Manuel Veth –
Frankfurt vs Arsenal – Thursday, September 19, 17:55BST/18:55CEST – Waldstadion, Frankfurt, Germany
It was not a positive return for Eintracht Frankfurt from the international break. The Eagles visited FC Augsburg on the weekend and suffered a 2-1 defeat against one of the Bundesliga relegation candidates.
“We were asleep for a lot of the first half and deserved to be 2-0 down at half-time,” Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Adi Hütter said after the game on Saturday. “Even though we had good opportunities with Gonçalo Paciência’s effort that hit the post and Daichi Kamada’s shot, our defending for the goals and in transition generally was poor. It’s very rare for us to be as naïve as we were in that first half.”
Nonetheless, Hütter was happy with the reaction in the second half. Eintracht Frankfurt were the better team and perhaps a bit unlucky to not walk away with a result. “That’s why the reaction after the break pleased me. We were a very different side in the second half and were much more dominant,” Hütter added.
“When Augsburg won possession, they played direct balls into the channels and overran us with the fast players they have,” midfielder Dominik Kohr said after the game. “Overall, it’s frustrating to go home with nothing. I’m sure we’ll see a very different game on Thursday,” Hütter concluded.
That is perhaps the lesson for Eintracht Frankfurt ahead of the game against Arsenal. Although the Eagles are usually very good when defending deep and switching quickly to counter-attacking football, it is not a strategy without risk.
Arsenal without a doubt will want to exploit some of the weaknesses that Augsburg laid open over the weekend. The problem, however, for the Gunners is that they have been far from consistent this season. Under manager, Unai Emery Arsenal have been a mix of promising and disastrous this season despite going out on a spending spree.
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The Gunners spent €152,4 million on new players this summer and had an overall net spend of just under €100 million. Star winger Nicolas Pépé has added some glamour to the attack, but defenders William Saliba, Kieran Tierney and David Luiz have done very little to stabilise Arsenal’s defence.
As a result, the Gunners are in seventh place with just eight points from the first eight games. They have also played the sort of football Eintracht Frankfurt have happily exploited in the past, make no mistake Luka Jović, Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebić might be gone, but sporting director Fredi Bobić has once again assembled a squad that can play fast attacking style football.
Frankfurt vs Arsenal – Players to look out for:
Bas Dost #9 – Eintracht Frankfurt
Signed from Sporting, Bas Dost was brought in to replace Haller. The Dutch striker is no stranger to the Bundesliga, having previously played for Wolfsburg. Although already in his 30s the Dutch forward is in many ways a perfect replacement for Haller and although he was left off the scoresheet this weekend managed a goal in his first appearance for the club ahead of the international break.
Nicolas Pépé #19 – Arsenal
Nicolas Pépé was linked to an army of top clubs throughout the summer. Liverpool and Bayern Munich were among the clubs that wanted the Lille winger. But for one reason or another many top clubs decided that Pépé was not quite of the level required for their respective teams. In the end, Arsenal signed Pépé in a transfer worth €80 million. Overall, however, the results thus far have been disappointing, the Ivorian has been without a goal and assists in five English Premier League games.
Frankfurt vs Arsenal – Match Stats
- Despite the clubs’ European pedigree, they have never previously faced each other in UEFA competition.
- Eintracht are unbeaten in five matches against English visitors but have drawn three of them, including 1-1 against Chelsea in the first leg of last season’s semi-final. They also drew the return leg at Stamford Bridge by the same score before losing 4-3 on penalties.
- Arsenal have played 38 UEFA matches against German clubs with the record W17 D6 L15. Their last four fixtures on German soil have all ended in defeat, most recently at Köln (0-1) in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League group stage, the previous two having been 5-1 routs in the UEFA Champions League at Bayern München.
- Arsenal’s all-time away record in Germany is W5 D5 L9.
- Eintracht’s overall record in the UEFA Europa League, home and away and including qualifying, is an eye-catching W21 D6 L3. Their home record in the competition is an equally impressive W12 D3, with only Porto, Inter and Chelsea – UEFA Champions League winners all – having denied them victory.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Frankfurt vs Arsenal – 2-1
Frankfurt vs Arsenal – Lineups
Trapp – Abraham, Hasebe, Hinteregger – da Costa, Kohr, Rode, Kostic – Kamada – Dost, Silva
Head Coach: Adi Hütter
Leno; Maitland-Niles, Chambers, David Luiz, Kolasinac – Torreira, Guendouzi, Ceballos – Nelson, Aubameyang, Pépé
Head Coach: Unai Emery
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.