Team news and stats ahead of Arsenal vs Molde in the Europa League group stage on Thursday; kick-off 8pm.Team newsArsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed that David Luiz will return to the squad against Molde in the Europa League on Thursday night.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – The Brazilian defender has missed the last two matches after he was forced off with a thigh injury during the home defeat to Leicester on October 25. Arteta initially feared Luiz would be out for “a few weeks”, but the 33-year-old has resumed training and is available for selection.Arsenal have no fresh injury concerns following the victory at Manchester United. Calum Chambers (knee), Pablo Mari (ankle) and Gabriel Martinelli (knee) remain long-term absentees.Molde are still without injured defender Kristoffer Haraldseid, but midfielder Martin Ellingsten should be restored to the starting line-up, having come off the substitutes’ bench in the 3-1 win over Mjondalen at the weekend. Image:Arsenal made it two wins from two in the Europa League with a routine victory over Dundalk – Advertisement – – Advertisement – FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win over Manchester United in the Premier League 2:59 How to followFollow Arsenal vs Molde with our dedicated live blog across Sky Sports’ digital platforms from 6.30pm on Thursday; kick off 8pm.Opta statsArsenal will face Molde for the very first time in this match. The Gunners have won three of their four matches against Norwegian opponents (D1).Arsenal’s last match against Norwegian opposition was a 5-1 win against Rosenborg in the UEFA Champions League in December 2004, with goals from José Antonio Reyes, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fàbregas, Robert Pires and Robin van Persie.This will be Molde’s first meeting with English opponents; Norwegian sides have never beaten English opposition away from home, drawing twice and losing 20 times, with a goal difference of -87 (13 scored, 100 conceded).Molde have won four of their last six away matches in the UEFA Europa League (D1 L1), beating Scottish (Celtic) and Irish (Dundalk) opponents on this run.Since the start of the 2018-19 season, only Munas Dabbur (13) has scored more goals in the UEFA Europa League than Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (12). Molde at a glanceThe coach: Erling Moe replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, initially as caretaker manager, when he left for Manchester United in December 2018 as interim boss. Moe, a former Molde player, had been Solskjaer’s assistant and was given the job on a permanent basis when it became clear Solskjaer would not be returning.European pedigree: The Norwegian club reached the Champions League group stage during the 1999/2000 season and the group stage of the Europa League in 2012/13. In 2015/16 Molde topped a group containing Fenerbahce, Ajax and Celtic to reach the round of 32 in the Europa League, losing 3-1 on aggregate to eventual winners Sevilla.Form: Second in the Norwegian Tippeligaen but 16 points behind league leaders Bado Glimt. Molde have won their last four domestic fixtures and, like Arsenal, both of their opening two games in the Europa League. They arrive in London on a six-match winning run.
Around 46,000 spectators gathered at Milan’s San Siro to watch Atalanta crush the Spanish team 4-1. With every goal, local fans fell into each other’s arms, at the stadium and in bars.– ‘Biological bomb’ –The coronavirus was already known in China but at the time seemed far away from northern Italy.But that soon changed, and from March 4 the number of cases in Bergamo rose sharply, leading some doctors to label the football match a “biological bomb” which had exploded.After the second leg was played and also won, 4-3, on March 10 in Valencia, Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini called for a big party to be held “later” as the team made it to the Champions League quarter-finals.Atalanta’s Champions League match against Valencia in February played a major role in spreading the coronavirusThere followed over two months of lockdown in Italy, and tourists are yet to return to this pretty UNESCO World Heritage Site city.On Sunday, Atalanta take on Sassuolo in their first post-virus Italian Serie A match, to be held without fans present, but with the team known as “La Dea” resuming what was far and away their best season ever.“This match represents a small return to normality,” said Atalanta supporter Andrea Sigorini, 36.“But as the staff and players have said, our thoughts will be with those who have been through such difficult times,” he said.