ST ALBANS, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 04: of Arsenal during the Arsenal training session ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group B stage match between Arsenal FC and Molde FK at London Colney on November 04, 2020 in St Albans, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

 

Morning all.

Molde FK, one of Norway’s top flight football clubs. Four time League Champions in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2019. Norwegian FA Cup winners in 1994, 2005, 2013 and 2014. The only Norwegian club to have taken part in the Champions League. Ole Gunnar Solskjær both played for and managed them. Thanks Wiki.

The only football fixture and result of any significance to Arsenal and it’s fans is their Europa Cup fixtures this season. The first was a 2-1 away win against Dundalk, the second a 1-0 defeat of Rapid Vienna. Rapid Vienna were expected to be the toughest fixture for Arsenal in this group but perhaps that’s not to be the case. Perhaps tonight’s opponents will prove to be a tougher challenge.

Mikel Arteta:

Their strengths are that they work really well as a team. They are a really strong, physical team. They are really well organised. I would say defensively, they are really hard to beat when they get in this middle-low block. They have some creative players who are dangerous in the final third and they’re a real threat on set-pieces as well. The table now is really tight, we’ve both won both games so it will probably the most difficult game that we’ve played so far in the competition.

This what football is about, especially the Europa Cup. ‘Smaller’ clubs are in the mix but many of them have a big attitude and sometimes that can cause an upset. 11-16 players who give 100% from start to finish can often be more successful on any one night than a group of overpaid egos who think they only have to turn up to win.

There’s no chance of any Arsenal players approaching this game tonight thinking it’s already won. Mikel Arteta will make sure of that. Regardless of who plays, they’ll be drilled and ready for the challenge ahead.

Joe Willock was present at Mikel Arteta’s press conference yesterday so he’s bound to start but as for the rest, who knows but I’d imagine the squad will look similar to the one which defeated Dundalk.

I hope we see more of the younger players. The energy and enthusiasm they bring. Their directness too with Nelson and Willock unafraid to run at defenders. We just have to be careful at the back though. No giving away silly fouls in dangerous areas as Molde have a big strong striker in Ohi Omoijuanfo. All 6’ 2” of him is dangerous. Arsenal too have a big old unit up front if Mikel Arteta opts to play him. Folarin Balogun, who came on from the bench in our last Europa League fixture. It’s hard to believe our American centre forward has been at Arsenal for nine years now. David Luiz is back fit, Mustafi is available and I expect Xhaka and Ceballos will at least be in the squad. Cedric, Kolasinac, Willian, Pepe, Runarsson and Eddie too. ESR if he’s fit.

Our second string should have enough in them to send Molde back to Norway with nothing.

See you in the comments guys.