The Belgian champions welcome second placed Arsenal in match-day three after a 3-0 home defeat against Borussia Dortmund. The Purple and Whites managed to grind out a respectable draw against Turkish side Galatasaray away from home on the opening weekend and are still in search of their first win of the group stages of the elite competition. Manager Besnik Hasi’s side was held to back to back draws in the league against Genk and Mechelen but still find themselves comfortable at the summit with 23 points from 11 games. Sitting bottom of Group D, Anderlecht are in dire need of a win, to turn their fortunes around – with this game set to be played at home, the Belgian side cannot settle for anything less than 3 points, if they are to progress to the knockout stages, against the odds.
Arsenal endured a frustrating draw at home to Hull City which meant they are now a massive 11 points behind league leaders Chelsea as early as game-week 8. With only 2 league wins so far, Arsenal will look to build on the momentum they must have gained after the vintage 4-1 win at home against Galatasaray, thanks to the timely hat-trick from new boy Danny Welbeck. After a disappointing start to the tournament, a 2-0 defeat at the Signal Iduna Park, Arsene Wenger’s side bounced back to the delight of the fans and will look to take one further step in their pursuit to progress to the last 16 stages by getting back to winning ways in Belgium.
Fabrice N’Sakala suffered a knee ligament injury in training on 3 September and is expected to be out until November at the earliest. Defender Bram Nuytinck will need to be assessed after a toe injury he sustained and looks to be doubtful to start, come Wednesday.
Arsene Wenger though, has a host of injury problems to deal with ahead of this crunch tie against Anderlecht. With as many as 5 players definitely ruled out for the game in Mesut Ozil (Knee), Sanogo (Thigh), Debuchy (Ankle), Ospina (Hip) and Koscielny (Calf) – the manager will be boosted by the return of crucial first team members in Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott – who could get a few minutes under their belt on Wednesday.
Anderlecht have played 28 times against English sides (W6 D4 L18). At home their record is W5 D3 L6 (not including the 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup final versus West Ham United FC).
Four of their previous six fixtures against Belgian sides have involved R. Standard de Liège, Arsenal beating them away (3-2) and home (2-0) in the 2009/10 group stage. Cyriac appeared as a second-half substitute for Standard at Arsenal Stadium on 24 November 2009.
The Dortmund reverse is Besnik Hasi’s side’s only defeat in 15 matches this term.
Arsenal have won just two of their eight league games this season, four fewer than at the same stage last term.
Dennis Praet – RSC Anderlecht
Praet, the Belgian attacking midfielder has scored the only goal the team has managed in this season’s Champions league so far, with the crucial opener against Galatasaray which would later get cancelled out rather cruelly by a stoppage time equalizer from Yilmaz. The 20-year old produced a man-of-the-performance that night, putting in a shift that saw him make 2 successful tackles, complete a dribble and eventually got the goal the team wanted. With a 90% pass success rate, Praet is one of the more technically sound players in the squad and he could be the manager’s go-to man to upset the visitors.
Danny Welbeck – Arsenal
Danny Welbeck has hit the ground running at his new club, doing justice to his fairly high price tag. The English forward has already reached a personal landmark with Arsenal scoring his first Champions League hat-trick for the gunners at home in the comprehensive victory against Galatasaray. He’s also on a good scoring run in general for both club and country, as he also managed to convert an Alexis Sanchez lay-off into a goal – what was a vital equalizer during the weekend that saved the blushes against Hull. With Giroud and Sanogo sidelined due to injury, Danny Welbeck has shouldered a lot of responsibility, something the manager will want to continue going into this crucial trip to the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.
Stats courtesy – Squawka.com
Arsenal to win this. By 3 goals. Again.