Two contenders for last season's Europa League title face each other on the opening day in this year's edition. All eyes will turn to this fixture come Thursday night for any indication of how their latest Europa League campaigns will pan out as Arsenal travel to Germany to take on Eintracht Frankfurt.
The spate of Champions League games that precede the Europa League fixtures haven't gone particularly well for English teams. Liverpool losing to Napoli and Spurs drawing against Olympiacos have been reminders in particular that going away from home to a hostile ground isn't easy.
Eintracht Frankfurt have a good home record and will play with the intention to keep it. Arsenal will need to start well, but this is the toughest fixture in their group and will expect a massive fight from the German club.
Date: 19 September 2019
Time: 22:25 IST
Venue: Frankfurt Stadion
Referee: Davide Massa
Live Stream: Sony LIV
Eintracht Frankfurt: L-L-W-W-L
Eintracht Frankfurt and Arsenal have never played each other competitively on a previous occasion.
Eintracht let go of both their strikers in the summer; Luka Jovic going to Real Madrid and Sebastian Haller to West Ham. They brought in two replacements in Bas Dost and Andre Silva. But it's Goncalo Paciencia who has hit the ground running for them netting 6 goals for the club already; three of those came in Europa League qualifying.
We know that this Arsenal side has the attacking firepower to match the best in the world at their peak. That's not going to be Arsenal's worry, their focus is going to be on shoring up the leaky defence that has cost them points in all of their last three league matches. One of the answers for them has to be better shielding of the back four which could come from the likes of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi.
Both Eintracht Frankfurt and Arsenal saw their Europa League aspirations extinguished by Chelsea last season. The German club made it to the semi-finals and Arsenal came up short in the finals.
English visitors to Frankfurt have failed to win on the last five occasions, including three draws.
Betting odds (from Bet365)
Eintracht Frankfurt: 3.10
The home side have not lost a European game at the Frankfurt Stadion (including Qualifiers) in the last 16 visits form different clubs. Even their elimination at the hands of Chelsea came after two 1-1 draws led to penalties, which they lost 4-3.
Adi Hutter's side are not in particularly good form, but they can defend well, have a good goalscoring threat in Paciencia, and they're playing front of their faithful at home. It's going to take a huge amount of work for Arsenal to come away with anything from this fixture, even if it is a draw.
Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 ArsenalPublished 19 Sep 2019, 00:50 IST