Arsenal v Anderlecht
Kick off: November 4th, 2014 19:45 PM GMT
Two matches and five minutes ago, our season didn’t look promising at all – after a disappointing home draw against Hull snatched from the jaws of defeat in the last seconds, we were going through a miserable performance at Brussels. Then, out of nowhere, Chambers’ cross was followed by a brilliant volley from Kieran Gibbs and the come-back was completed when Lukas Podolski fired the ball into Proto’s net from five yards.
Now, it’s time for Anderlecht to visit us. The Belgians deserved more than a narrow defeat in the first match but repeating a similar performance at the Emirates should be a tall order for them. If we beat Anderlecht, we will end their slim hopes for knockout stage qualification and most likely secure a ticket for another spring among the best European clubs.
If matches in our group go as expected, our game against Borussia Dortmund at the Emirates will decide whether we’ll go to The Knockout Stage from the top spot. Regardless of which place we win, beating Anderlecht on Tuesday night would make our season much easier – unless Galatasaray cause a huge upset and beat Borussia at Signal Iduna Park, we would secure The Knockout Stage with two games to spare which would mean we can focus on the league.
Despite the fact Emiliano Martinez gave a very solid performance in Belgium, Wojciech Szczesny will probably get a chance to get his third clean sheet in a row in all competitions.
There is a doubt for our right full-back position. Calum Chambers has been excellent lately with an assist against the Belgians and a goal and an assist against Burnley, so the decision to play him as the right full-back on Tuesday night sounds like a no-brainer. On the other hand, Chambers can be used as a central defender so Per Mertesacker gets a rest. In that case, Hector Bellerin would take Chambers’ place on the right side of the defence. Nacho Monreal has been in good form lately despite playing out of position and might get another chance to prove his quality. Kieran Gibbs has been bombing down the flank on a regular basis but – just like Chambers or Bellerin – has to be more cautious about the opponents’ counter-attacking potential.
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Mikel Arteta hasn’t given performances to write home about this term but he might get a chance against the Belgians.
His partner – unlike in the last two games – might be Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman injected desire and urgency into our game against Burnley and his co-operation with Arteta last term was amazing.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will maraud down the flank again with – hopefully – some final product this time.
Tomas Rosicky might get a chance in the starting eleven so Santi Cazorla can get a rest. The Czech hasn’t featured in too many games this term so it’s the right time for him to shine. Provided that he gets a chance, of course.
Lukas Podolski has been very dangerous in his last few outings but a place in the starting line-up doesn’t sound so realistic with Sanchez in the form of his life. However, Prinz Poldi can offer some rest to Alexis and his left foot is capable of producing magic.
Danny Welbeck hasn’t had his shooting boots on lately but that should change against Anderlecht. The Englishman has scored a hat-trick in the Champions’ League and he might want to repeat the feat on Tuesday night as well.
We have quality on our side but there are no guarantees that Anderlecht are going to be push-overs. After all, they were dominating the game in the first leg and were extremely unlucky to miss great chances. With the right approach however, we should beat them.
I’d say 2:0 for us with goals from Lukas Podolski and Danny Welbeck.
Chambers Mertesacker Monreal Gibbs
Arteta (c) Ramsey
Chamberlain Rosicky Podolski
Arsenal 2 v 0 Anderlecht