Belgian champions Anderlecht visit the Emirates to take on Arsenal in a pivotal clash in the fourth round of the Champions league. An Arsenal win would all but confirm the Gunners place in the Round of 16 but if Arsenal lose, hell breaks loose. This is the first of two consecutive home games in Europe and given we have Dortmund at home next this fixture becomes absolutely important.
Arsene Wenger in his pre match press conference stressed on the importance of the fixture as well as the need for Arsenal’s mini winning run to extend. Jack Wilshere is unavailable but Theo Walcott will feature at some point in the game. Wenger revealed that Aaron Ramsey didn’t start the game against Burnley because of illness and the Welshman could be handed a start today.
Ramsey hasn’t hit his stride yet and even his manager touched on the issue saying that the midfielder has to get back to his basics and not be obsessed of scoring goals. Upfront Alexis is undroppable, Welbeck has gone off the boil a bit so a goal or two would do him good. Cazorla has been poor all season and Podolski should come in place for him. I fully expect the back four to remain unchanged. Monreal and Per didn’t do that well the last time we met the Belgians so it’s up to them and the rest of the team to keep a clean sheet.
As long as we don’t concede it’s a game we should win comfortably.
Anderlecht took us to the edge in the last game and we were extremely fortunate to come away with the three points. Inexperience and the lack of know how in big games has hit the young side hard. They have conceded 4 goals in the last 15 minutes of the game. Galatasaray equalised at the death in the opening game while you all know what happened two weeks before when we met them.
The away side will be looking to defend and catch us on the break. We may have gotten away with all those spurned chances against Burnley but you can’t expect to be that wasteful in the Champions league without being punished. Only a win would keep Anderlecht’s progression hopes alive and if that were to happen it would be one of the biggest shocks for some time.