Ludogorets Razgrad Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups
Following the successful outing at the Stadium of Light, all focus would be moved to the much-anticipated North London Derby this weekend but there is the business of the Champions League to attend to. Ludogorets came to town a fortnight ago and received a whopping before returning to Bulgaria. It wasn’t all peaches and cream for the Gunners that day, as David Ospina had to be alert to make some brilliant saves but the team’s attacking play was brilliant and they capitalized on the visitor’s frailties to record a rather embarrassing scoreline.
With PSG getting a favorable result against Basel, the Gunners know that victory will be the only option tonight if they still want to finish the group in pole position. Thanks to the smashing of Ludogorets two weeks ago, the club’s goal difference in the group stands at +8, which is superior to PSG’s +5. It’s also worth noting that a victory tonight will send Arsenal to the Champions League knockout stages for the 17th consecutive season.
Wenger considers tonight’s game as a ‘big game’ and despite looking as the top placed finish as his prime target, he still wants to qualify first. He has to ensure the players put their feet on the ground as well, because complacency can become a very big issue in games like these.
Since that thumping Ludogorets received at the Emirates, they have scored 13 goals in their last three league games, including a 5-3 win over FK Dunav, with Claudiu Keseru bagging himself a hat-trick. Apparently, Keseru played alongside Olivier Giroud back in 2009 for Tours FC. Arsenal has to be mindful of the Romanian forward that has scored 13 goals this season and Giroud expressed his happiness in seeing his former teammate doing well.
To team news, Wenger has confirmed the absence of Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin. Apparently, young Hector suffered a knock in training, so he has been left behind to recuperate ahead of this weekend’s game. Carl Jenkinson and Matt Debuchy, but he didn’t confirm if Jenks was going to get the nod ahead of the elder Frenchman. We would also expect to see David Ospina return to the goal posts, as the certified Champions League goalkeeper.
Arsenal: Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck (knee), Santi Cazorla (Achilles tendon), Chuba Akpom (back), Lucas Perez (ankle), Theo Walcott (hamstring – doubt), Nacho Monreal (muscle – doubt), Hector Bellerin (knock – doubt)
- Last Five Games: W W D W W
- Last Result: Sunderland 1-4 Arsenal
- Leading Goalscorer: Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez (8)
- Last Five Games: W L W W W
- Last Result: FK Dunav 3-5 Ludogorets
- Leading Goalscorer: Claudiu Keseru (13)
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mustafi, Gibbs; Xhaka, Coquelin; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Iwobi; Sanchez
Ludogorets (4-2-3-1): Borjan; Natanael, Palomino, Motl, Minev; Anicet, Dyakov; Wanderson, Marcelinho, Jonathan; Keseru
Gooner Daily predicts a 4 – 0 Arsenal win.
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