“We’re in a hurry to see Atalanta play again, given the level they’re playing at,” he told AFP.Marino Lazzarini is head of the Friends of Atalanta fan club with 6,000 members and is also one of the club’s directors.“Counting friends and others I know, I lost 40 people. Football helps us, not to forget, because we don’t forget, but to enjoy ourselves,” said the 71-year-old, who has been going to the stadium since he was four.– ‘Resume the dream’ –Atalanta’s captain, Argentine Alejandro “Papu” Gomez, has also called for football to resume, despite the opposition of some hardcore “Ultra” fans.Atalanta captain Alejandro Gomez says Bergamo ‘lives for football’ and is glad they are playing again The province suffered 6,000 more deaths than usual during the COVID-19 outbreak, including 670 in Bergamo city which has a population of around 122,000. Almost everyone there has lost a relative, friend, colleague or neighbour. It is now known that the Champions League match between Atalanta and Valencia on February 19 played a significant role in spreading the deadly virus. Loading… Bergamo’s Atalanta return to action on Sunday, hoping that a resumption of their incredible football success will signal the historic Italian city’s return to normality after being devastated by coronavirus. Atalanta are fourth in Serie A and in the Champions League quarter-finals “These have been extremely difficult months,” said Mayor Giorgio Gori, remembering the dozens of coffins lined up for burial and the macabre images of the military convoys that carried them which were beamed around the world. “March was a series of mournings, each bit of news more sad than the last. Now there’s relief, we’ve returned to a relatively normal situation,” he told journalists.Advertisement FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Bergamo has suffered over 670 deaths from coronavirus while the Lombardy region has been at the centre of the crisis in Italy “If you asked me two months ago I would have been against,” he told sports newspaper Corriere dello Sport.“But now it’s safer, that the virus appears to have weakened, I’m for it. Bergamo lives for football, breathes football. But Bergamo won’t forget.”Those who are rejoicing at the resumption of football, even behind closed doors, are desperate to know how their so-far incredible season ends.Atalanta occupy the fourth and final Champions League qualifying spot in Serie A and sit three points clear of fifth-placed Roma with a game in hand.Read Also: Setien demands UEFA allow Camp Nou hosts Barcelona v Napoli tie“The lockdown happened at the most beautiful moment (for the team), an historic moment,” said Lazzarini. “We hope that the dream can resume.”After their historic victory in Valencia, players showed off a T-Shirt written in the local dialect: “Bergamo, Mola Mia” or “Never Give Up, Bergamo”.
“His ceiling is exceptionally high,” Weltman said. “I think he’s a 20-year-old player with tremendous potential and I feel confident in saying the league looks at him that way, not just us.’’Fultz has been out since Nov. 19 and was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome in mid-December. He’s averaging 8.2 points and 3.1 assists in 19 appearances in 2018-19.Fultz began his career with high expectations. But, he also dealt with injuries as well as a hitch in his jump shot during his rookie season, which limited him to 14 games. “We look forward to getting him in here, getting our arms around him and understanding everything that he’s dealing with,” Weltman said. “Getting him through that, it’s our job organizationally – from the performance directors and the coaches – to put him in a spot to succeed. However long that takes, that’s how long it will take.’’Fultz has shot just 41.4 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from 3-point range in 33 career games. NBA trade deadline: Takeaways from a whirlwind day of deals The Magic have high hopes for Markelle Fultz.Orlando thinks the 20-year-old can still reach his potential despite his early struggles, president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman told reporters Thursday shortly after the team traded for the guard. “Markelle Fultz was the No. 1 pick in the draft two years ago, and it wasn’t a fluke,” Weltman said, via The Athletic. “I think the whole league had him there. So, we believe that, at 20 years old, the sky’s the limit for him.”Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said tonight: “Markelle Fultz was the number-one pick in the draft two years ago, and it wasn’t a fluke. I think the whole league had him there. So we believe that, at 20 years old, the sky’s the limit for him.”— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) February 8, 2019Orlando acquired Fultz from the 76ers in exchange for forward Jonathon Simmons and two draft picks. Related News