Arsenal Over Their Nightmare Performance In Anderlecht
Arsenal vs Anderlecht Match Preview – Champions League – 04.11.14
If Arsenal and group leaders, Borussia Dortmund, both emerge from tonight’s matches victorious then both sides will have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League and who tops the group will most likely be decided in the match on the 26th November.
Arsenal had quite the scare against Anderlecht a fortnight ago when they came away with a fortunate three points in a last minute dash dubbed “Banterlecht”. It was a performance most worthy of the nightmare moniker which is an often misused analogy. A nightmare tends to be a horrid apparition where you feel helpless and unable to escape the hellish torture your own subconscious has concocted but just as you are about to hit the ground after a nasty fall or the killer catches you or the vehicle is about to obliterate your body you wake up in a cold by thankful sweat. However your nightmare manifests you always wake to find out that is was just a dream and are you fine – potentially soiled and embarrassed, but fine.
That is what the Anderlecht performance was. It was a true nightmare. We were abject in pretty much every aspect and just as it looked like the final blow was going to be delivered to kill off our Champions League dreams we woke up and smashed in two goals and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Like dreams, our performance was a manifestation of an underlying issue. Often bad dreams, or dreams of any kind are your brain processing emotion and making it something mentally visual for you to digest and interpret. Our performances are a result of our underlying issues, be they injury based, tactical or otherwise. Personally I think it’s a multitude of minor problems all adding up but now we’ve had that nightmare performance we should be able to interpret the issue/s and forge a solution and it seems we are on our way.
Wenger’s men have strung a couple of league wins together since that game and are beginning to find some stability in defence and rhythm in attack – mostly due to Alexis Sanchez.
There should be no shocks in store tonight and it may be considered a chance to give some squad players some game time – I’d like to see Podolski play as he is looking hungry and sharp when he comes on for his cameos. Although with a relatively unchanged team for the past two games and a new look 442 formation the manager may want to keep the momentum going for the tricky away match to Swansea this weekend.
This should be a comfortable game for Arsenal and a chance to improve their goal difference ahead of the table topper clash with Dortmund.
Arsenal from; Szczesny, Martinez, Bellerin, Chambers, Monreal, Mertesacker, Arteta, Flamini, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky, Alexis, Cazorla, Walcott, Welbeck, Campbell, Podolski
Szczesny, Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Arteta, Flamini, Cazorla, Chamberlain, Welbeck, Sanchez
I expect to see substitute appearances from Ramsey, Walcott and Podolski
“I think he gained confidence and respect from everybody, because he has shown that he has the quality to play for us.” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Arsenal 2- 1 Anderlecht 22.10.2014
- Arsenal 3 – 0 Anderlecht 28.04.1970
- Anderlecht 3 – 1 Arsenal 22.04.1970
Arsenal Last 5
Anderlecht Last 5
Anderlecht drew their home match against 4th placed Lokeren 1-1 this week in the Jupiler Pro league. Their European campaign is well off-track and aside from their performance against Arsenal they have struggled to look cohesive in the past month.
Anderlecht are decent on the counter though, as Arsenal found out a fortnight ago, so could pose a threat if Arsenal concede possession too easily and are over-committed in the attack.
- In their last 8 games against English sides Anderlecht have 7 losses and 1 draw, 1-1 to Spurs.
- Anderlecht have never won on English soil
- After a 22 game unbeaten run Anderlecht lost to Dortmund and have won only one game since
- Burnley have not beaten Arsenal away since September 1974
- Arsenal have gone behind in each of their home league games this season
Anderlecht have found wins hard to come by recently and it’s highly unlikely their fortunes will chance tonight. If Arsenal control the game in midfield and don’t over commit in search of a goal then Anderlecht’s strongest weapon, their pace on the counter, should be nullified and Arsenal will run out comfortable winners. I’m going for 4-0 with a third brace on the trot for Alexis, a Welbeck goal and a return to scoring from Theo.
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