up short against Molde, losing 2-1 at the Tallaght Stadium in south Dublin, but manager Filippo Giovagnoli will be eager to pull off a shock result against the Londoners and keep things interesting in Group B.
Where to watch Arsenal vs Dundalk on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 2
- US: TUDN
Where to live stream Arsenal vs Dundalk:
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Arsenal & Dundalk’s previous line-ups:
- Arsenal (vs Leicester): Leno; Luiz*, Gabriel, Xhaka; Bellerin, Partey, Ceballos, Tierney; Aubameyang, Saka, Lacazette.
- Dundalk (vs Waterford): McCarey; Gartland, Dummigan, Boyle, Mountney; Flores, Duffy, Murray, Shields; Colovic, McMillan.
Arteta is likely to be without Luiz, who was withdrawn at half time against Leicester at the weekend, while Willian faces a late fitness test. Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari and Gabriel Martinelli remain long-term absentees for the Gunners.
Players to watch:
- Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang became only the sixth player since 2009/10 to net 20 Europa League goals with his winner against Rapid Vienna last week and he will be determined to add to his tally after falling significantly below expectations in the Premier League. Since opening his account for the season on matchday one against Fulham, the Arsenal captain has endured a barren run of five league games without a goal, almost uncharted territory for the usually prolific forward. Hoping to gain some momentum to recapture his finishing touch, Aubameyang may look to this game as a chance to get back amongst the goals and build some much-needed confidence ahead of a blockbuster battle against Manchester United this weekend.
- Dundalk: It was a gruelling journey through the qualifiers to reach the group phases for the Lilywhites, but wins over Inter Club d’Escaldes, Sheriff Tiraspol and Ki Klaksvik got the job done for Giovagnoli. And no player was as influential through those preliminary rounds than former Watford midfielder Sean Murray. The 27-year-old bagged the equalising goal to set up a penalty shootout win over Sheriff Tiraspol, while he also netted and assisted in the 3-1 triumph over Ki Klaksvik in the final stage. With experience in England, Giovagnoli will likely be turning to his midfield stalwart for guidance and a bit of inspiration in the middle of the park when they travel to London.
Scoreline prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Dundalk
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