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Arsenal logo
Champions League | Group Stage
Nov 29, 2023 at 8pm UK
Emirates Stadium
Lens logo
6 - 0
Havertz (13'), Jesus (21'), Saka (23'), Martinelli (27'), Odegaard (45+1'), Jorginho (86' pen.)
FT(HT: 5-0)

Mendy (41'), Khusanov (63'), Haidara (64')

Preview: Arsenal vs. Lens - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Arsenal and Lens, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Requiring just one more point to advance to the last 16 of the Champions League, Arsenal welcome Ligue 1 upstarts Lens to the Emirates Stadium for Wednesday's Group B clash.

The Gunners have accrued nine points from a possible 12 to render themselves uncatchable at this stage of proceedings, although their one slip-up so far came against Franck Haise's troops.

Match preview

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on November 25, 2023© Reuters

Even with Bukayo Saka being kicked to no end by members of the Sevilla rearguard - a couple of whom controversially escaped yellow cards - on matchday four, Arsenal still witnessed their Hale End starboy dust himself down and put the Gunners on the brink of the knockout rounds.

With back-to-back losses to West Ham United and Newcastle United still fresh in the memory, Arsenal put the Europa League champions to the sword courtesy of a first-half Leandro Trossard effort and composed second-half finish from Saka, although the job remains incomplete with two matches to go.

Holding a four-point advantage over Lens and PSV Eindhoven in first place, and with Sevilla out of the top-spot running, Arsenal will be guaranteed to finish in the top two if they avoid defeat on Wednesday, and the Gunners will also win the group if they can defeat Les Sang et Or this week.

Even if Arsenal fall short against Lens for a second time this season, their knockout ticket will be confirmed if PSV lose to Sevilla, although Mikel Arteta's side will be in no mood to ride their luck, as was the case in their most recent Premier League clash with Brentford.

After surviving a couple of Aaron Ramsdale calamities, Arsenal surged above Manchester City and Liverpool to the top of the table via a late Kai Havertz header, extending their winning streak in all tournaments to three matches, and no visiting team has left the Emirates with a win to their name so far in 2023-24.

RC Lens coach Franck Haise reacts on October 24, 2023© Reuters

Lens may have entered Group B with more modest aspirations after ending their Champions League exile, especially with Haise's men suffering a significant drop-off in form at the start of the new term as they adapted to life without Saudi Arabia-bound Seko Fofana and RB Leipzig's new marksman Lois Openda.

However, going unbeaten in each of their first three Champions League affairs immediately put Les Sang et Or into the first-placed conversation, although they enter matchday five down in third place - good enough for a Europa League ticket - owing to their loss at the hands of PSV last time out.

A quintessential Luuk de Jong header proved the difference between the two sides in Eindhoven on November 8, and while only the head-to-head column is keeping Lens below PSV at this juncture, their hopes of a top-two ranking will evaporate if they lose to Arsenal and the Dutch giants sink Sevilla.

Haise's men head to North London having regained their defensive nous, though, overcoming Marseille 1-0 and Clermont 3-0 in their last two Ligue 1 affairs, and De Jong's header for PSV is the only goal that the visitors have conceded in their last five matches in all tournaments.

Furthermore, that 1-0 loss marks their solitary defeat from their last 12 affairs continentally and domestically, and thanks to their 2-1 win over Arsenal at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in October, Lens are now unbeaten in three Champions League games against the Gunners, who have only ever beaten Les Sang et Or in UEFA Cup contests.

Arsenal Champions League form:

Arsenal form (all competitions):

Lens Champions League form:

Lens form (all competitions):

Team News

Arsenal's Kai Havertz celebrates scoring their first goal on November 25, 2023© Reuters

As well as known injury victims Thomas Partey (thigh), Jurrien Timber (knee) and Emile Smith Rowe (knee), Arsenal were unable to call upon the services of first-choice goalkeeper David Raya or fringe playmaker Fabio Vieira for the beating of Brentford owing to ineligibility and suspension respectively.

While Brentford loanee Raya is virtually guaranteed to bump Ramsdale back down to the bench after the confidence-sapped Englishman's nervy display over the weekend, Arteta revealed that Vieira has undergone surgery on a groin injury, which will keep him sidelined for a number of weeks.

Whether Havertz's Brentford winner is the catalyst needed for the German to turn his fortunes around remains to be seen, but the German is surely back in Arteta's thinking for a start here, especially if the Arsenal boss errs on the side of caution with Jesus's fitness.

While Arteta's ranks are boosted by the return of a suspended player, Lens have lost one of their own to the naughty step, as winger Morgan Guilavogui must serve a ban for his late sending-off in the loss to PSV last time out; the 25-year-old sustained a back injury at the weekend anyway.

Keeping with the theme of ill-discipline, a fracas between Lens striker Elye Wahi and Clermont's Alidu Seidu at the weekend ended with both men being given their marching orders - as well as Lanciers coach Pascal Gastien - but the former is fine to take part in this one as he endeavours to replicate his winning strike from Lens' previous triumph over the Gunners.

A much-needed boost for Haise comes in the shape of Kevin Danso, with the defender expected to be fit for Wednesday after a foot injury, as is left-back Deiver Machado (adductor), while ACL victims Jimmy Cabot and Wuilker Farinez remain absent.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Trossard, Martinelli

Lens possible starting lineup:
Samba; Medina, Danso, Gradit; Aguilar, Abdul Samed, Mendy, Frankowski; Thomasson, Sotoca; Wahi

SM words green background

We say: Arsenal 2-0 Lens

Defensive excellence has been the theme for Lens over the past couple of weeks, but with the greatest respect to their Ligue 1 counterparts, facing Arsenal at the Emirates will be a completely different kettle of fish for Haise's troops.

The expected return of Danso will benefit Les Sang et Or to no end, and Arsenal have not shown the same attacking proficiency as they did in 2022-23, but Arteta's in-form troops should still strike on more than one occasion to storm into the last 16.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on November 25, 2023
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Group A

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Group B


Group C

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4Union Berlin60242

Group D

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Group E


Group F

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Group G

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Group H


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