Arsenal vs Lens recommended bets
Arsenal vs Lens match preview
Arsenal’s Champions League return after seven seasons away has largely gone serenely so far, and victory here would rubber stamp their place as group winners.
Back in early-October, the Gunners were actually beaten 2-1 at Stade Bollaert-Delelis.
Gabriel Jesus gave the visitors an early lead in Northern France, only for spectacular goals from Adrien Thomasson and Elye Wahi to snatch a famous victory for Lens.
This though is the only hiccup Mikel Arteta’s team have experienced in the Champions League so far, bouncing back with successive victories over Sevilla; Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka on target three weeks ago.
Thus, Arsenal are four points clear at the top of Group B, and their place in the round of 16 will already be assured at kick off, if Sevilla beat PSV in the early kick off at Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.
Regardless, the Gunners will be targeting a victory that guarantees first place, thereby making the potentially tricky trip to Eindhoven in 13 nights time a complete dead-rubber.
As well as being top of this group, the Gunners moved top of the Premier League on Saturday night, courtesy of Kai Havertz’ 89th minute winner at the Brentford Community Stadium, sparking wild celebrations.
So, will Arteta’s side now make it four wins on the spin in all competitions?
RC Lens meantime are competing in the Champions League for the first time since 2002, with that aforementioned victory in the reverse fixture the only one they’ve enjoyed to date.
However, Franck Haise’s side have also drawn in Seville and at home to PSV, although they slipped down to third on matchday four, following a narrow 1-0 defeat at Philips Stadion.
This means they now have an inferior head-to-head when compared to PSV, thereby needing a positive result in North London to ensure their fate is still in their own hands ahead of the final matchday.
Domestically, following a catastrophic start to the campaign, les Sang et Or have really found form in recent weeks, unbeaten in eight Ligue 1 games, winning five of them.
Saturday’s 3-0 victory at Clermont Foot, Wahi, Thomasson and Wesley Saïd scoring at Stade Gabriel-Montpied, leaves them sixth, despite having been in the relegation zone at the start of this run.
Here, this’ll be Lens’ third visit to Arsenal, with these matches all taking place at different venues, winning 1-0 at Wembley in 1998 before losing 1-0 at Highbury two years later.
For the Gunners, they’re looking to win all three Champions League group phase home matches for the first time since 2010; never before have they done so without conceding a goal.
We’re expecting the home side to be far too strong.
Arsenal team news
Aaron Ramsdale was back in goal at Brentford on Saturday, with David Raya ineligible to face his parent club, but the Spaniard will be back donning the gloves here.
Benjamin White came off the bench in West London, as he continues to nurse a knock suffered earlier this month.
With Wolves to come on Saturday, followed by a trip to Luton on Tuesday, Mikel Arteta could be tempted to rotate his team.
Fábio Vieira has been ruled out until the new year due to injury, leaving the squad rather thin.
Meanwhile, Kai Havertz’s dramatic winner off the bench at the weekend will surely see him start and, with Gabriel Jesus unlikely to do so again, Leandro Trossard could lead the line.
Lens team news
Morgan Guilavogui’s stoppage time red card in Eindhoven means he is suspended, while Deiver Machado, Jimmy Cabot and Óscar Cortés are all injured.
In goal, Brice Samba’s two previous appearance against Arsenal, one for Nottingham Forest and one for Lens, have seen his team win, so can he keep that streak going.
Elye Wahi was the match-winner in the reverse fixture, one of four goals he’s managed this season, now aiming to become the first visiting player to score in the Champions League at the Emirates for 2,458 days.