Molde will hope to continue an impressive run of home form in Europe as they host an Arsenal side that beat them 4-1 in north London last time out, have yet to drop a point in Group B and could secure their place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 with a positive result in Norway.• It was Molde who scored first at the Arsenal Stadium on Matchday 3, through Martin Ellingsen’s spectacular long-range strike, but two own goals turned the game in the home side’s favour before Nicolas Pépé and Joe Willock, who had also both scored in a 3-0 home win against Dundalk the previous week, cemented Arsenal’s third win out of three. That gave them a three-point advantage over the Norwegian side at the top of the group table.
Highlights: Arsenal 4-1 Molde• While Matchday 3 brought Molde a first encounter with English opposition, Arsenal have been paired with Norwegian clubs twice before, beating Strømsgodset 7-1 on aggregate (3-1 a, 4-0 h) in their first ever European Champion Clubs’ Cup tie, in 1970/71, and taking four points off Rosenborg in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage (1-1 a, 5-1 h).Form guideMolde• Champions of Norway in 2019, claiming their fourth title in nine years, Molde returned to the UEFA Europa League group stage having just missed out on a place in the UEFA Champions League. Following qualifying victories against KuPS (5-0 h), Celje (2-1 a) and Qarabağ (0-0 a, 6-5 on pens), Erling Moe’s side lost out in the play-offs on away goals to Ferencváros (3-3 h, 0-0 a).• Defeated in the UEFA Europa League play-offs in each of the past two seasons – by Zenit in 2018/19 and Partizan in 2019/20 – Molde are competing in the group stage for the third time. Bottom of their group in 2012/13, they defied the odds to top a section including Fenerbahçe, Ajax and Celtic in 2015/16 before losing to eventual winners Sevilla in the round of 32 (0-3 a, 1-0 h).• Molde are unbeaten in 12 European home games (W9 D3), their last defeat coming against Fenerbahçe (0-2) on Matchday 5 of that 2015/16 UEFA Europa League campaign. They have kept eight clean sheets in those matches.Arsenal• Eighth in the 2019/20 Premier League, Arsenal ensured a 25th consecutive season in Europe by winning the FA Cup under new manager Mikel Arteta – the club’s record 14th triumph in the competition – with a 2-1 victory over London rivals Chelsea in the final. Their third successive UEFA Europa League campaign ended in the round of 32 with an extra-time away goals defeat by Olympiacos (1-0 a, 1-2 h).• UEFA Champions League ever-presents for 19 seasons in a row from 1998/99 to 2016/17, Arsenal reached the UEFA Europa League semi-finals at the first attempt in 2017/18, losing to eventual winners Atlético de Madrid, before going one step further and making it to the 2018/19 final, where they were defeated 4-1 by Chelsea in Baku. They have been group winners on all three of their appearances.• The 1999/2000 UEFA Cup runners-up are unbeaten in seven European away games (W5 D2) since Rennes defeated them 3-1 in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg. Their overall away record in the UEFA Europa League is W12 D3 L4; in the group stage it is W7 D2 L1, the only defeat coming at Köln (0-1) in 2017/18.Links and trivia• Two Molde players, Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Etzaz Hussain, spent time together in the Manchester United academy at the start of their careers (2009–11).• Eikrem, the Molde skipper, also played in the Premier League and Championship for Cardiff City in 2014, making 13 appearances for the club in all competitions.• Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney was in the Celtic side, led by Norwegian coach Ronny Delia, that lost 2-1 at home to Molde in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group stage.• Arsenal’s win on Matchday 3 was their 26th in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, the most in the competition by an English club – two more than local rivals Tottenham.