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Arsenal seek UEFA Europa League boost

Last updated 27 days ago | By AFP

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the FA Cup semifinal soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley in London, England, Saturday, July 18, 2020. [AP Photo/Justin Tallis, Pool]

English rivals Arsenal and Tottenham are aiming to build on winning starts in the Europa League today while Zlatan Ibrahimovic will look to transfer his incredible Serie A form to the continental stage.

Starting from a 1-0 loss at home to Leicester at the weekend, the Gunners host Irish side Dundalk in their second Group B fixture following a come-from-behind victory in Austria in their opening match.

Dundalk are just the third Irish representative to reach the group stage, having matched their achievement in 2016/17 and that of Shamrock Rovers in 2011/12.

They lost 2-1 at home to Norwegians Molde in their first game, and their Italian coach Filippo Giovagnoli is acutely aware the odds are stacked against the club from County Louth on Ireland’s east coast.

“Arsenal have better players, better coaches and better everything than us, but this is the challenge. We need to play with a lot of heart, run a lot and be a little crazy and brave, but we’re going to try,” said Giovagnoli.

Tottenham’s solid start in the Premier League has stirred up talk they could potentially end a long title drought, with no team yet to truly assert themselves after a truncated pre-season.

“We know with the team we have got and the players we have got we can do something special,” captain Harry Kane, who is two goals shy of 200 for Spurs, told the BBC after Monday’s 1-0 win at Burnley.

Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Leicester City - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - October 25, 2020. Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in action with Leicester City's. [Christian Fuchs Pool via REUTERS/Catherine Ivill]

Jose Mourinho’s side head to Belgium to play Antwerp this week after easing past Austrian outfit LASK Linz 3-0 in their Group J opener. Leicester, the third English club in the competition, travel to AEK Athens as they too chase a second straight victory in Group J.

Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers are at home to Lech Poznan in Group D. Steven Gerrard’s men are unbeaten this term and have won their last seven games.

Celtic, who are targeting a record 10th successive Scottish title, lost ground to Rangers at the weekend and have work to do in Group H after they were beaten 3-1 by Milan.

The task won’t get any easier with a visit to Lille, who are level on points with Paris Saint-Germain in France and the only unbeaten team left in Ligue 1. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored seven times in five games this season despite missing a handful of matches after testing positive for coronavirus. The 39-year-old former Sweden international netted twice for the third time in a row in Serie A as Milan drew 3-3 with Roma on Monday.

Arsenal's Thomas Partey. [Pool via REUTERS/Catherine Ivill]
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