Crvena zvezda v Arsenal background

Crvena zvezda got the better of Arsenal before all of their current players were born, and will hope to do so again when the sides meet again in Group H.

Filip Stojković of Crvena zvezda reacts during their match against Köln
Filip Stojković of Crvena zvezda reacts during their match against Köln ©Getty Images

Crvena zvezda got the better of Arsenal before all of their current players were born, and will hope to do so again when the sides reconvene in UEFA Europa League Group H.

Previous meetings
• The teams met in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup third round, Branko Stanković's Crvena zvezda winning 1-0 in Belgrade – Cvijetin Blagojević the scorer – and then making it through to the next round with a 1-1 draw against Terry Neill's men at Highbury, Dušan Savić's late effort cancelling out an Alan Sunderland goal.

The line-ups for the game in Belgrade on 22 November 1978 were:
Crvena zvezda: Stojanov, Jovanović, Jovin, Muslin, Keri, Jurišić, Petrović, Blagojević (Morosavljević 88), Savić, Šestić, Lukić (Šimić 71).
Arsenal: Jennings, Nelson, O'Leary, Rice, Walford, Young, Price, Stapleton, Heeley, Rix, Sunderland.

• Crvena zvezda's record in 16 matches against English sides is W6 D5 L5.

• Apart from their encounter with Crvena zvezda, Arsenal's only past meetings with Serbian opponents were a pair of 3-1 wins against Partizan in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Highlights: Köln 0-1 Crvena zvezda
Highlights: Köln 0-1 Crvena zvezda

Form guide
• Crvena zvezda are unbeaten in five European home games this season (W4 D1).

• Arsenal won both of their opening Group H matches; they have not lost (over 90 minutes) in seven UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League games (W6 D1) since a 2-1 reverse at Deportivo La Coruña in March 2000.

• Second in Serbia last term, and UEFA Cup runners-up in 1978/79, Crvena zvezda last reached the group stage in 2007/08 (losing all four matches).

• Arsenal are making their UEFA Europa League group stage debut; their last campaign in this competition was the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, in which they lost on penalties to Galatasaray in the final.

Highlights: BATE 2-4 Arsenal
Highlights: BATE 2-4 Arsenal

Trivia and links
• The journey from London to Belgrade is around 1,700km.

• Crvena zvezda are one of three teams to have made it all the way from the first qualifying round to the group stage this season, along with Skënderbeu and Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

• Crvena zvezda's Richmond Boakye was the seven-goal joint-top scorer in UEFA Europa League qualifying this summer – level with Trakai's Maksim Maksimov.

• Crvena zvezda youngster Luka Ilić is on loan from Arsenal's Premier League rivals Manchester City.

• Arsène Wenger celebrates his 68th birthday on the Sunday after this game, 22 October.

• Misses next match if booked: Guelor Kanga (Crvena zvezda).

The coaches
• Vladan Milojević returned to Crvena zvezda in June 2017, having played for the club in 1996. He spent much of his playing career in Greece with Panathinaikos and Iraklis, and headed back there as coach of Panionios from 2016–17.

• Arsène Wenger has been Arsenal boss since 1996, leading the Gunners to three English titles, seven FA Cups and the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. An unremarkable player, he made his name as a coach with Nancy and Monaco in his native France.