Arsenal vs Lens

It’s crunch time in the Champions League Group B as Arsenal and Lens lock horns in a revenge-poised clash at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal’s long-awaited return to Europe’s top table is going according to plan, as back-to-back wins against Sevilla fired them to the top of Group B ahead of the last two rounds (W3, L1). Unai Emery’s side will seek revenge against Lens following a 2-1 defeat in the reverse fixture, encouraged by a last-gasp 1-0 win against Brentford at the weekend. Achieving that feat would propel the ‘Gunners’ into the Champions League knockouts with a game to spare, yet there’s a catch. Despite coming into proceedings as odds-on favorites, the Londoners have never triumphed against Lens in Europe’s elite competition (D1, L2). It’s probably the perfect time for a change of scenery as Arsenal have emerged victorious in nine of their last 12 European games at the Emirates (D2, L1).

On the other hand, Lens’ sensational comeback in the reverse fixture remains their only win in Group B (D2, L1), but they still commence this round level on points with runners-up PSV Eindhoven. Franck Heise’s side ought to take this trip in a buoyant mood after a 3-0 romping of Clermont last weekend extended their impressive unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to eight matches. In stark contrast to their domestic purple patch, ‘Les Sang et Or’ have massively underperformed on their continental travels, going winless in their last 13 UEFA games on foreign soil (D7, L6). However, four clean sheets in five competitive outings in the build-up to this encounter can inspire confidence around the traveling camp.

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