Arsenal will seek a second win from as many matches in the 2022-23 Europa League when they welcome Norway’s Bodo/Glimt to the Emirates Stadium for Thursday’s Group A clash.
The Gunners opened their continental proceedings with a 2-1 win over FC Zurich, while their visitors have taken four points from their opening two games to sit atop the rankings.
As Arsenal’s encounter with FC Zurich on September 8 approached half time, news filtered through that Queen Elizabeth II had died, leading to the suspension of the Gunners’ clash with PSV Eindhoven as security prioritised Her Majesty’s state funeral.
The extra rest has done Mikel Arteta’s side very little harm as they continue their early spate of dominance in the Premier League, and whispers of a title charge are starting to grow that little bit louder following their 3-1 North London derby success over Tottenham Hotspur.
Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka all made the net ripple in front of a jubilant Emirates crowd to keep Arsenal one point clear at the top of the Premier League standings, but the unforgiving October period will be a true test of their credentials.
With no fewer than nine matches being played this month, Arsenal’s improving squad depth will come to the fore in domestic and continental action, and Arteta’s side welcome Bodo/Glimt to the Emirates having won each of their last seven competitive games at home.
Failure to keep a single clean sheet in that winning run does represent a minor blot on the North Londoners’ notebook, and they have also failed to win any of their last three Europa League games on home soil, but there is a different buzz around the Emirates this time.
With group favourites Arsenal seeing their matchday two battle rearranged, Bodo/Glimt took full advantage to rise to the top of the Group A rankings courtesy of their own 2-1 success over FC Zurich on September 15, having drawn 1-1 with PSV on the opening matchday.
After a quiet first half, Ole Selnaes’s own goal and a strike from Hugo Vetlesen put Bodo/Glimt in the ascendancy just before the hour mark, and the Norwegian champions were unfazed by Donis Avdijaj’s late consolation as they held on for all three points.
Kjetil Knutsen’s side had faltered in their Eliteserien title defence last month, but they rediscovered their golden touch at the weekend with a 4-1 success over Lillestrom in the top flight, which is exactly what the doctor ordered before a daunting trip to North London.
Only one of Bodo/Glimt’s last 13 away matches in Europe has ended in victory – although that was against British opposition in the form of Celtic – and an unexpected triumph over the Gunners would move Knusten’s men four points clear of the Premier League leaders at the top of Group A.
Thursday’s game will mark the inaugural meeting between Arsenal and Bodo/Glimt in any competition, and the hosts remain unbeaten after six clashes with Norwegian opposition, but a rejigged side will still need to have their wits about them here.
Arsenal Europa League form:
Arsenal form (all competitions):
Bodo/Glimt Europa League form:
Bodo/Glimt form (all competitions):
We say: Arsenal 2-0 Bodo/Glimt
Bodo/Glimt certainly command plenty of respect having made waves in Europe over the past 12 months, and Arsenal are sure to keep their best players in reserve for the imminent showdown with Liverpool.
However, Arteta’s youthful attackers are ready to seize their opportunity with both hands, and we can only envisage the Gunners making it two for two in the Europa League.