2020-21 UEFA Europa League Group Stage: Molde vs Arsenal

Molde welcome Arsenal to Aker Stadion in the first of a triple header to conclude Group B of 2020-21 UEFA Europa League Group Stage, with the Gunners looking to seal qualification. 

Molde can move joint top with Arsenal if they claim victory but a win would see Arsenal move onto the verge of qualification but if Dundalk avoid defeat against Rapid Wien, the Gunners will secure qualification for the knockouts.

 

Team News

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Ohi Omoijuanfo is a doubt for Molde after suffering from a bout of illness in the past week but Erling Moe expects to have a full squad available for selection, irrespective of whether Omoijuanfo features or not.

Arsenal will have Nicholas Pepe available for selection despite being sent off at Leeds on Sunday because his ban only applies to domestic matches.

Bukayo Saka (knee), Willian (muscle) and Thomas Partey (thigh) are doubts but Sead Kolasinac, Mohamed Elneny (coronavirus), Pablo Mari (ankle), Calum Chambers and Gabriel Martinelli (both knee) are ruled out.

 

Stat Attack

  • Molde lost their only previous meeting against Arsenal which came in their last Europa League outing, losing 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium earlier this month.
  • Arsenal are unbeaten in two previous competitive trips to Norway (W2, drawing with Rosenborg in September 2004 and beat Stromsgodset 3-1 in September 1971.
  • Molde have kept just one disciplinary clean sheet in five European games this season, which came in their trip to the Gunners earlier this month.

 

Prediction

Molde put in a valiant performance at Arsenal just before the international break soaking up pressure from the Gunners early on before clinically taking a rare opportunity but given Arsenal’s superior quality and presence, it was always going to be tough to hold onto that narrow lead against a team that were able to outstretch the Norwegian’s defence and two own goals were simply unlucky.

Arsenal meanwhile just lacked that sharpness of a top team at Leeds on Sunday but to their credit, their defence produced a superb effort even when demoted to ten men, which is quite rare of an Arsenal defence nowadays but I do expect them to hit back here with a stronger showing.

I however do expect Molde to have learned valuable lessons from their clash at the Emirates and deploy tighter defensive tactics so this could well be a scrappy contest but Arsenal’s quality should ultimately make the difference.

Prediction: Molde 1-2 Arsenal

Result: Molde 0-3 Arsenal

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