Continue to dream big and if possible with destiny still in hand in two weeks. This is the ambitious, and let’s say it gigantic, objective of the Lensois who are preparing to meet Arsenal this Wednesday evening at the Emirates Stadium. On October 3, remember, Petit Poucet upset Bollaert by overthrowing the Gunners with goals from Thomasson and Wahi (2-1). A feat, a real one, on which the Artésiens unfortunately did not manage to capitalize, neutralized at home (1-1) then beaten by PSV Eindhoven (1-0) during the two days that followed.
From leaders of Pool B, they then fell to third place (equal on points with PSV but behind because of their results in direct confrontation). Suffice to say that the trip to London (9 p.m., Canal +) serves as the summit, with the precipice just behind in the event of poor performance. If the Sang et Or lose and the Dutch win in Seville a little earlier, they will only be able to hope for third place leading to the Europa League. While for their part, the Gunners only need a draw to validate their ticket.
Even if he will have to deal with several players under suspension (Facundo Medina, Salis Abdul Samed and Florian Sotoca), Franck Haise does not want his men to make “calculations” on the pitch. “If we want to be there, we must be there with our principles, our arguments, our strengths. In the first leg, we didn’t completely control it, and logically because it’s Arsenal. We caused problems with our defensive animation and certain offensive situations. If we don’t have everything under control tomorrow and it looks like it at the end, I’m interested,” smiles the technician, reassured by the overall level of his team recently in Ligue 1.
“We will put in place what we know how to do to come away with the three points”
Undefeated for eight days in the championship and moved up to sixth place, Racing has not conceded a single goal in its last five outings. Enough to believe in his dreams of qualification, according to the coach. “We have to raise the level in all aspects of the game, to at least put ourselves at the level of Arsenal, even if there are certain aspects in which we will not be able to. But on others, we can perhaps optimize what we are capable of doing. » For this shock, he will be able to count on the return of central defender Danso and left piston Machado. The second, affected in the adductors and whose percussion qualities can prove valuable, is however not guaranteed to start the game.
🎙️ Franck Haise: “𝐸̂𝑡𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑢 𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑧-𝑣𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑎𝑣𝑒𝑐 𝑛𝑜𝑠 𝑝 𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑖𝑝𝑒𝑠 ℎ𝑎𝑏𝑖𝑡𝑢𝑒𝑙𝑠 »
— Racing Club de Lens (@RCLens) November 28, 2023
His natural replacement Massadio Haïdara was also present at the pre-match press conference. “We had a good performance in the first leg. The context will be different tomorrow evening but the team will give everything. We will put in place what we know how to leave London with three points,” he commented. On the offensive front, Adrien Thomasson should be preferred to Angelo Fulgini alongside Elye Wahi and Florian Sotoca.
On November 25, 1988 at Wembley, Lens wrote its legend against Arsenal, with a goal from Michaël Debève (1-0). So, isn’t Lensois impossible? Be careful not to get caught up in the issue. In these conditions, twenty-five years later, no one would expect a draw. It would allow the Lensois to treat themselves to one last “crazy” on December 12 at home against Seville.
Group B ranking
1. Arsenal (9 points, +6)
2. PSV Eindhoven (5 points, -3)
3. RC Lens (5 points, 0)
4. Sevilla FC (2 points, -3)