Arsenal face Lens on the road in tonight’s Champions League group stage clash.
The Gunners secured a resounding 4-0 win over Bournemouth in the Premier League last weekend. They are now only one point behind leaders Manchester City whom they host at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Prior to that game, they have a crucial European encounter at Lens tonight. The north London giants will be eyeing a second straight win in the group stage against the Ligue 1 outfit, who are 15th in their division.
David Raya has been the Gunners’ first-choice goalkeeper since the last international break. Aaron Ramsdale only replaced him in the Carabao Cup third round where he was ineligible to face his parent club Brentford. The Spaniard will be eyeing his fourth clean sheet of the campaign.
In front of him, it should be the same backline from the Cherries win. Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko are nailed-on starters in the full-back roles. William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes are also expected to start at the heart of the defence for the Gunners.
In yesterday’s press conference, Mikel Arteta confirmed that Thomas Partey is back in full training after his recent injury while Bukayo Saka is also fit after picking up a knock versus Bounemouth. In our view, the former could be eased into the proceedings.
He may come off the bench if required. Arteta will most likely want him in the starting line-up against the Cityzens at the weekend. Hence, Declan Rice should continue in the number six role with Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard taking up the central midfield positions.
Havertz got the chance to end his long-goal drought from the penalty spot last weekend. Hopefully, this will boost the German’s confidence over the coming games. Further forward, Saka should start on the right wing after making another quick recovery from a knock.
Eddie Nketiah won a penalty against the Cherries but other than that, he was ineffective. We see Gabriel Jesus leading the line against Lens. Nketiah should make way for Leandro Trossard. The Belgian was in splendid form before his minor injury. He is expected to start on the left wing.
How Arsenal could line up vs Lens
Stats from Transfermarkt.com