The Scout Report: Europa League Danger Men

The Scout Report

Arsenal face some obscure opponents in the Europa League group stage coming up against Koln, BATE Borisov and Red Star Belgrade.

So, it’s probably a good idea that we use this time to look at those that may cause the Gunners problems.

Here are four who could well do that.

Timo Horn, goalkeeper, Koln

The strength of Germany’s ‘keepers has seen 24-year-old Timo Horn yet to make his international bow, but if he was from another country he would already have a number of caps under his belt.

Horn has spent his entire career at Koln and has become one of the Bundesliga’s top shot stoppers.

The 6ft 4in German made 43 saves in his 20 league appearances last season, an average of 2.15 per 90 minutes while making 1.79 per goal having conceded 24 times – keeping six clean sheets.

Koln’s number one is also dominant in his penalty area, punching crosses 15 times and catching a further 42 with his tall frame allowing him to come through bodies to collect.

His distribution accuracy of 60% is also a good number.

We often see many goalkeepers visit the Emirates and put in an outstanding performance as Arsenal bombard their goal and we could see such a performance from Horn.

One of the Bundesliga’s best goalkeepers without a doubt and someone who will cause Arsene Wenger’s side real frustration.

Richmond Boakye, striker, Red Star Belgrade

If you were paying attention to the Europe League qualifiers you will have likely heard of this man.

The Ghanaian international – who has six goals in 12 appearances for his country – bagged seven goals in the six games Red Star played to reach the group stage, a number that sees him top the scoring chart.

The 24-year-old appears to have found a good home in Belgrade after something of journeyman career so far.

Boakye arrived in European football in 2008 as Genoa brought him over from his native Ghana.

He had his first successful loan spell when he joined Saasuolo for the 2011/12 season, scoring 12 goals in 34 Serie B appearances as the club just missed out on promotion.

That form earned the striker a move to Italian giants Juventus but he failed to play a first-team game.

He returned to Sassuolo on loan for the 2012/13 campaign and again found the back of the net on a regular basis, scoring 11 times in 32 games.

A poor loan spell at Spanish side Elche followed and he was sold by Juve in 2014 to Atalanta.

Another temporary spell, this time in Holland with Roda JC was a disaster as he played only nine times without scoring and lasted just half a season before returning to Italy with Latina.

Despite one goal in 17 appearances he joined the lower league outfit permanently at the start of last season but moved on loan once again for the second half of the season, joining Red Star.

18 appearance, 16 goals in 1375 minutes, Latina’s bankruptcy and time as a free agent later, Boakye joined the Serbian side on a free transfer this summer.

Having played for 10 clubs in his relatively short career, the Ghanaian thankfully has time on his side as he looks to get his career on track, and what better way to do that than with a goal against Arsenal.

Vitali Rodionov, striker & Mikhail Gordeichuk, attacking midfielder, BATE Borisov

The attacking duo excelled as BATE won their 13th Belarusian title last season, with both finishing as joint top scorers with 16 each.

33-year-old forward Rodionov has been with the club since 2006 after spells at Lokomotiv-96 Vitebsk and Torpedo Zhodino from to the early to mid-2000s.

He did make a loan switch to German club Freiburg in 2009 and scored four goals in 12 league games but the transfer was not made permanent and he returned to BATE.

Rodionov has 112 goals in 253 appearances for the Belarusian side and has 10 goals in 48 caps for the countries national team

27-year-old Gordeichuk is in his second spell at BATE having re-joined the club in 2014.

Since then, he has gone on to score 29 times in 76 games for the club, all from midfield.

These two combined brilliantly too with BATE Borisov the league last season and Arsenal need to watch out for that link up when the teams square off.

About the Author

Dan Mountney
Hi, I'm Dan and I'm currently studying Sports Journalism at the University for the Creative Art in Farnham, Surrey. I have supported Arsenal all my life and grew up watching arguably the greatest generation of players the club has ever had. I hope my love for the club comes across in my writing and that you enjoy what you've read from me!