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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 14 October, 2019
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Lacazette sees red as Arsenal fall to surprise Europa League defeat in Belarus

Stanislav Dragun headed in the only goal of the game for BATE.

Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette.
Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette.

ARSENAL HAVE WORK to do if they are to reach the last 16 of the Europa League after slipping to a surprise 1-0 first-leg defeat to BATE in Belarus.

Unai Emery’s side were caught cold in sub-zero temperatures on the stroke of half-time, Stanislav Dragun’s header ending their run of five successive clean sheets in the competition.

Alexandre Lacazette had a potential equaliser ruled out for offside before he was shown a straight red card for throwing an elbow at Aleksandar Filipovic in the closing minutes.

Even when they had 11 men, the Premier League side struggled to capitalise on their territorial dominance, leaving them with a deficit to overturn in the return fixture next Thursday.

Considering the freezing conditions, Arsenal unsurprisingly took their time to warm to the task at hand.

The visitors’ only chance of note in the opening half saw an unmarked Lacazette carelessly head over the top after being picked out by Sead Kolasinac’s inviting cross to the back post.

Dragun did not make the same mistake at the opposite end when getting on the end of a free-kick from captain Igor Stasevich, though, giving BATE the lead with an impressive header that curved over Petr Cech.

The Gunners had been spared from conceding earlier in the game by the woodwork, Nemanja Milic flicking the ball against a post from point-blank range when trying to provide the finishing touch to Maksim Skavysh’s dangerous low delivery.

Lacazette did locate the net from another Kolasinac delivery from Arsenal’s left soon after the break, only for the referee’s assistant to correctly raise his flag against the over-eager Frenchman.

The former Lyon star also found the target when flinging his arm back into the face of Filipovic when under pressure from the defender, forcing his side to finish a frustrating evening a man down. 

What does it mean? Gunners draw a blank

Distant onlookers in the Premier League title race – fifth-placed Arsenal sit 15 points behind Manchester City and Liverpool – and knocked out of both domestic cups, Europe offers Emery his final hope of securing a trophy in his first season in charge.

The Spaniard – a Europa League specialist after lifting the trophy for three successive seasons during his time in charge of Sevilla – will expect his squad to still progress, yet this was another low in an up-and-down campaign.

Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey break down Ireland’s dogged win against Scotland in Murrayfield, and look at the room for improvement, in the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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