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Other SportsArsenal v Lens: Preview, expected line-ups and prediction

Arsenal v Lens: Preview, expected line-ups and prediction

The State of Play

Arsenal have taken nine points from their four Group B games which may be enough to see them advance before a ball is kicked tomorrow night. If Sevilla beat PSV Eindhoven in the 1745 kick off then Mikel Arteta’s men will be guaranteed a top-two finish. Should PSV get at least a point in Spain then Arsenal will still go through with a draw against Lens.

The permutations appear favourable for Arsenal on what has been an impressive return to the Champions League. The Gunners are also on a decent run with successive wins over Sevilla, Burnley and Brentford, the latter coming at the weekend courtesy of Kai Havertz’s late goal.

Lens are also in good form having overcome a woeful start to the season. Franck Haise’s side lost four of their opening five Ligue 1 games but have turned it around to sit sixth in the table. They have also won their last two league fixtures, against Marseille and Clermont Foot.

The reverse fixture saw Lens come from behind to win 2-1.

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Team News

All eyes will be on the team sheet when it’s released an hour before kick-off to see who Arteta has selected in goal. The clamour for Aaron Ramsdale to re-take the number one spot has subsided following his shaky display at Brentford – David Raya was unable to play that game against his parent club. It’s expected Raya will return tomorrow night.

Lens will have centre-half Kevin Danso available after he missed the weekend win at Clermont with a foot injury. Striker Morgan Guilavogui is suspended while Deiver Machado has an adductor injury and could miss out. Striker Elye Wahi can play as his suspension for being sent-off on Saturday only applies to domestic fixtures.

Expected Line-ups

Arsenal: Raya; Tomiyasu, Gabriel, Saliba, Zinchenko; Rice, Odegaard, Trossard; Saka, Martinelli, Jesus

Lens: Samba; Danso, Khusanov, Medina; Aguilar, El Aynaoui, Abdul Samed, Frankowski; Thomasson, Fulgini, Wahi

What they said

Mikel Arteta on if he’s enjoying managing in the Champions League
“Yes, I am enjoying it, it’s a great feeling, it makes you feel proud. It makes you feel that’s the level that we should be at. We are competing really well so let’s continue to do so.
“It’s normal that we have to prove ourselves, being back in Europe, to be the club we want to be, to get the results that tell everyone we are back in a strong way. We haven’t done that yet and that has to be done.”

Former France defender Adil Rami speaking to Amazon Prime on Elye Wahi’s red card at the weekend and his hot-headedness
“To grow, he has to make small mistakes like that. You make mistakes, you grow. But if he continues, he will look like a certain Mario Balotelli. Today we will forgive him. Franck Haise defends him [publicly], but perhaps he does not say the same things in the dressing room. We should defend him, he’s young. But if he makes the same mistakes tomorrow, it won’t happen the same way.”

When and how to watch

The game kicks off at 2000 UK time at the Emirates Stadium. It can be watched in the UK on TNT Sports 2, with the programme starting at 7pm.

Prediction

Arsenal are unbeaten at the Emirates this season and it’s tough to see Lens changing that statistic. Arteta will know finishing top of the group has additional benefits – most likely avoiding the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in the round of 16 as well as having home advantage in the second leg.
Expect a comfortable Arsenal win.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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