Arsenal make a short trip across the channel to Northern France to face Lens in their second group-stage match of the Champions League. Last Word on Football predicts how the Gunners will lineup.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs Lens
Focused on the task ✊
📸 Go inside our training session before we return to Champions League action 👇
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 2, 2023
More Rotation in Goal for Arsenal
Mikel Arteta seems to be favouring David Raya in goal for the big games so far this season, however, Aaron Ramsdale proved that he is still a world-class goalkeeper with a fine display against Brentford in the Carabao Cup.
This encounter with a Lens side who sit way down the Ligue 1 table could provide an opportunity for the Englishman to stake his claim as first-choice goalkeeper.
Oleksandr Zinchenko to be Rested for Arsenal
There is no doubt that Arteta will be keeping one eye on Arsenal’s mouth-watering clash with Manchester City this weekend even before the Gunners kick off in Lens. Zinchenko is so important to the brand of football they are playing at the moment that keeping him fit for that match is absolutely essential.
Therefore expect Takehiro Tomiyasu to start at left back. Arsenal are not taking these early Champions League games for granted however, as they proved in their 4-0 demolition of PSV last time out. So expect Ben White, William Saliba, and Gabriel Magalhaes to make up the remainder of the back four.
Kai Havertz in Midfield for Arsenal
Arsenal’s summer signing Kai Havertz got off the mark this weekend with a goal from the spot in the 4-0 win at Bournemouth. He has to play to build on the confidence that goal would have given him so expect the German international from the start.
Watch: Analysing Arsenal
Declan Rice recovered from a back problem to start against Bournemouth and like Martin Odergaard, if he is fit he will play no matter the opposition so expect those two to make up the midfield three.
Opportunity for Reiss Nelson
Leandro Trossard was an unused sub against the Cherries on the weekend and could well get some minutes in the trip to Lens, however, his target return date has to be the clash with the Citizens. This may leave the door open for Reiss Nelson who scored the only goal of the game against Brentford in his last start and has provided good competition in the wing position all season.
Bukayo Saka is another name who is likely to start with Eddie Nketiah through the middle, not giving any opportunity for Gabriel Jesus to get injured before the weekend.
Arsenal’s Recent Form and Tactics
The Gunners are on a role at the moment and remain the only Premier League club undefeated in all competitions. After a disappointing 2-2 draw with Tottenham in the North London Derby, they have shown real strength of character bouncing back with a 1-0 at Brentford and then a 4-0 against Bournemouth.
Lens on the other hand are showing no signs of backing up a wonderful season last year as they linger around the relegation zone in Ligue 1. It is essential that the English side go into that top-of-the-table clash with the citizens with momentum behind them so they need to show a strong display on Tuesday night.
Arsenal Injuries to Consider
On the injury front, there has been some good news coming out of the Hale End training centre of late. Thomas Partey, who was so key last season, has returned to training, and as previously mentioned Trossard is back in contention as well. Jurrien Timber is supposedly well ahead of schedule although still will not return before the new year. The only additional injury concern is Gabriel Martinelli who is ruled out of the match against Lens.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup
Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu, Rice, Odergaard, Havertz, Saka, Nketiah, Nelson