Arsenal will play Group B against Ligue 1 newcomers Lens at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday. The Gunners need just one more point to go to the round of 16.
At this juncture in the game, the Gunners seem unstoppable with nine points out of a potential 12, even though their lone mistake came against Franck Haise’s soldiers.
Even though Sevilla’s rearguard, some of whom surprisingly avoided receiving yellow cards, booted Bukayo Saka endlessly on matchday four, Arsenal saw their Hale End starboy pick himself up and put the Gunners on the verge of the knockout stages.
Leandro Trossard’s first-half shot and Saka’s controlled second-half goal propelled Arsenal past the Europa League champions, but with two games remaining, the work is not yet done. The team had recently lost their opening two games to West Ham United and Newcastle United.
With a four-point lead over Lens and PSV Eindhoven in first place and Sevilla out of the competition for the top slot, Arsenal can finish in the top two with a win on Wednesday. If they can defeat Les Sang et Or this week, they will also win the group.
Even if Arsenal loses to Lens for the second game this year, a loss to Sevilla by PSV will guarantee their spot in the knockout round.
After their Champions League ban ended, Lens may have had lower expectations going into Group B, especially since Haise’s team saw a sharp decline in performance at the beginning of the season as they adjusted to life without Seko Fofana, who was heading to Saudi Arabia, and Lois Openda, RB Leipzig’s new striker.
Les Sang et Or, however, entered the Champions League race in first place after winning their first three games. Despite this, they lost to PSV last time out, thus they start matchday five in third place, which is good enough for a Europa League ticket.
On November 8, in Eindhoven, a classic Luuk de Jong header proved to be the difference between the two teams. However, only the head-to-head
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Trossard, Martinelli
Lens possible starting lineup:
Samba; Medina, Danso, Gradit; Aguilar, Abdul Samed, Mendy, Frankowski; Thomasson, Sotoca; Wahi
We declare: Lens, Arsenal 2-0
The focus for Lens has been defense over the previous few weeks, but, with all due respect to their Ligue 1 rivals, Haise’s team will face a very different opponent when they play Arsenal at the Emirates.
Les Sang et Or will greatly benefit from Danso’s anticipated comeback, and while Arsenal has not demonstrated the same level of attacking skill as they did in 2022–2023—Arteta’s very effective players should still score multiple goals to advance to the round of 16.