EL Grp B
Date: 8 p.m. Oct. 29, 2020
Venue:
3 - 0
FT

Joe Willock 42' -
Scored: 42'


Joe Willock 44' -
Scored: 44'


Nicolas Pépé 46' -
Scored: 46'



Europa League Preview: Arsenal -v- Dundalk

Wed, Oct 28 2020

None Credit: Clare McCahill

ARSENAL

While Arsenal had started the season relatively well, winning their opening three fixtures in the Premier League, it’s fair to say it’s been tough going following the international break for the London based side.

A 1-0 loss to Manchester City, in which they failed to put their opposition under sustained pressure and failed to create many quality changes marked the first of a trend of sluggish performances. A scrappy 2-1 win against Rapid Wien, which they were losing prior to the introduction of first-team regulars Héctor Bellerín and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, in their opening Europa League fixtures slowed their decline somewhat but a disallowed goal and a gapping miss from striker Alexandre Lacazette were their best chances this past weekend, as they slipped once more to defeat, falling 1-0 to a Jamie Vardy inspired Leicester City.

Manager Mikel Arteta has been lauded for his defensive set-up ever since he took over the role in December. While they had no issues scoring last season, an attempt at a more regimented attacking system has taken some of the spark away from a star-studded front line.

Their main signing of the summer, midfielder Thomas Partey, has only two starts to his name, yet he has already impressed with his debut against Rapid Wien where he controlled the game throughout. The game against Leicester, however, saw him being somewhat bypassed, with the majority of balls in midfield going to teammate Granit Xhaka, who’s willingness and ability to take the ball forward has come under fire. 

With a trip away to Manchester United on Sunday, the big guns are unlikely to make an appearance, but similar to the game against Rapid Wien, they’ll be on the bench to call upon if things get ugly.

DUNDALK

Similar to Arsenal, Dundalk head into tomorrow’s game off the back of a 1-0 defeat, with Waterford’s John Martin scoring the only goal in Saturday’s game. 

It’s been a difficult season for Dundalk. Coming off the League and League Cup double last season, expectations would have been high for the 2020 season. 

While their league campaign may not have gone exactly to plan, their European adventure over the past few weeks has been captivating. Following the sacking of Vinny Perth in August, all eyes were on Europe, as Perth’s successor Filippo Giovagnoli guided the Lilywhites through three qualifying rounds to make the group stages. 

Their opening game of the group against Molde could not have started better for Dundalk with Sean Murray opening the scoring with a beautifully struck header across the keeper and into the far corner. Dundalk were unlucky not to score another, but their second half performance failed to reach the heights of the first, and they fell to a 2-1 loss.

Dundalk are likely to pitch a relatively unchanged squad from the side that faced Molde, with goalkeeper Gary Roger’s expected to come back into the side between having sat out the League defeat to Waterford on Sunday.

This is a chance for a season full of false starts and missed chances to be completely forgotten, and for Dundalk to write another chapter into their recent impressive history. It’s just unfortunate their fans cannot be there with them to savour the experience.

MATCH STATS

Arsenal have been struggling in front of goal recently, with only four goals in their last five games, two of which were scored by winger Nicolas Pépé against Sheffield United.

This is the first time Arsenal have ever played an Irish club team.

Dundalk haven’t played an English team since 1982, when they faced Liverpool in Round One of the European Cup.

Dundalk have faced English opposition three times in competitive competition, the first of which was Liverpool in the 1979 Inter-Cities Fair Cup. 

All three fixtures had both home and away legs, and the aggregate score across these six fixtures, Dundalk are beaten 21-2.

PREDICTION

Arsenal 3 - 1 Dundalk

Arsenal

Injured: Callum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli, Rob Holding, David Luiz.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.

Dundalk

Injured: Dane Massey.

Doubtful: Nathan Oduwa.

Suspended: None.


Arsenal
Runar Alex Runarsson
Goalkeeper
Cédric Soares
Defender
Shkodran Mustafi
60'
60Subbed Off: Dani Ceballos 60'
Defender
Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Defender
Sead Kolasinac
Defender
Joe Willock
Scored: 42'
Scored: 44'
Midfielder
Mohamed Elneny
Midfielder
© Granit Xhaka
74'
74Subbed Off: Kieran Tierney 74'
Midfielder
Nicolas Pépé
Scored: 46'
60'
60Subbed Off: Willian 60'
Forward
Eddie Nketieh
74'
74Subbed Off: Folarin Balogun 74'
Forward
Reiss Nelson
Forward

Substitutes
Kieran Tierney
74'
74Subbed On: Granit Xhaka 74'
Defender
Bukayo Saka
Forward
Thomas Partey
Midfield
Gabriel Martinelli
Forward
Bernd Leno
Goalkeeper
Alexandre Lacazette
Forward
Karl Hein
Goalkeeper
Dani Ceballos
60'
60Subbed On: Shkodran Mustafi 60'
Midfield
Willian
60'
60Subbed On: Nicolas Pépé 60'
Midfield
Héctor Bellerín
Defender
Folarin Balogun
74'
74Subbed On: Eddie Nketieh 74'
Unknown
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Forward
Dundalk
Gary Rogers
Goalkeeper
3 Brian Gartland
Defender
21 Daniel Cleary
Defender 53'
53Subbed Off: Sean Hoare 53'
44 Andy Boyle
Defender
5 Chris Shields ©
Midfielder 61'
61Subbed Off: Sean Gannon 61'
16 Sean Murray
Midfielder 46'
46Subbed Off: Greg Sloggett 46'
8 John Mountney
Midfielder
11 Patrick McEleney
Midfielder 53'
53Subbed Off: Jordan Flores 53'
23 Cameron Dummigan
Midfielder
9 Patrick Hoban
Forward
7 Michael Duffy
Forward 70'
70Subbed Off: Stefan Colovic 70'

Substitutes
10 Greg Sloggett
Midfield 46'
46Subbed On: Sean Murray 46'
17 Nathan Oduwa
Midfield
29 David McMillan
Forward
20 Aaron McCarey
Goalkeeper
15 Darragh Leahy
Defender
27 Daniel Kelly
Forward
4 Sean Hoare
Defender 53'
53Subbed On: Daniel Cleary 53'
2 Sean Gannon
Defender 61'
61Subbed On: Chris Shields 61'
6 Jordan Flores
Midfield 53'
53Subbed On: Patrick McEleney 53'
Jimmy Corcoran
Goalkeeper
22 Stefan Colovic
Forward 70'
70Subbed On: Michael Duffy 70'