Arsenal will host 14-time League of Ireland champions Dundalk in their first home outing of the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League on Thursday.
The Gunners almost shot themselves in the foot after briefly trailing Rapid Wien in their Group B bow, but their odds of beating Dundalk look certain, especially as the Irish visitors won’t have their manager in the dugout.
Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City also resume their European seasons away to Royal Antwerp and AEK Athens, respectively, after the Premier League’s three contenders each kicked off the campaign with a win.
Elsewhere, Napoli are under early pressure to get their first Europa League points away to an in-form Real Sociedad in Group F. The Partenopei have made a remarkable start to the Serie A season and sit second in the table, but a 1-0 defeat at home to AZ Alkmaar on Matchday 1 has left Gennaro Gattuso with an uphill struggle as far as their continental quest is concerned.
Other highlights on the Week 2 schedule include Celtic’s visit to Group H leaders Lille, as well as a clash between Gent and Hoffenheim in Belgium.
Visit UEFA.com to view group standings.
UEL Matchday 2 Schedule Highlights (All Times ET)
Thursday, October 29
AC Milan vs. Sparta Prague, 1:55 p.m. - TUDN
AEK Athens vs. Leicester City, 1:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra 1
CSKA Moscow vs. Dinamo Zagreb, 1:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra 9
Crvena Zvezda vs. Slovan Liberec, 1:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra 4
Feyenoord vs. Wolfsberger, 1:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra 3
Gent vs. Hoffenheim, 1:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra 2
LASK Linz vs. Ludogorets Razgrad, 1:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra 8
Lille vs. Celtic, 1:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra 5
Sivasspor vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv, 1:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra 7
Royal Antwerp vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 1:55 p.m. - UniMas
AZ Alkmaar vs. Rijeka, 4 p.m. - TUDNxtra 9
CFR Cluj vs. Young Boys, 4 p.m. - TUDNxtra 6
Granada vs. PAOK, 4 p.m. - TUDNxtra 8
Molde vs. Rapid Wien, 4 p.m. - TUDNxtra 7
Nice vs. Hapoel Beer Sheva, 4 p.m. - TUDNxtra 5
Omonia Nicosia vs. PSV Eindhoven, 4 p.m. - TUDNxtra 2
Rangers vs. Lech Poznan, 4 p.m. - TUDNxtra 4
AS Roma vs. CSKA Sofia, 4 p.m. - TUDNxtra 1
Slavia Prague vs. Bayer Leverkusen, 4 p.m. - TUDNxtra 3
Real Sociedad vs. Napoli, 4 p.m. - UniMas
Arsenal vs. Dundalk, 4 p.m. - TUDN
UEL Matchday 2 Tune-In Information
TV: UniMas, TUDN
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
The opening round of group-stage fixtures brought early adversity for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, but the joint-leaders of Group B can anticipate a more routine outing at home to Dundalk in Week 2.
Neither Dundalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli nor his assistant will be eligible for the dugout due to the fact he’s yet to attain his UEFA Pro Licence, meaning club scout Shane Keegan will be the man to lead the Lilywhites at the Emirates, per the Daily Star’s Chris McKenna.
Speaking at his video conference on Wednesday, Arteta confirmed David Luiz won’t be fit to face Dundalk (and could miss Sunday’s trip to Manchester United). Shkodran Mustafi and William Saliba are among the options to fill in at centre-back, while forward Gabriel Martinelli—absent since suffering a long-term knee injury in March—was a welcome sight at training, via Hayters TV:
Arsenal are level with Molde at the peak of the pool, but they’ll hope Rapid Wien can snatch a result at the Norwegian champions in order to get ahead of the competition in Group B.
Jose Mourinho also looks likely to ring the changes for Tottenham’s trip to the Bosuilstadion, where Antwerp—incumbent leaders of Belgian First Division A—are chasing a sixth win in as many games.
Spurs assistant Joao Sacramento told reporters Gareth Bale is one definite for the visitors’ starting XI, coming off the back of an encouraging performance in last week’s 3-0 win over LASK Linz. The Welshman assisted in that result—his first since returning to Tottenham on loan from Real Madrid this summer—though Mourinho warned fans early on not to expect the same Bale that left the club in 2013:
The Europa League group stage can often be stacked with fixtures between lesser-known teams that struggle to draw interest, but Sociedad’s game against Napoli is a fixture of UEFA Champions League quality.
Despite their sizzling success in Serie A so far this season, Napoli failed to unlock AZ’s defence in Week 1 and sit joint-bottom of Group F alongside Rijeka. La Real can take an outright lead at the summit if they hand the Italians a second straight defeat, having boosted their lead at the top of La Liga with a 4-1 win over Huesca on Sunday:
Celtic’s hopes of advancing from a pool containing Lille and AC Milan always looked slim, but a 3-1 loss at home to the Rossoneri in Week 1 has left the Scots lagging in Group H.
Lille forward Timothy Weah could face his former employers at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, while Celtic boss Neil Lennon will be pleased to welcome back two important stars:
Milan will face Sparta Prague for the first time in 16 years hoping to maintain their winning start in Group H, having hammered the Czechs 4-1 the last time they met in the 2003-04 Champions League.