Anderlecht Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups
With the memories of the Hull game still fresh in our heads, tonight’s match against RSC Anderlecht would give the Gunners another chance to get to winning ways and most importantly, get some points in the bag with Borussia Dortmund setting the pace in the group. Arsenal has drawn six of their first 13 matches in all competitions this season, and have found themselves behind at some stage in eight separate games. Arsene Wenger has stated the Gunners need to kickstart their season, and this game offers the team a good platform going forward.
Anderlecht have not won in eight Champions League matches and Arsenal will need to win both home and away if they are to avoid finishing second for the four consecutive season. The Belgians drew their opening game against Galatasaray before they were thrashed at home by the group leaders, Dortmund. If the Gunners get six points from their double-legged affair against the Belgian outfit, it would set the tone for a mouthwatering encounter against Dortmund, with both teams knowing that victory would the winner top spot.
Wenger has thrown more light on the injury suffered by David Ospina,
“It is exactly the same one [as from the World Cup]. He had his first injury at Nice – it was a knee problem and he was a bit rushed back and did not use his leg, so his muscle became weaker. Then he got injured in the World Cup. After that, he came to us injured after the World Cup and it took him two months to play again. I had to bring him on against Galatasaray without a warm up and being prepared, so he had a recurrence of that injury. It means he is out for two to three months, now we have to be really careful because it is a recurrence of a thigh injury, which is very difficult. It is a long-term injury.”
Wenger has also talked up stand-in goalie, Damian Martinez, and he’d be hoping for the lad to put up a good shift tonight. The defense has been a major cause for concern this season and Arseblog published an article that echoed on the team’s defensive frailties but I’m hoping that the team puts up a better showing at the back. The club’s failure to sign a new central defender has been a much talked-about affair but nothing can be done till January, to say the least.
With Calum Chambers returning from his suspension, I’d expect him to get the nod ahead of Hector Bellerin with Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal and Per Mertesacker retaining their places in the heart of the defense. In midfield, I’d have preferred to see Francis Coquelin in the holding role but I know that Wenger would prefer to play Mathieu Flamini in front of the back four and with Aaron Ramsey still walking his way to full fitness, Jack Wilshere (if he shakes off his knock) and Santi Cazorla would play in front of Flamini. The fast-paced attacking trio of Alexis Sanchez, the Ox and Danny Welbeck will lead the line.
Elsewhere, Theo Walcott, Serge Gnabry and Abou Diaby got some game time in Arsenal’s U-21s clash with Blackburn last week and it was really good seeing pictures of the lads, especially Walcott (seems he has joined the #BeardGang movement) whose qualities have been sorely missed.
Anderlecht: Fabrice N’Sakala
Arsenal: Matt Debuchy (ankle), Olivier Giroud (foot), , Yaya Sanogo (hamstring), Mikel Arteta (calf), Mesut Ozil (knee), David Ospina (thigh), Laurent Koscielny (Achilles tendon), Abou Diaby, Serge Gnabry, Theo Walcott (lacking match fitness)
- Last Five Games: W W L D D
- Last Result: Mechelen 1 Anderlecht 1
- Last Five Games: L D W L D
- Last Result: Arsenal 2 Hull 2
Gooner Daily Prediction: 0 – 3
Here’s to three points in Belgium.
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