Arsenal are back in Champions League action on Tuesday night as they visit Ligue 1 outfit Lens on Matchday 2 in Group B.
The Gunners couldn’t have asked for a sweeter return to elite European action as they thrashed PSV 4-0 to celebrate their return to the competition. Arsenal were superb against the talented but naive Dutch outfit, but they’re in for a completely different game on Tuesday.
The Stade Bollaert-Delelis is an immensely tough ground to visit, and Lens won’t surrender anywhere near as much space compared to PSV two weeks ago. Franck Haise is a shrewd boss and although Lens lost a couple of key men in the summer, their results have picked up heading into Tuesday’s bout.
They’ve found stability in defence, and have been able to catch opponents out with their speed in transition. Nevertheless, Arsenal should simply boast too much talent and coherence for Haise’s men to live with.
Lens vs Arsenal preview: Prediction, team news & lineups
Here’s our preview of the Gunners’ upcoming Champions League fixture.
How to watch Lens vs Arsenal on TV
When is kick-off? Tuesday 3 October
What time is kick-off? 20:00 (BST)
Where is it played? Stade Bollaert-Delelis
TV channel/live stream? TNT Sports 2, discovery+, discovery+ App (UK) / Paramount+, ViX (US) / DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Marco Guida (ITA)
Lens team news
Lens are without several players due to injury, although Haise doesn’t have any fresh concerns from their 1-0 win over Strasbourg.
The hosts will be without Massadio Haidara, Jimmy Cabot, and David Costa for Arsenal’s visit, but they are close to welcoming back Wuilker Farinez after he suffered a devastating knee injury.
Kevin Danso will marshal the troops at the back, while summer arrival Elye Wahi is their primary goalscoring threat.
Arsenal team news
There is no injury crisis as was feared last week as Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice, and William Saliba all started Saturday’s win. Leandro Trossard also made the bench.
Saka, who picked up a knock at Bournemouth, trained on Monday alongside Thomas Partey, who is set to make his return to the side on Tuesday night. Although, he may not start.
Gabriel Martinelli remains a doubt as he didn’t train ahead of the midweek contest.
Lens vs Arsenal predicted lineups
Lens: Sama; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Frankowski, Samed, Mendy, Machado; Fulgini, Wahi, Sotoca.
Arsenal: Raya; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice, Odegaard, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Trossard.
Lens’ recent form
Strasbourg 0-1 Lens (29/09) – Ligue 1
Lens 2-1 Toulouse (24/09) – Ligue 1
Sevilla 1-1 Lens (20/09) – Champions League
Lens 0-1 Metz (16/09) – Ligue 1
Monaco 3-0 Lens (02/09) – Ligue 1
Arsenal’s recent form
Bournemouth 0-4 Arsenal (30/09) – Premier League
Brentford 0-1 Arsenal (27/09) – Carabao Cup
Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham (24/09) – Premier League
Arsenal 4-0 PSV (20/09) – Champions League
Everton 0-1 Arsenal (17/09) – Premier League
The dynamic of Tuesday’s contest should differ entirely from the PSV rout. Arsenal will be playing in a hostile atmosphere against a stubborn outfit that can break away at speed.
The hosts will seek to frustrate the visitors in a manner in which several sides have had success this season. Lens have certainly tightened up in recent weeks and look to be reaching a level that’s not too far off their mean from last season.
Arsenal will have to be patient and sustain pressure throughout, ensuring Wahi doesn’t get a sniff on the counter. Overall, I think the visitors will edge out a hard-fought win.
Prediction: Lens 0-1 Arsenal