Just a point for Arsenal at home to Borussia Dortmund will be enough to lead them into the knockout stages of the Champions League, although a draw in Group D’s other match between Anderlecht and Galatasaray will send them through regardless of the result here.
Achieving that goal will be the principle aim for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, but he will surely see is also as a chance for his side to redeem themselves following their poor performance away to the German club in September, when they were easily swept aside 2-0.
And Arsenal are desperately in need of a positive result, with Wenger’s long-term future coming under question by many after yet another setback in the Premier League at the weekend, when they lost to Manchester United despite dominating possession and creating numerous opportunities.
Shareholder Alisher Usmanov is one of those to have had his say since Saturday’s game, but a record of only seven wins from 19 competitive matches this season has intensified calls from some supporters for Wenger to step down.
For all of Dortmund’s struggles in the Bundesliga – where they lie third from bottom in the table having won just one of their last nine matches – they have been unstoppable in Europe so far this campaign. Their record in Group D reads four wins out of four, with 13 goals scored to just one in reply, and top spot is looking all but sealed.
Olivier Giroud is ineligible for Arsenal and so will not play, while Jack Wilshere is set for another lengthy injury absence. Laurent Koscielny is back available, however, and adds quality to a much-criticised defence.
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