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Arsenal vs Anderlecht | Champion League Preview

On November fourth, Belgium side Anderlecht travel to the Emirates Stadium to face off against Arsenal.  After a crazy ending to the reverse fixture in Belgium two weeks ago, Anderlecht get the chance to take revenge against Arsenal.  Despite being outplayed in Belgium, Arsenal came away with all three points thanks to two late goals from Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski.  With this match in London, Arsenal should have an easier time of it, but Anderlecht showed that they are not a team that can be taken lightly.  The home side could qualify for the round of sixteen with a win, so they can’t afford to take this match lightly.


Team News

Arsenal, as usual, have some injury issues to deal with.  Arsene Wenger is missing Mathieu Debuchy, Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, and David Ospina all to long term injuries.  Laurent Koscielny will also be missing as he continues to deal with tendinitis in his achilles. The Gunners may get Jack Wilshere back as he will have a late fitness test to determine whether he can play after taking a knock to his knee.  Wenger’s team will get a boost with goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny returning from suspension.  Anderlecht will be without defender Fabrice N’Sakala.  Defender Bram Nuytinck is also a doubt with an injury.

Interesting Statistics

  • This is the first time that Anderlecht has traveled to the Emirates.
  • Anderlecht have only two points from their last nine Champions League matches.
  • Since blowing their lead against Arsenal, Anderlecht have won only one of their last three league games.
  • Since coming back vs Anderlecht, the Gunners have won their last two league games by a combined score of 5-0.

Key Men

Arsenal- Alexis Sanchez

At the moment, the key man for Arsenal is not a debate. Their key man is Chilean superstar Alexis Sanchez.  Sanchez has carried the Gunners for their last few matches. The number 17 has four goals in his last two Premier League games, and he has 10 goals in his first 16 games for Arsenal.  Only Ian Wright scored 10 Arsenal goals in fewer games than Sanchez.  The former Barcelona man has by far been Arsenal’s best player this season, and the Chilean shows no signs of slowing down.  Despite being only 5’7, he scored a header for Arsenal’s opening goal in their last match against Burnley.  He has scored the opening goal in three of the Gunners’ last four matches.

Anderlecht- Andy Najar

Anderlecht’s key man is their goalscorer from the first meeting, Andy Najar.  The Honduran winger scored his first Champions League goal to give Anderlecht the lead in Brussels.  Despite not coming away with the points, Najar showed that he is a dangerous player. Najar has completed a take on every 19 minutes in the Champions League and has created a chance every 90 minutes, despite his team usually being on the back foot.


Arsenal are big favorites going into this match, and should come away with all three points.  The fact that they struggled in the reverse fixture should ensure that they don’t take their Belgium opposition lightly, and they rarely lose at home.  That said, the Belgian side clearly pose a threat with players like Dennis Praet, Andy Najar, and Aleksander Mitrovic.  Anderlecht will provide a tough test for the English side, but in the end I see Arsenal coming out with all three points.

Prediction: 2-0 Arsenal

Follow me on twitter @The_Jersey_Fitz.
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