Oct 19, 2017 at 6pm UK at ​Red Star Stadium
Red StarRed Star Belgrade
0-1
Arsenal

Rodic (32'), Boakye (60'), Le Tallec (63'), Babic (90')
Rodic (80')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Giroud (85')
Coquelin (64'), Nelson (92')

Live Commentary: Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Arsenal - as it happened

Live Commentary: Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Arsenal - as it happened
© SilverHub
Relive Sports Mole's live coverage of Arsenal's 1-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League.

Arsenal have moved closer to qualification for the knockout stages of the Europe League courtesy of a 1-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in this evening's clash in Belgrade.

Manager Arsene Wenger made nine changes to his starting lineup, and the Gunners were largely below par against the Serbian league leaders.

However, with five minutes left, Olivier Giroud sent an overhead kick into the top corner to secure Arsenal's third successive win in Group H.

Find out how all of the action unfolded in Serbia courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.


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5.00pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the Europa League clash between Red Star Belgrade and Arsenal. It's a rare appearance in the competition for Arsene Wenger's men but already, the Gunners are in control of Group H. That said, lose this evening and it will be Red Star who will top the standings at the halfway stage. In the grand scheme of things, this is a big game. Who have Vladan Milojevic and Wenger selected in their starting lineups?

5.02pmARSENAL XI: Cech; Debuchy, Holding, Elneny; Maitland-Niles, Coquelin, Nelson, Willock; Wilshere, Giroud, Walcott

5.03pmRED STAR BELGRADE XI: Borjan, Le Tallec, Rodic, Stojkovic, Savic, Krsticic, Kanga, Donald, Radonjic, Srnic, Boakye

5.05pmThe substitutes for both clubs will follow later but for now, let's take a look at the starting lineups, beginning with Arsenal. As expected, Wenger has made mass changes but the big news involves Mathieu Debuchy, who is given his first start in 11 months. We think he is going to line up on the right-hand side of a three-man defence.

5.07pmRob Holding appears to have been given responsibility in the centre, with Mohamed Elneny dropping back onto the left. That switch enables Francois Coquelin to get some game time in the middle, with youngster Joe Willock being handed another opportunity to impress.

5.09pmThe flanks are taken up by Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson, with Jack Wilshere being used in support of Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, with the pair scoring three of Arsenal's four goals against BATE Borisov in their last European fixture.

5.11pmARSENAL SUBSTITUTES: Macey, Dasilva, Nketiah, Akpom, McGuane, Osei-Tutu, Sheaf

Wenger has again opted to fill his substitutes' bench with the younger crop. Goalkeeper David Ospina has been left in London, meaning that Matt Macey remains as deputy and Petr Cech retains his place between the sticks.


5.13pmLet's turn our attention to Red Star, whose side is headed by the talented Richmond Boakye. The 24-year-old scored seven goals to help Red Star reach the group stages, which he was also on target against FC Koln three weeks. Chelsea have allegedly sent scouts to this game to watch the forward.

5.15pmThe media were led to believe that Damir Kahriman was going to used in goal, but Milojevic opts to name regular first-teamer Milan Borjan instead. We are not sure of the reason behind the change, but Arsenal probably face a tougher task to beat the Canadian international.

5.17pmRed Star also have players with Premier League experience in their squad. Former Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Nenad Milijas features among the replacements and is effectively royalty at the Serbian club. The 34-year-old is currently enjoying his third spell after two goal-filled periods earlier in his career.

5.19pmThere's also a surprise with top goalscorer Aleksandar Pesic only featuring on the bench. The 6ft 3in striker has netted six goals from 12 appearances in the league this season, while the 25-year-old contributed an important goal against Krasnodar in the playoff round.

5.20pmThe complete bench for Red Star is as follows: Racic, Milijas, Adzic, Babic, Supic, Pesic, Gobeljic

5.22pmThe other game in this group takes place in Belarus as BATE Borisov play host to FC Koln. The two clubs have just a point between them so both Red Star and Arsenal will be hoping for a draw.

5.24pmWenger has chosen to rotate his squad for this competition but you could be forgiven for thinking that Arsenal are placing a lot of focus on winning this tournament. The English side have netted seven goals from two games and have players in their side who are desperate to impress ahead of Premier League games. The scenario would be working a treat for Wenger, if only his first-teamers were performing in the top flight.

5.26pmThat said, I'm sure that the likes of Wilshere, Walcott and Giroud wouldn't mind a game in the league. Remarkably, neither of the trio has made a single start, with Walcott and Giroud playing 47 and 156 minutes from the bench respectively, and Wilshere not featuring at all. Another positive showing tonight surely has to force Wenger's hand at the weekend?

