In-depth analysis of Arsenal’s Europa League opponents

Let’s be honest, however the Europa League Draw yesterday had gone we would be huge favourites to progress to the knock-out stages.

Our group allows Arteta to carry on the policy of previous regimes where essentially we should be able to field an entirely different 11 in the Europa League to the one who starts in the Premiership. Our biggest obstacle of winning the competition is finding out who drops down from the Champions League.

My biggest takeaway from Group B is if ever there were two fixtures which underlined how crowds are missed in stadiums, then it’s got to be Dundalk home and away. Imagine the noise the Irish would make at the Emirates? As for Gooners who love an away day, you could have had a long weekend in Ireland.

Anyway here is more of a detailed breakdown of our 3 opponents by using my contacts and sources…

Rapid Vienna
Rapid will be disappointed to be in the Europa League as they only had to beat Genk to be in the Champions League. A young team, with only one player over the age of 30. They are the most successful team in Austria with 32 titles although the last was 12 years ago, their last major trophy.

Salzburg have replaced them as the powerhouse In that country. In fact the last two decades have been their least productive having dominated previously. It will be a huge blow for them not to have their fans at the Allianz Stadium. Their ultras are famous throughout the world for a slow clap in the final 15 minutes of games regardless of the score line. That’s often been credited for Vienna’s amount of late goals. Of course that won’t be a factor till next year at the earliest.

In their current squad only 7 are not domestic based players yet very few have senior caps which should tell you the level they are at.

In fact their best talent is probably from Greece, Taxiarchis Fountas, who scored 22 goals in 30 games last season.

Knocked out in the last 32 of this competition was their best run in Europe since 1996. At this stage of the Europa League 12 months ago, Rapid did get results against Rangers, Moscow and Villarreal but an intimidating atmosphere played a huge part in that. They will miss their ‘Ultra Rapids’ who would have at least mentally tested our youngsters.

Molde
Molde are another team who failed at the final stage to be in Champions League. Former player and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will no doubt give as much advice to his old club in how to prepare for the Gunners.

While in England many question Ole ‘only winning two Norwegian titles’, it was a big deal in the country. That was the club’s first ever top flight titles, making this easily their most successful decade (4-time Champions).

In 1999 Molde became only the second Norwegian club to play in the Champions League but since, their European record is mostly losing in the qualifying rounds of CL and Europa League it would be shock if they beat us. Put it this way, they just failed to beat the Champions of Hungary over two legs.

Keep an eye on attacking midfielder Magnus Wolf Eikrem. He had such a high reputation he moved to Man United at the age 16. Now 30 he has since re-joined his boyhood club.

Dundalk
As already alluded too, this Fixture loses so much romance with games played behind closed doors. Dundalk’s Stadium has a capacity of 3,100, so it would have been like an old-fashioned FA Cup tie (although I’m sure they would have been offered to play in their national stadium).

Of course they will make huge money from UEFA and TV companies but it’s a shame they couldn’t have a sell out at the AVIVA stadium for example.

To give you an idea of the gulf I am talking about. The Irish Champions were founded in 1902, their first title was in 1933, their debut in Europe was in 1964. Yet in their 117-year history it wasn’t till 2016 that they became the first Irish side to win a group game in Europe. They have advanced this far by beating KI, the Champions of the Faroe Islands.

As recently as 2012 the club were on the brink of insolvency. To be playing ‘The Arsenal’ will be the two biggest nights in their history.

Take romance out of everything, it would take some of our worse results in our history to not advance. I don’t want to sound arrogant but it’s unthinkable for that to happen.

Be very kind, maybe you could have argued that any youngster could have been intimidated by the fans at these grounds but that’s not a factor. That’s the real losers, supporters who don’t normally get the chance to visit the Emirates.

I can see it now. Our manager telling us why Ozil can’t quite make the squad for Dundalk at home!

Be Kind In the Comments.

Dan

19 Comments

  1. Sean says:

    This is why I dont understand loaning Saliba as he will play all 6 of these EL games and he needs to know how we play, hes still 19 so a season learning at Arsenal is what he needs 1st. If he isn’t doing well come xmas then loan him for rest of season to get more game time.

    We should easily top this group, possibly full points but its Arsenal so you never know with us.

    Ozil should play these games also along with Guendouzi if he cant be sold as his value will keep decreasing the more he doesnt play. Our new Keeper will get a run I’m sure too in these fixtures.

  2. Eddie says:

    Great group draws, should be easy for the B squad. Still contemplating if I’ll see one game of UEL this season, as I chose not to last season and I avoided every game.
    I hate the Europa league a lot.
    Winning it would be great and would add as an European trophy so the boys will have my support.
    I had interest in Rapid Vienna, I used to follow their games and like them as a team (Betting means I had to know the strongest teams and the teams to avoid in different leagues).
    They weren’t blowing teams away, and they’re just like one of the English mid table teams now like you said.
    They’ve digressed a lot.

    Molde would be the toughest among all but we should get a win.
    Dundalk? Well, respecting my opponents.
    I don’t see why Arsenal can’t up with at least 15 points in that group

  3. lcebox says:

    Have we not seen the last few years that rotating players for this doesn’t help us.
    We need our team to fight to play every game and the last few years resting our players hasn’t really worked out results wise has it.
    The best teams play there best players as much as they can and they keep the momentum going.

    1. Kstix says:

      You’re wrong Icebox. We played our second 11 for the past 3 seasons and they got us at least the round of 16 (quarter finals in the first 2 season, where the first team took over till the semi final and final respectively), on the contrary, the first team has always been the ones to botch all the efforts of the second 11 in the 3 seasons. Last season, our first 11 lost to olympiacos in the round of 16 where,
      had our second 11 been trusted more, might have gotten us all the way to the quarter finals. I remember an outstanding martinelli, Martinez in the europa so far, being benched for instance.

  4. Sean M says:

    Good write-up Dan. Useful and informative piece.

  5. Kstix says:

    Dan, I read on goal that UEFA was letting fans back in the stadiums for UCL, UEL and International football

    1. Admin Pat says:

      30% of crowd, but only if local guidelines agree….

      1. Dan says:

        That’s cool
        Didn’t realise that
        I think Ireland won’t , very strict on measure at the moment

  6. ken1945 says:

    Does that mean the same for our home ties then….I guess it must?!
    Imagine being one of the lucky ones to get a ticket.

  7. lcw says:

    Let’s bring Iwobi back. He is playing like a true #10.

    1. Nifty says:

      You want to bring back a headless chicken, who is only good for league 1

      1. Maxis says:

        That was harsh…lol

        1. Nifty says:

          Lol, he will never make it in football

    2. Sue says:

      One game?!

      1. lcw says:

        Actually half a game.

  8. Nifty says:

    What is going on at Arsenal

  9. Tom says:

    Hope we get knock out because we or so bad we don’t belong in any kind of European football. We’ve just a mid table team now Leeds will finish above us

  10. Wiggy says:

    El neny and willock for midfielders. Nooo.
    Arteta got no clue. Sign up Biesla! Arteta out..

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