Arsenal will aim to continue their perfect start to proceedings in Europa League Group A when they travel to Norway to meet Bodo/Glimt this evening.
The two sides reconvene after the Gunners ran out 3-0 winners last week, which has left Kjetil Knutsen’s side battling with PSV Eindhoven for second place in the standings.
Even when the writing was on the wall at the Emirates, the travelling Bodo/Glimt supporters were in full voice throughout the evening, but their unwavering support could not prevent their side from going down 3-0 to the rampant Premier League leaders.
Eddie Nketiah’s finish, Rob Holding’s header and Fabio Vieira’s first European goal for Arsenal condemned Bodo/Glimt to a humbling defeat in North London, and their knockout fate is now out of their own hands with half of their games gone.
The Norwegian champions find themselves level on points with PSV Eindhoven in third place in the Group A standings – both picking up four apiece so far – but the Dutch outfit still have a game in hand and will expect to run out comfortable winners over FC Zurich later this week.
Knutsen’s side could still upset the apple cart in the Europa League but are firmly at risk of dropping down to the Europa Conference League for a second consecutive season, and they warmed up for this game in ideal fashion with a 4-1 Eliteserien victory over Sandefjord on Sunday.
However, that success marked Bodo/Glimt’s eighth game in a row without a clean sheet in any tournament, but they have countered such frailties with a 16-game scoring streak on home soil since May, and such proficiency must be at its peak if they are to shock the Gunners.
Incredibly, Bodo/Glimt have won each of their last 14 home games in European competition and could now equal a 15-match victorious run from Barcelona, which ended in 2017, but that record is certainly at risk of coming to an end against an Arsenal side who are daring to dream.
Critics of Arsenal’s brilliant start to the season were quick to point out that the Gunners had not yet faced any real tests to their Premier League supremacy, but such talk has quietened down with back-to-back wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, even if the latter success was full of controversy.
Two goals from Bukayo Saka and a quick-fire opener from Gabriel Martinelli ultimately saw Arsenal end their recent hoodoo against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, and Mikel Arteta’s youthful crop are still holding off Manchester City at the top of the Premier League standings, but there is still just one point in it.
Talk of a Premier League title challenge is still very premature for Arsenal, whose goal of going all the way in the Europa League is still well and truly alive after their previous failed ventures, and they could find themselves five points clear at the top of Group A if results go their way here.
With their winning streak in all competitions now standing at five matches, Arsenal travel to Norway aiming to score away from home in the Europa League for the 17th game running, and several players will aim to stake their claims for more prominent roles in the Gunners’ domestic push. – SportsMole
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Bodo/Glimt v Arsenal
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