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Monday 16 July 2018

WATCH - The terrifying tunnel walk awaiting Arsenal players in their Europa League tie versus Red Star Belgrade

Police line the tunnel inside Red Star Belgrade's 'Marakana' stadium CREDIT: YOUTUBE
Police line the tunnel inside Red Star Belgrade's 'Marakana' stadium CREDIT: YOUTUBE

Callum Davis

Arsenal players will have their mettle tested to the max before a ball is even kicked on Thursday evening.

Days after Troy Deeney accused Arsene Wenger's men of 'lacking cojones', Arsenal play Red Star Belgrade at one of the most intimidating grounds in European football.

Known locally as 'The Marakana', Red Star Belgrade's home stadium once had a capacity of 100,000 people.

These days the Rajko Mitić Stadium holds around 55,000 seats but Serbia's largest ground is remains an intimidating place to play.

A recent video from Red Star's 'Eternal Derby' clash with FK Partizan gives frightening glimpse of what awaits Arsenal's players in their walk from the changing rooms to the pitch.

The Europa League fixture comes less than a week after Watford striker Troy Deeney suggested Arsenal's players lacked backbone.

"I have to watch what I say but it's about having a bit of cojones, I think the word is. Having a bit of nuts," said Deeney in an interview with BT Sport following his side's 2-1 win at Vicarage Road.

"Whenever I play Arsenal and this is just personal, I go up and I think let me whack the first one, let’s see who wants it."

Jack Wilshere has since rejected Deeney's criticism, claiming Arsenal's attitude cannot be questioned.

"As a player if your attitude is questioned, it's horrible. I don't think the comments were justified. All we can do is perform," said Wilshere.

"I look around this team and you can't question our character. People try and put us down, they always have," he added.

Arsene Wenger is set to continue with his policy of playing youth in Europa League and hopes his young charges will rise to the challenge of playing in front of the hostile crowd.

“We have the habit to deal with that at every stadium in England and we had a long experience in the Champions League. I don’t think there will be a negative impact. We expect a game with a huge commitment from everybody.”

French right-back Mathieu Debuchy is expected to make his return to the first team having played just 16 minutes in the last two years.

“He has not played for a long time because every time he is close to coming back he is injured again. Hopefully he gets through. He certainly starts,” the Arsenal manager said.

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