A disappointing result for Arsenal at the weekend but can they bounce back in the Champions League on Wednesday night? We asked Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) for his view.
Anderlecht v Arsenal | 19.45 | Sky Sports 1
After their 2-2 draw with Hull on Saturday, Arsenal dropped to seventh in the table. They’ve won just two times from their eight league games this season and Arsene Wenger is feeling the pressure (didn’t you see the Jacqui Oatley interview?). The doubters must be queuing up to find a way to take them on here. I’m not amongst them.
You see, for all their domestic inconsistencies, Arsenal always seem reliable in the Champions League against teams like Anderlecht. After stumbling at home to Tottenham at the end of September, the doubters were out when they faced Galatasaray three days later in this competition. They crushed them 4-1. We face a similar situation here but I trust Arsenal to flick into Champions League mode and dispose of the Belgians.
You may disagree but I reckon the last time Arsenal lost in the Champions League to a team of this calibre in a non-dead rubber was in October 2006 when they lost 1-0 to CSKA Moscow in Matchday 3 of that season. They duly recovered to win the group before succumbing to PSV in the Last 16.
Let’s look at Anderlecht. Top of the Belgian league and unbeaten this season in the Juliper. They got a decent draw in Turkey against Galatasaray in Matchday 1 before being outclassed 3-0 by Dortmund three weeks ago. Last season they picked up just one point from their six Champions League games and were thrashed 5-0 by PSG on home turf. And in fact, that form was replicated in the previous season with a heavy home defeat to Malaga the lowlight of another one win from six campaign.
So, to sum up, my point is simple. Arsenal are more than capable of winning in Belgium like so many other similar sides have done in recent years. And remember, Arsenal don’t let you down in nights like this, I make it eight years since they have!
Anderlecht v Arsenal – Arsenal to win (4/5 William Hill)