Arsenal head into this week’s Champions League meeting with Anderlecht three points behind Group D leaders Borussia Dortmund, needing a win to keep up the pressure on the Germans.
The Gunners are five points clear of both the Belgian side and Galatasaray, who take on Group D leaders Borussia Dortmund, meaning wins for the Germans and Arsenal would ensure both sides’ places in the last 16 with two games to spare.
Arsene Wenger’s men also come into this game with back to back league wins, in which Alexis Sanchez has scored four. The Chilean has hit a fine patch of form and will look to extend his Champions League goal tally, which currently stands at two in five games.
The Gunners head into the match off the back of a 3-0 win over Burnley and will be hoping for more of the same from striker Alexis Sanchez, who netted twice against the Premier League‘s new boys.
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny missed the game in Belgium through suspension, but will reclaim his place between the sticks after keeping a clean sheet against Burnley. No new injuries were picked up during Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Burnley on Saturday. Theo Walcott made his return and Kieran Gibbs was passed fit pre-game. All-in-all a good day’s outing for Arsene Wenger’s men.
Jack Wilshere could return to the Gunners’ midfield after sitting out of the victory against Burnley, featuring in the centre midfield alongside Aaron Ramsey.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may be sacrificed to make way for Wilshere, while a lengthy injury list could force Wenger to use Nacho Monreal as a makeshift centre-back once again. Olivier Giroud is the only striker out for Arsenal. Theo Walcott may not be ready to start on Tuesday but Danny Welbeck does have a hat-trick in this season’s competition to his name.
A number of injuries do concern Arsene Wenger’s squad. Defenders Laurent Koscielny and Mathieu Debuchy are still out but the current back four head into this game off of back-to-back clean sheets.
Anderlecht made a great start to the Belgian league domestically this season but it’s just one win in their last seven in all competitions. They were already considered the weakest team in this group before a ball was kicked. Anderlecht meanwhile will be seeking revenge. Two weeks ago they led for the best part of 88 minutes before conceding two goals, and subsequently losing the match. Their first league defeat followed the weekend after.
Steven Defour picked up a thigh injury during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Lokeren. The Belgian side will still be without Fabrice N’Sakala too.
Anderlecht will field Defour and Conte in centre, Mattias Suarez and Najar on wings with Praet in middle.
Gohi Bi Cyriac was the hero at the weekend with a stoppage-time equaliser. The Ivory Coast striker was a surprise start a fortnight ago so he’ll be probably selected again on Tuesday. Aleksandar Mitrović and Matías Suárez are alternate choices to manager Besnik Hasi.
Anderlecht 1 (Najar) Arsenal 2 (Gibbs, Podolski), Champions League, October 2014
Arsenal 3 (Kelly, Radford, Sammels) Anderlecht 0, Fairs Cup, April 1970
Anderlecht 3 (Devrindt, Mulder 2) Arsenal 1 (Kennedy), Fairs Cup, April 1970 (via SportsMole)
Anderlecht have only lost one game out of 14 in the Belgian Pro League this season.
Arsenal have also only lost one game in the league this season, they are only bettered by Chelsea who remain unbeaten.
Alexis Sanchez has scored five goals in this last three league games.
Possible starting lineups:
Arsenal: Szczesny; Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs; Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey; Cazorla, Sanchez, Welbeck
Anderlecht: Proto; Vanden Borre, Mbemba, Heylen, Deschacht; Defour, Tielemans; Najar, Praet, Suarez; Cyriac
Arsenal 3-0 Anderlecht
Picture Courtesy: Guardian