Uefa Europa League - Red Star Belgrade v Arsenal: Match Preview, team news

Arsenal travel to Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League looking to bounce back from their defeat to Watford.

The 2017 UEFA Champions League group stage draw

Match: Red Star Belgrade v Arsenal

Date: Thursday, October 19

Time: 1:00 AM Friday (SGT)/ 10:30 PM Thursday (IST)/ 6:00 PM Thursday (BST)

Venue: Rajko Mitić Stadium, Belgrade

Live Stream: Starhub Go app (Singapore)/ Bt Sport App (UK)

TV Info: Eurosport (Singapore)/ Sony Six (India)/ BT Sport (UK)


The Europa League is proving to be something of a relief for Arsenal this season as their domestic campaign lurches from one disaster to the next. Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Watford brought their latest mini-revival to an end and caused the spotlight to shine once again on boss Arsene Wenger and his under-performing stars.

And the London club have a tricky little trip to Serbia to look forward to face Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League. After wins against both FC Koln and BATE Borisov, Arsene Wenger will be hoping that his team can maintain the 100% winning record that they currently boast.

Arsenal travel to Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League looking to bounce back from their defeat to Watford. In contrast, Red Star will be full of confidence, having won in the Serbian SuperLiga at the weekend after beating Macva Sabac 4-0.

A victory at Red Star Belgrade on Thursday would hand them a five-point advantage at the top of Group H and allow Wenger to ease off for the return fixtures over the coming weeks.

But the 1991 European Cup winners have proven to be tough nuts to crack so far this season, conceding only three goals in 14 matches in the Serbian SuperLiga and Europa League group stage.

Red Star Belgrade v Arsenal: Team news

Arsene Wenger will look to rotate his team from the one that played against Watford. Laurent Koscielny was taken off with an Achilles problem, however he could be fit to face Everton on Sunday. The France defender has shaken off a minor Achilles complaint but will not be risked.

Oliver Giroud could also be recalled to the starting 11, along with Theo Walcott. Jack Wilshere is also poised to start after impressing against BATE Borisov. Reiss Nelson could also be involved. Wenger's bench will include further youth products. The likes of Wilshere, Giroud and Walcott will again be asked to provide the experience and firepower, while Francis Coquelin may also feature after missing several weeks with a hamstring problem.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles looks set to join Nelson and Willock in playing a prominent role and Arsenal's bench could again be full of additional youth prospects.

Though Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey are both expected to be available after missing the trip to Watford, neither are likely to be on the flight out to Belgrade as Wenger shuffles his pack.

Ghanaian international Richmond Boakye could be one to watch for the hosts, with speculation that Chelsea have taken an interest in him. Midfielder Guelor Kanga is likely to miss out for Red Star after suffering a thigh injury.

Predicted line-up

Red Star Belgrade starting XI: Borjan; Stojkovic, Le Tallec, Babic, Gobeljic; Donald, Krsticic; Srnic, Pesic, Radonjic; Boakye

Arsenal starting XI: Cech; Holding, Mertesacker, Debuchy; Nelson, Elneny, Willock, Maitland-Niles; Walcott, Wilshere; Giroud

Red Star Belgrade v Arsenal: Head to head

The only previous meeting between the sides was in the third round of the UEFA Cup in 1978/79, when the Serbians emerged victorious over two legs. With the Serbian side qualifying 2-1 on aggregate, Cvijetin Blagojevic scoring the second leg winner after a 1-1 draw at Highbury.

Red Star have lost just once in their last 11 games in European competition (including qualifiers), winning six (D4).

Red Star have won five of their previous eight European home games against English sides, their only defeat came against Bolton in December 2007 in the UEFA Cup, courtesy of a goal from Gavin McCann.

Arsenal have kept just one clean sheet in 13 previous away games in the Europa League/UEFA Cup (vs Panathinaikos in 1981). However, the Gunners have won their last three on the road, after losing five of the previous six (D1).