5.28pmIt's not only the offensive-minded players which have a point to prove. Arsenal were poor at the back against BATE - so poor that BATE will know they should have scored more than two goals - and it stretched the club's run of games without a clean sheet in Europe to seven matches. It's been a year to the day since Arsenal defeated Ludogorets 6-0 in the Champions League.

5.30pmWhile we are on the topic of the defence, we have to talk about Petr Cech. With usual cup goalkeeper David Ospina having not travelled, Cech makes his first European appearance since February 2016. The veteran Czech did not feature at all last season.

5.32pmWe are going to have a look at some of the youngsters on the Arsenal bench now, with Marcus McGuane arguably the standout name. Three weeks ago, the defensive midfielder was given his debut against BATE with an 11-minute appearance off the bench. The 18-year-old is said to be attracting interest from Manchester United and Juventus so don't be surprised to see the teenager give some more playing time by Wenger.

5.34pmStriker Eddie Nketiah also got given a chance in Belarus, albeit a brief one. The striker was an 89th-minute substitute, but Wenger would not have fielded him had he not hoped to progress the player. Nketiah could get the nod over fellow forward Chuka Akpom - who has failed to make the breakthrough at Arsenal - later in the match.

5.36pmJordi Osei-Tutu also deserves a mention. The 18-year-old - who has been given the number three shirt - is capable of playing at right-back and further down the flank. He was signed from reading for £100,000 in 2015.

5.38pmWith Red Star sitting in second place in this group without suffering defeat, you may be under the impression that they gained automatic entry to this competition, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The Serbian giants began their campaign all the way back in June and had to negotiate FOUR ties to reach the group stages. That's some effort.

5.40pmFloriana, Irtysh and Sparta Prague were all dispatched fairly handily - with Red Star not conceding a single away goal in those matches - before they were handed a showdown with Krasnodar, who reached the last 16 of this competition last season. Red Star lost the away leg 3-2, but those two strikes would prove decisive as they progressed on away goals after a 2-1 win in Belgrade.

5.42pmRed Star have been equally as impressive in the group stages. A 1-1 draw with BATE was a solid start, but travelling back from Germany with a 1-0 win over FC Koln has set the club up for progression through to the knockout rounds. There are still four matches to come, but if they can gain any kind of result in two games with Arsenal, they are well on their way.

5.44pmThe Red-Whites aren't having it all their own way in domestic action, but you cannot argue with their record. Ten wins have been recorded from 12 games, with just two goals being conceded. However, one of those came at the start of the month when they suffered a surprise defeat to Napredak, who only sit in eighth spot.

5.46pmRed Star have not progressed through to the main stages of a European competition since the 2007-08 campaign, when they came last in a five-team group in the Europa League which included Bayern Munich and Bolton Wanderers. Bolton were able to run out 1-0 winners in Belgrade thanks to a goal from Gavin McCann. Those were the days...

5.48pmBefore that meeting with Bolton, you have to go all the way to 2000 for another contest with an English side. Red Star were drawn with Leicester City in the first round of the UEFA Cup, with a 3-1 win in Belgrade ultimately proving decisive as the Serbian club progressed 4-2 on aggregate.

5.50pmPREDICTION! While Arsenal are again not fielding a full-strength side, we cannot back against them. They should against BATE that they can be ruthless in the final third and we are expecting a similar occurrence in this game. Arsenal to win 3-1.

5.52pmHEAD TO HEAD! Today's match represents just the third time in which these teams have faced each other in a competitive contest, with Arsenal claiming a 1-1 draw at Highbury in the UEFA Cup, before Red Star won the reverse fixture by a 1-0 scoreline.

5.54pmBefore the teams make their way out, a reminder that following this game, Sports Mole will have full coverage of the match from Goodison Park between Everton and Lyon. That's effectively a must-win game for Everton at this stage of the competition.

5.56pmIt's time for the two teams to make their way out at the Red Star Stadium. As you can imagine, the atmosphere is electric. There were videos of the tunnel doing the rounds on social media. Arsenal will need cojones to not have been affected by that...

5.58pmA remainder of the two starting lineups...

RED STAR BELGRADE XI: Borjan, Le Tallec, Rodic, Stojkovic, Savic, Krsticic, Kanga, Donald, Radonjic, Srnic, Boakye

ARSENAL XI: Cech; Debuchy, Holding, Elneny; Maitland-Niles, Coquelin, Nelson, Willock; Wilshere, Giroud, Walcott


1 minKICKOFF! Arsenal get us underway.

2 minThe opening two minutes have been possession-based, although it is noticeable the level of decibels rises when Arsenal have the ball, and not in a good way.

4 minAlready, you can tell that Arsenal face a completely different test to the one offered by BATE. The home side look organised at the back and are breaking forward in numbers when they have the ball.

5 minArsenal storm forward for the first time and Wilshere is the instigator. The playmaker gives Walcott the chance to take on a defender inside the penalty area but the winger stumbles over the ball.

