Anderlecht vs Arsenal PreviewJake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016
Anderlecht vs Arsenal | Wednesday 22 October | Constant Vanden Stock | Kick Off: 19:45
Arsenal head to Brussels this week to face Belgian Champions Anderlecht in their third Group D Champions League clash.
Arsene Wenger’s side claimed three points in their last European match, defeating Galatasaray 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium but their form in recent domestic games has proved far less impressive.
Prior to the international break the Gunners lost to London rivals Chelsea and a 2-2 draw with Hull City on Saturday further demonstrated how the side are struggling.
The weekend’s game was nearly a second consecutive loss for Wenger’s men, but a late goal by Danny Welbeck salvaged a single point.
Since the weekend, Arsene Wenger has displayed his frustration at his team’s chaotic defending during the game.
“Last year we had 17 clean sheets with the same defenders,” said the Frenchman. “We have not started to do that at the moment. This season has been much harder. It’s difficult to say why because there’s not just one reason.
“It’s a post-World Cup year. It’s also because we had to play Besiktas to qualify for the Champions League without having everybody ready. We have missed many players but our defensive efficiency is not there at the moment. You cannot survive at the top level by always conceding two goals. It’s impossible.”
Wenger has some good news on the injury front however with Aaron Ramsey now recovered to full fitness from his hamstring injury in time for the Anderlecht clash on Wednesday. Theo Walcott will also be ready to make his first appearance since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in January.
It is not all good news for Wenger however, as there are several new concerns for Arsenal with keeper David Ospina out, meaning that they’ll have to rely on 22-year-old Emiliano Martinez to step in for suspended Wojciech Szczesny. The Gunners are also without Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil, although Calum Chambers will be free to playing having served a domestic ban.
Despite Arsenal’s struggling form, the pressure is on for Anderlecht who will need to win both home and away against the Gunners to avoid finishing second in the group for the fourth year in a row.
Danny Welbeck is most likely to find the back of the net, but all eyes will be on Walcott upon his long-awaited return. Don’t forget to tune in at 7.45pm on Wednesday as this looks set to be a closely-fought game.