Arsenal v CSKA Moskva background
Having convincingly disposed of AC Milan in the round of 16, Arsenal host the first leg of the quarter-final against a CSKA Moskva side who recovered from a first-leg defeat in Moscow to oust Lyon on away goals with a 3-2 win in the stadium that will stage the 2018 UEFA Europa League final.
• Arsenal, the lone English representatives in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, won four of their six autumn encounters to top Group H before knocking out European debutants Östersund in the round of 32 then winning both legs against Milan – 2-0 in Italy and 3-1 in north London.
• Third in their UEFA Champions League group during the autumn, CSKA overcame Crvena zvezda in the round of 32, a goalless draw in Belgrade preceding a 1-0 win in Moscow, before ending the hopes of last season’s semi-finalists Lyon. After losing 1-0 at home, first UEFA Europa League goals of the campaign from Aleksandr Golovin, Ahmed Musa and Pontus Wernbloom gave CSKA a memorable away success.
• CSKA got the better of Arsenal when the two teams were paired in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage, winning 1-0 in Moscow with a Daniel Carvalho free-kick and becoming the first visiting team to prevent the Gunners from scoring in their new stadium when they drew the return fixture 0-0.
• Igor Akinfeev, Sergei Ignashevich and the Berezutski twins, Aleksei and Vasili, were in the unbreached CSKA defence for both of those fixtures. However, despite those results Arsenal went on to win the group, with CSKA finishing third.
• Arsenal have a negative overall balance against Russian opposition in UEFA competition (W2 D2 L4) but a positive one at home (W2 D1 L1) – despite the fact that their heaviest home defeat in the UEFA Cup came against Spartak Moskva (2-5 in the 1982/83 first round). They have not conceded in any of their three home fixtures to Russian clubs since then, that 0-0 draw against CSKA following UEFA Champions League group wins against Lokomotiv Moskva (2-0) and Spartak (1-0).
• This is CSKA’s 20th European fixture against English opposition, their record standing at W3 D5 L11. They have already visited England this season, losing 2-1 against Manchester United at Old Trafford in their final match of the UEFA Champions League group stage. A Vitinho strike on 45 minutes gave them a half-time lead before United struck back in the second period.
• That defeat in Manchester was CSKA’s fifth in a row against English clubs, home and away. Their sole success on English soil (D3 L5) came in the group stage of the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League, when they won 2-1 at Manchester City. It proved in vain, however; it was their only victory in the section and they finished bottom.
• Arsenal’s eight-match unbeaten home run in UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League matches (W6 D2) came to an end in the round of 32 with a 2-1 defeat by Östersund, although they bounced back by beating Milan 3-1.
• Prior to that victory over the Rossoneri the Gunners had lost each of their previous six European home games in the spring, conceding 17 goals. They have not kept a clean sheet in seven.
• Arsenal have prolonged their European campaign into the spring for the 19th successive year – all under Arsène Wenger’s management.
• Arsenal are making their UEFA Europa League debut this season. Their last European campaign outside the UEFA Champions League was the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, which ended with a penalty shoot-out defeat in the final against Galatasaray. They overcame Werder Bremen in that season’s quarter-final, winning 2-0 at home and 4-2 away.
• The Gunners’ record in UEFA competition quarter-final ties is W6 L5, although they have lost four of their last six – all in the UEFA Champions League. In five of those six successful quarter-finals, they won the home leg, drawing the other. In only one of the five unsuccessful ties did they post a victory at home (D2 L2).
• CSKA have won five of their seven European away fixtures this season, including 2-1 victories at Benfica and Basel in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Their only away defeat is that 2-1 reverse at Manchester United.
• CSKA have won six of their last nine UEFA Europa League away games, including qualifying, losing only one – a 2010/11 round of 16 encounter in Porto (1-2).
• Like UEFA Europa League debutants Arsenal, CSKA have never previously participated in the quarter-finals of the renamed competition. This is the club’s third appearance in a European quarter-final. They won the first of them, 4-2 on aggregate against Auxerre (4-0 home, 0-2 away), en route to winning the 2004/05 UEFA Cup, but lost the other, going down 1-0 in both legs to Internazionale in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League.
• CSKA were runners-up to city rivals Spartak Moskva in last season’s Russian Premier League. To reach the UEFA Champions League group stage they came through two qualifying rounds, defeating both AEK Athens and Young Boys 3-0 on aggregate.
Links and trivia
• Arsenal’s tally of seven wins in this season’s UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, is the highest in the competition.
• Aaron Ramsey’s goal that gave Arsenal a 2-0 lead in Milan was the 350th scored by an English club in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final.
• CSKA goalkeeper Akinfeev has played every minute of his team’s European campaign this season, keeping seven clean sheets in 14 matches.
• Ramsey scored past Akinfeev when Wales defeated Russia 3-0 in the final group game of UEFA EURO 2016. Ignashevich, Aleksei Berezutski, Vasili Berezutski and Golovin also played for Russia in that game.
• Jack Wilshere came on as a substitute for England against Russia in the same tournament and was on the field when Vasili Berezutski scored Russia’s added-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
• Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a UEFA Europa League winner with Manchester United last season. The Armenian international has already played against CSKA in Europe this season, scoring United’s final goal to crown a 4-1 win in Moscow on matchday two of the UEFA Champions League.
• Petr Čech played twice for Chelsea against CSKA in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage, keeping clean sheets in both games (2-0 home, 1-0 away).
• Alan Dzagoev scored twice past Čech when Russia defeated Czech Republic 4-1 in the group stage of UEFA EURO 2012.
• There are eight different nations represented in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals. The last major UEFA club competition in which that occurred was the 2004/05 UEFA Cup – which CSKA went on to win.
• CSKA striker Musa is currently on loan to the club from English side Leicester City, for whom he made his home debut as a substitute against the Gunners in August 2016. He is a Nigerian international team-mate of Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi.
• CSKA’s Kirill Nababkin is suspended for this fixture.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Pontus Wernbloom, Bibras Natcho (CSKA).
• Arsène Wenger has been the Arsenal manager since 1996, leading the Gunners to three English titles, a record seven FA Cup wins and the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. A player of modest repute, he made his name as a coach with Nancy and Monaco in his native France before moving to Japan for a brief spell with Nagoya Grampus 8. He is the longest serving manager in the Premier League.
• Appointed by CSKA to replace long-serving coach Leonid Slutski in December 2016, Viktor Goncharenko was only 39 at the time, but he had earned a growing reputation in Russian football, notably while serving as Slutski’s assistant. He made his name as a coach in his native Belarus at BATE Borisov, winning five straight titles and leading the club into the UEFA Champions League group stage on three occasions.