Arsenal FC Manager Unai Emery finds himself barely hanging on to his job in only his second season succeeding legendary Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger. Emery’s team finds itself sitting in eighth place on the domestic table on just 18 points from 13 matches. But a win in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League group stage showdown against German side Eintracht Frankfurt would go a long way toward bolstering the Spaniard’s job security at the Emirates.
Die Adler missed out on qualifying for UEFA Champions League play by virtue only of a final-day loss to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. But the Frankfurt team has been a disappointment so far in the 2019/2020 season.
They sit in 10th place domestically, and their two losses in four Europa League matches are one more than Eintracht had suffered in their previous 18 matches in the competition, according to the BBC. In European competition, however, the team has won only once in six tries on English soil — and not since 1967.
Nonetheless, Arsenal is installed as only a slight favorite to take the victory at home on Thursday. The Soccer Times places the Gunners odds of victory at 19/20 — nearly an even-money proposition. Of course, Arsenal’s dismal form — without a win in six fixtures across all competitions — may have something to do with the oddsmakers’ skepticism that Emery’s side can pull out the home win.
On the other hand, Eintracht Frankfurt have endured three consecutive losses, including a discouraging 2-0 defeat at home to Wolfsburg in Bundesliga action on Saturday. And Arsenal certainly have the incentive to win. Comfortably atop the Europa League’s Group F with 10 points, unbeaten through four games, the Gunners go through to the knockout stage with the full three points on Thursday — or even with one point.
In the first meeting between the two teams in the group stage — which was also the first meeting ever between the two sides — Arsenal kept a clean sheet on Frankfurt’s home ground. Goals by Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang allowed Arsenal to cruise to the 3-0 victory.
But just being German may help Eintracht, if history is any guide. In European competition, Arsenal have lost at home six times to Bundesliga teams. That’s more losses at home than against teams from any other country, according to Sky Sports statistics.
Arsenal in European competitions are on a run of qualifying for knockout stage competition in their last 19 attempts. The last time an Arsenal side failed to make its way out of the group stage came in the 1999/2000 edition of the UEFA Champions League.