Arsenal host Lens in the Champions League this Wednesday at 8pm with the Gunners knowing a win will confirm the top spot in group B. Last Word on Football predicts how the North London side will lineup.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup vs RC Lens in Champions League
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How Arsenal Have Lined Up Recently
Last time out the Gunners snuck to an impressive 1-0 victory against Brentford becoming just the second team in the Premier League to leave the Gtech Community Stadium with all three points. There was no homecoming for David Raya due to his loan agreement from the West London club so out-of-favour Aaron Ramsdale was given the gloves. Despite keeping a clean sheet, the Englishman was shaky in possession and did nothing to win back the number one shirt.
Takehiro Tomiyasu’s influence at Arsenal seems to be growing with the Japanese international having started the previous four games. Alongside the powerful partnership of William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes, Arteta’s side seem to have found real consistency at the back. Oleksandr Zinchenko’s impact going forward has increased from left back with the Ukrainian scoring in a 3-1 win over Burnley ten days ago.
Arsenal fans would have been glad to see club captain Martin Odegaard return to action on the weekend despite the Norwegian having a relatively quiet game. The real breakthrough game for German international Kai Havertz scoring the winner with just his second goal of the season and his first from open play. Leandro Trossard was used as the left eight, a real show of faith from the manager who is desperate to get the ex-Brighton man in his starting lineup.
Last season’s exciting front three of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, and Gabriel Martinelli are yet to get going so far with all of them down on last season’s numbers at this point in the campaign. But with injuries plaguing the attack, a run of games together will do the trio the world of good.
Changes We May See
In goal, Raya will almost certainly replace Ramsdale with the Spaniard available for selection. Arteta labelled his new goalkeeper as ‘excellent’ after the statement win over Manchester City.
Arteta will also be hoping that the winner against Brentford will be the start of a new chapter for Havertz so will want to give him as many minutes as possible to maintain his momentum. Jorginho was consistently starting in Odergaard’s absence before the international break so there may be an opportunity for the experienced Brazilian to take back his starting place.
Eddie Nketiah could also be used to provide relief for the fragile Gabriel Jesus. With the busy Christmas schedule now around the corner, the young Englishman will be getting a lot of minutes as he competes for the number nine jersey.
Arsenal’s Recent Form and Tactics
It was a favourable weekend of results for the Gunners with their win against Brentford and seeing City, Liverpool, and Tottenham all dropping points around them. Despite the brilliant defensive record, Arsenal are still looking for that fluidity that made them so watchable last season.
The front three have had many false starts with injuries and niggles plaguing any consistency. Nevertheless, there is a solidity around the North London side who will be at full strength against Lens as they look to avenge their defeat to the French side back in October.
Arsenal’s Injuries to Consider
The return of White, Odegaard, and Jesus will give Arsenal fans encouragement moving forward with the Gunners avoiding any further injury concerns since the international break. Arteta confirmed the injury to Fabio Vieira who underwent an operation on Monday and will now be out for the coming weeks.
The game with Lens also comes too soon for Emile Smith-Rowe although the academy graduate may only be a few weeks away. Thomas Partey is not expected back for at least a month and summer signing Jurrien Timber will not feature until the Spring of next year with the Dutch international still recovering from a serious ACL injury.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup
Raya, Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Jorginho, Havertz, Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.