Friday, 22 July 2016

RC Lens vs Arsenal Club Friendly Match Preview And Prediction - July 23, 2016

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This meeting between Lens and Arsenal will bring back memories of a few European encounters between the sides during the early days of the Arsene Wenger era. The French club have gone backwards since then though and currently find themselves in Ligue 2, where they finished 6th last season. They lost 3 of their final 4 games of the league campaign to finish 7 points off the promotion places. Their league campaign kicks off next Friday so they are a bit ahead of Arsenal fitness-wise but the gulf in quality should still be evident.

Arsenal are missing a host of players who competed at Euro 2016 but should still be able to send out a strong side. Jack Wilshere is likely to feature as he returns to the Stade Bollaert-Delelis just a few weeks after England’s 2-1 win over Wales at the ground. The Gunners jet off to the USA after this game, which is their first of pre-season but many members of this side have something of a point to prove and will be keen to put in a good showing.

The likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been linked with moves away from the Emirates this summer with Arsene Wenger finally looking fairly active in terms of recruiting new players. The English pair should start here in what will be quite a strong Gunners side still and there will certainly be enough quality in it to cause Lens plenty of problems.

You’d expect Arsenal to dominate the game, certainly in the opening hour but fitness could become an issue as the game wears on and the Gunners will have a fairly young and inexperienced bench here so Lens could well grab a goal at some point. That said the English side’s quality should show and backing Arsenal to win 3-1 at 11/1 looks to offer value here.

These sides last met in the 2000 UEFA Cup with Arsenal winning both legs of a Semi-Final.

Arsenal have scored twice or more in 7 of their last 9 away games. Lens have lost 3 of their last 4 competitive games.

Lens will name a strong side close the one that will kick off their Ligue 2 campaign next week.

Per Mertesacker, Theo Walcott, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jeff Reine-Adelaide are all set to start for the Gunners. Jack Wilshere is also with the squad in France but most of the Euro 2016 contingent including new signing Granit Xhaka won't feature.

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