BATE Borisov vs Arsenal: Unai Emery says Gunners will NOT use sub-zero conditions as an excuse

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The mercury is expected to drop below freezing for Thursday’s match – which you can listen to LIVE on talkSPORT 2

Arsenal will not use poor weather as an excuse when they get their Europa League campaign back under way this evening with a trip to sub-zero Belarus.

The Gunners take on BATE Borisov in the first leg of their round of 32 clash, with temperatures already below freezing when the match kicks-off – and falling over the duration.

The match – which you can listen to LIVE on talkSPORT 2 – is the second sub-zero trip Arsenal have made in this season’s Europa League, having already played Vorskla in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and romped to a 3-0 win.

Arsenal beat Vorskla in Kyiv to secure a first place finish in their group

Arsenal beat Vorskla in Kyiv to secure a first place finish in their group

The mercury dropped as low as minus 10 during that November victory, and Emery hopes this experience will be perfect preparation as his side face another cold encounter.

“Yes, we are,” he replied when asked if Arsenal were ready for the weather conditions in Borisov.

“We played against Vorskla in Kiev when it was below zero and snowing. It’s not an excuse for us, the weather or the pitch. We play 90 minutes that are the same for them and for us.”

Arsenal, beaten semi-finalists last year, know that winning the tournament would secure a return to Champions League football, with Emery admitting last week his side are “outsiders” in the race for the Premier League top four.

But the Spaniard stopped short of saying he was intending to concentrate all his efforts on targeting Europa League success at such an early stage.

“My thoughts are that every match is a big challenge,” he added.

“In the Premier League, Carabao Cup, FA Cup and now in the Europa League. Our target is clear: to play next year in the Champions League.

“But we know it’s not easy. We have two ways now, one is the Europa League and to win it is very difficult.

Europa League success could be Arsenal’s best chance of securing Champions League qualification

Europa League success could be Arsenal’s best chance of securing Champions League qualification

“We know it’s a very big challenge, this last 32 against BATE and then we have to win other matches.

“In the Premier League, we also have the possibility to take this position to play in the Champions League next year. The big challenge is thinking only about the next match.

“The next is tomorrow. Improving our things, individually and collectively, creating a big mentality for us.

“We know we need to work hard, we need to improve and be together in this way in two competitions.”

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