7 minThere's a wall of red and white shirts (Red Star shirts) around 25 yards out on each occasion that Arsenal have the ball. Red Star look intent on trying to frustrate the Premier League side.

9 minWe have not seen much of Red Star as an attacking unit just yet. Boakye has barely touched the ball. They have had their moments down the flank but Arsenal are having few problems thus far.

11 minIncidentally, Elneny is lining up in the centre of the Arsenal defence, with Holding operating on the left. The former Bolton Wanderers seems to have emerged as Wenger's Mr Versatile.

13 minRed Star have just won the first corner of the match but it was easily defended by Arsenal. The home side are soon back in possession, however, and have started to take control of this contest.

15 minCHANCE! The first chance of the game arrives at the feet of Walcott, who benefits from Holding's flicked pass after a free kick. However, the attacker's low effort from 10 yards is well kept out by Borjan.

16 minSHOT! Red Star respond in kind with a 30-yard strike from Krsticic, but his effort is never going to trouble Cech.

18 minBoakye has just powered down the right flank before failing to pick out a teammate in the penalty area. However, for the first time, we got to see the pace of the Ghanaian. Holding may have trouble with the former Juventus man.

20 minMore good play from Boakye leads to a chance being created for Srnic, but his resulting shot is dragged well wide of Cech's post. This match is starting to warm up a bit now. Red Star are matching the Gunners.

22 minThis crowd certainly doesn't get bored with jeering the opposition. It's happening every time that Arsenal get the ball but the Gunners aren't fazed. The likes of Nelson and Willock have handling the occasion.

24 minOne player who has barely featured is Giroud. The Frenchman just got free down the right but his cross was easily cleared. That's as good as it got for the forward.

26 minWOODWORK! Boakye hits the crossbar for Red Star. The marking from Arsenal is atrocious with the Ghanaian being able to run onto the ball and head towards goal, but his downward header hits the ground and bounces up to strike the crossbar.

28 minArsenal are slowly becoming second best in this football match. Alarms in their defence have been few and far between but their hosts are growing in confidence. This will become increasingly difficult for Wenger and his players unless they change the tempo of this game.

30 minI can't remember the last time that Arsenal had a sustained spell of possession. They are sitting back and allowing Red Star to play at their own tempo at the moment.

31 minCHANCE! Cech keeps Arsenal on level terms. The ball finds Radonjic at the back post and the on-loan Roma forward should score, but Cech saves well at the near post, before a defender blocks the rebound.

33 minBOOKING! Rodic goes into the book for a crude challenge on Walcott, who is fuming. It takes the referee some time to caution the Serbian player, but at least he acts eventually.

35 minThis was half an opening for Arsenal. Walcott danced around a couple of players and an accurate pass to Wilshere could have been moved on to Maitland-Niles. However, the initial ball from the winger was poor and Red Star regained possession.

37 minI've come to the conclusion that we aren't going to see many goals in this match. Arsenal aren't exactly looking to move the ball quickly once they gain possession. That said, Wenger would seem a point in this environment as a good point.

39 minThe ball has found its way back to Red Star, who are being equally patient. Just six minutes to go until the break and I have to say, I am ready for it. There is very little happening.

41 minThis is better from Red Star, who put together a sharp move before Srnic attempts a slide-rule pass towards Boakye. However, Cech is alert to the danger and comes out to collect.

43 minMaitland-Niles wins a free kick for Arsenal down the left flank, and it will be Walcott to take. The delivery is a decent one but Borjan is adjudged to have prevented the ball from finding Debuchy.

44 minThe resulting corner is only half cleared but when the ball is returned to the penalty area, Giroud heads well wide of the target.

45 minThere will be two minutes of added-on time.

45+2 minHALF TIME: Red Star Belgrade 0-0 Arsenal

6.49pmThe half-time whistle goes in Serbia and we remain locked at 0-0. Both sides have wasted chances to take the lead, but it hasn't been the greatest of games. Neither time are playing with much urgency.

6.52pmArsenal's main chance fell to Walcott during the early stages. After Red Star failed to clear a corner, the ball landed at the feet of the long-serving attacker, but his left-foot shot on the turn was kept out by Borjan.

6.55pmRed Star's main opportunities have come from Boakye and Radonjic. Boakye's opportunity was a header from a corner, but he focused too much attention on keeping the ball down and it bounced up to hit the bar. Radonjic should have converted at the back post, but Cech made himself big to make a fine intervention.

6.58pmIn the other game in this group, it remains goalless between BATE Borisov and FC Koln. Wenger will be delighted if the two scorelines remain the same, but there is a long way to go.

7.02pmThe two sets of players have made their way back out. There's doesn't appear to be any changes.

46 minKICKOFF! Red Star get us back underway.

