UEL: Iwobi edges closer to knockout phase with Arsenal - FCNaija

Europa League By: Ambrose Udeme | 02/11/2017

Super Eagles star Alex Iwobi and his Arsenal team-mates return UEFA Europa League action on Thursday night and will reach the knockout stages of the competition with a win when Red Star Belgrade visit the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger who has won all three Group H games so far is expected to continue to rotation of his squad. Iwobi, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud are all likely to come into the team - with Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez rested for the big clash against Manchester City on Sunday.

The hosts would qualify for the last 32 if they draw with Crvena Zvezda - commonly known as Red Star Belgrade - and Bate Borisov do not beat Cologne. Arsenal, who are fifth in the Premier League, visit unbeaten leaders Manchester City on Sunday.

Team news

Sead Kolasinac is also unlikely to feature against Red Star due to a hip problem, although Wenger revealed the wing back, who scored and laid on the winning goal in the 2-1 victory over Swansea City on Saturday, is expected to recover in time for the trip to City.

Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring), Sead Kolasinac (hip), Santi Cazorla (ankle), Danny Welbeck and David Ospina (both groin) are all out injured against Crvena Zvezda.

For the visitors, left-back Milan Rodic is serving a one-match suspension after picking up a red card when the two clubs met last month.


Olivier Giroud's spectacular 85th-minute strike settled a tight matchday three encounter in the Serbian capital as Arsenal took advantage of Crvena zvezda defender Milan Rodić's dismissal – for a second yellow card offence – five minutes earlier.

The teams had previously met in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup third round, Branko Stanković's Crvena zvezda winning 1-0 in Belgrade – with Cvijetin Blagojević the scorer – and then making it through to the next round thanks to a 1-1 draw against Terry Neill's men at Highbury, where Dušan Savić's late effort cancelled out an Alan Sunderland goal.

Form guide

Arsenal who are making their UEFA Europa League group stage debut have won all of their opening three Group H matches; they have not lost (over 90 minutes) in eight UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League games (W7 D1) since a 2-1 reverse at Deportivo La Coruña in March 2000.

Red Star have won twice on the road in this European campaign, posting 1-0 victories at Sparta Praha in the third qualifying round and at Köln on matchday two of the group stage. Their other three European away fixtures this term have yielded two draws and one defeat (3-2 at Krasnodar in the play-offs).

Arsenal boss - Arsene Wenger

"Both of the teams do well. Even in training, when we play them against each other, it's very tight. I've gone into a rotation policy and I want to stick to that at the moment.

"I must say I am pleased with the quality of our performances in every single competition. It's very difficult to make a change. They all want competition, they all deserve competition because of their quality.

"If you look at the number of minutes played by all of these players since the start of the season, many of them are in very competitive shape and that should be an advantage for the rest of the season." Wenger said as quoted by BBC Sports


Arsenal 3-0 Red Star