After squeezing past Rapid Wien in their opening Group B encounter of 2020-21 Europa League, Arsenal face a tough battle as they welcome Ireland’s Dundalk to the Emirates Stadium.
Victory could send Arsenal top whilst a win for Dundalk could see the Irish club climb into the two qualification spots at Arsenal’s expense.
David Luiz is a doubt for Arsenal after being subbed in Sunday’s Premier League defeat at home to Leicester with a muscle injury.
Willian could return from a calf injury but Rob Holding (hamstring), Pablo Mari (ankle), Calum Chambers and Gabriel Martinelli (both knee) remain absent.
Dundalk will be without Dane Massey due to a hip injury but Nathan Oduwa could make the defence if he overcomes a hamstring injury in time.
- This is Arsenal’s first-ever meeting against Dundalk plus any Irish opposition in all competitions.
- Dundalk are winless in six previous meetings against English opposition in all competitions (D1, L5).
- Having lost each of their last two home European matches, Arsenal haven’t failed to win three consecutive home European games since 2002-04 seasons when they went on a six match winless home run (D4, L2).
Arsenal will be looking for a better performance in this match after wasting several chances against Leicester on Sunday despite looking defensively solid in open play, although aerial balls from the Foxes at times did seem to cause issues as they eventually discovered to their cost late on.
Dundalk meanwhile were unlucky to not snatch a point against Molde despite offering a decent showing going forward in terms of tempo and passing, because those tiny sloppy defensive mistakes were what cost them last week but highlighted room for improvement ahead of what will be a tricky test at Arsenal.
Although Dundalk clearly has something going forward in attack, I expect them to be doing most of the defending here but if they can tighten up and perhaps try and catch the Gunners out with aerial ball play, they might have a chance otherwise I can see Arsenal taking a routine win despite their defensive inconsistency.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Dundalk
Result: Arsenal 3-0 Dundalk