47 minIt's been a bright start to the half from Red Star. A chance is almost created on the left-hand side of the penalty area but Elneny gets across to make the tackle.

48 minArsenal are still taking the patient approach but there is much more intent with their play. Dare I say it, they even look more comfortable on the ball. They need to set a tempo in this half.

50 minCHANCE! Wilshere's cross almost finds Walcott, but the interception only goes to Nelson, who battles his way through a challenge before forcing a smart stop out of Borjan at his near post.

52 minCHANCE! Back come Red Star, with Krsticic having a header well saved by Cech. The ball was close to the goalkeeper, but the attacker had generate a fair bit of pace on it.

53 minSHOT! This a shot of a frustrated player. Giroud attempts to find the far top corner from 25 yards and his shot only goes miles over the bar.

54 minCHANCE! A back pass from Elneny goes straight to Srnic, who sees his effort tipped over the crossbar by Cech. The shot was from an acute angle, but the goalkeeper still had work to do.

56 minI thought that both teams would think about sitting back in this second half. A draw suits both sides. However, we have had more excitement in the opening 10 minutes than we did in the whole of the first 45 minutes.

58 minIt's been a relatively quiet couple of minutes but only because much of that has been because of a stoppage for an injury to Le Tallec. The French midfielder is back on his feet now.

60 minBOOKING! Boakye goes into the book for fouling Walcott when the forward was attempting to run directly towards goal.

62 minLATEST! There has been a goal in the other game in this group, with BATE taking the lead against FC Koln. If the results remains the same, the German outfit will be pretty much eliminated.

63 minBOOKING! Arsenal are causing problems when they run directly towards the defence, and a third Red Star player goes into the book for a late tackle. This time, it was Le Tallec fouling Wilshere.

64 minBOOKING! Now Coquelin goes into the book for preventing a break-away getting as far as the halfway line.

66 minSUBSTITUTION! A first chance for Red Star sees Babic replaces the injured Savic.

68 minCHANCE! Red Star break and they have numbers in their favour. However, Radonjic fires straight at Cech at the near post. I'm assuming it was supposed to be a cross...

70 minWith 20 minutes to go, this is anyone's match. I'd be surprised if the tempo doesn't drop because as I have already stated, a draw isn't a bad result for either side. Red Star probably look the more likely to snatch a winner.

72 minWe are yet to see an Arsenal chance. I'm not convinced we will. Wenger has little experience on the bench and I'm sure he would rather give his team every chance of seeing out this game, than giving a couple of prospects 10 minutes of action.

74 minRed Star are certainly on top now. Arsenal don't look nervous at the back, but they don't look that assured. The tempo needs to be slowed down when they have the ball. It is coming back far too often.

76 minGiroud is very much on his own in attack. Wilshere and Walcott are dropping into deeper positions to help out the defence. Wenger is more than happy with a point here.

78 minArsenal finally regained the ball and broke through Wilshere but after taking their time to find a final pass, Giroud wasn't alert enough to capitalise. The Frenchman has been disappointing tonight.

80 minSUBSTITUTION! It's the end of Boakye's night. Pesic has been introduced into the action.

80 minRED CARD! Rodic has been sent off for a second yellow card. Coquelin has got a whack in the face and a cut below his eye. I think that has influenced the referee because it's barely a foul.

82 minWe are sure to have plenty of added-on time. It took a while to get a frustrated Rodic off the pitch. Back has gotten back underway.

85 minGOAL! Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud)

85 minMy word. Giroud has scored a worldie. Wilshere and Walcott are involved in a sharp move inside the box and after Walcott heads the ball into the path of Giroud, the Frenchman sends an over-head kick into the top corner of the net. What a goal.

87 minCHANCE! Arsenal are throwing men forward when they don't need to. Red Star break forward but Kanga's first-time strike goes high over Cech's bar.

89 minSUBSTITUTIONS! Two changes for Arsenal. McGuane and Shead have been introduced for Willock and Coquelin, who are both shattered.

90 minBOOKING! Babic goes into the book for hauling down Giroud on the halfway line. There will be five minutes of added-on time.

90+2 minBOOKING! Nelson goes into the book for a challenge on the halfway line. Both teams are cynically looking to end breaks forward.

90+4 minJust the 60 seconds to go in Belgrade. Arsenal are so close to an outstanding three points.

90+5 minFULL TIME! Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Arsenal

7.58pmThe full-time whistle goes in Belgrade and Arsenal have held on for a great win on the road, a result which takes them to nine points from three games. Giroud's overhead kick deserve to win any match. The Gunners are now five points clear at the top of Group H.

7.59pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for tonight's game. Thank you for joining us this evening and we hope to see you again soon.

If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.


A shaven-headed Jack Wilshere in action during the EFL Cup game between Arsenal and Doncaster Rovers on September 20, 2017
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