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Preview: Arsenal v Anderlecht

Arsenal FC needed a remarkable escape to turn defeat into victory at RSC Anderlecht last time out; Arsène Wenger says there is no risk of complacency setting in again.

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger oversees training on Monday
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger oversees training on Monday ©Getty Images

Arsène Wenger says Arsenal have learned lessons of the dramatic win in Belgium
Anderlecht need a victory to maintain hopes of a last-16 spot
Arsenal are on a three-game winning run and have kept back-to-back clean sheets
• Anderlecht have won just one of their last seven matches
Both teams are depleted by injuries

Possible lineups
Arsenal: Szczęsny; Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs; Arteta, Flamini; Alexis Sánchez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla; Welbeck.
Out: Wilshere (illness), Debuchy (ankle), Giroud (ankle), Özil (knee), Koscielny (Achilles), Ospina (thigh)

Anderlecht: Proto; Deschacht, Heylen, Mbemba, Vanden Borre; Acheampong, Praet, Tielemans, Najar; Mitrović, Cyriac.
Out: N'Sakala (knee), Suárez (knee), Defour (calf), Nuytinck (toe)

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
The squad is exactly the same as against Burnley. We had a lot of long-term injuries, of course, with Giroud, Theo, Debuchy and Özil – and Ospina as well – but they are slowly all getting better and Theo is the first now to come back. I believe that we are at the end of the tunnel.

We have an opportunity [to qualify on matchday four] maybe, because it depends on the result in the other game, but of course we play at home and we have an opportunity to win the game and we want to take this opportunity. We are on a good run and want to take advantage of that.

Theo Walcott returned to action on Saturday
Theo Walcott returned to action on Saturday©Getty Images

We respect [Anderlecht] because they gave us a tough game. We had a little bit of a miraculous win because we needed to go until the last minute – but that was also our quality in this game. We are warned, we have learnt a lot from the first game, and now at home we want to win again.

What is important for us is that we had 17 clean sheets last year, and since the start of the season until Anderlecht we could not find that defensive stability – in the last two games we have found that. That is of major importance in the English Premier League.

Besnik Hasi, Anderlecht coach
We're going to give it a go. I've been missing my first-choice central defender for the last six weeks and I've not been able to pick my first-choice defence since the start of the season but we're trying to patch things up and find solutions. We've had some bad luck but we've also had some average games in terms of performances. I'm hoping to get people back and then we will see what this team is capable of.

Anderlecht training on Monday night
Anderlecht training on Monday night©Getty Images

The last two or three minutes of the first leg were draining. We were satisfied with the first half, keeping it 0-0. We knew they had a lot of quality and they were going to push hard. We thought if we were organised and kept them out in the first half then we would get more spaces and we could use them. We failed to make it 2-0 or 3-0, though, and some youthful mistakes allowed Arsenal the comeback.

It's one thing conceding a goal and getting one point; it's another thing to lose the game entirely – nobody saw that coming and it had a hugely negative impact on my young squad. If Arsenal are better than us then I have no problem congratulating them; but in the first game I don't think we got what we deserved.

If you want to win a Champions League game from our level, against big teams, you have to be at your best and maybe a bit more; then you need to hope your opponents have an off-day or have some players missing.

Weekend results
Arsenal 3-0 Burnley FC (Alexis Sánchez 70 90+1, Chambers 72)
Anderlecht 1-1 KSC Lokeren OV (Cyriac 90+1; Junior Dutra 33)

Form guide (all competitions)
Arsenal: WWWDLW
Anderlecht: DWLLDD

Match facts
• In eight encounters with English opponents, Anderlecht have avoided defeat only once – against whom? Find out in our extensive match background.

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