Lens travels to London to face Arsenal on Wednesday at 9 p.m., hoping to repeat the same performance as in the first leg (2-1 victory). The Sang et Or, who want to maintain the dream of qualifying for the round of 16, are in an unfavorable position in their Champions League group for the moment – third, tied on points with PSV Eindhoven (5 points each).
Published on: 11/29/2023 – 11:02
The Blood and Gold relaunching in London? RC Lens travels to face Arsenal for the fifth day of the Champions League group stage, Wednesday November 29 at 9 p.m., with the intention of repeating the same performance as in the first leg (2-1 victory).
It’s a mountain that the Sang et Or will try to climb in the English capital, against the natural favorite of Pool B, who took control of the Premier League last weekend. But if they reach the summit, they will remain in the race to take part in the spring games of the most prestigious European competition, bringing together the 16 best teams at the end of the first phase.
But before dancing with the stars, there is a path to follow and it is strewn with pitfalls. One of them being PSV, who defeated the Lensois in Eindhoven (1-0) on the last day in the match that should not be lost.
Third with five points, Lens no longer has the advantage of direct confrontations with the Dutch club, second with the same number of units. If the Artesian club loses in London and PSV wins in Seville at the same time, it will only be able to hope for third place leading to the Europa League.
At the top of the group, Arsenal (9 points) is very close to reaching the eighth of the competition. All he has to do is not lose against Lens, or even hope for a defeat for PSV in Andalusia, in which case even a setback would not prevent him from reaching the final table.
Not content with having to do battle with the Gunners in form, who have just taken control of the Premier League, RC Lens could also be deprived of their defensive rock Kevin Danso, already out of Clermont this weekend, due to ‘a “pain felt at the end of the week”.
With fond memories of the feat at Wembley in 1998
But there are reasons for hope. First of all, we must remember the major successful performance in the first leg at the Stade Bollaert, when the club from the mining area overthrew Arsenal in an extraordinary atmosphere.
Franck Haise’s players had deployed crazy energy to prevent Mikel Arteta’s players from implementing their polished offensive game. They also managed to demonstrate great technical accuracy to score two nice goals, and admirable mental strength to equalize then take the advantage.
The defeat in Eindhoven, after conceding a draw at home in the first leg against this same opponent (1-1), should not make us forget the superb momentum of the Artesian club, engaged in a series of eight matches without defeat in Ligue 1 which allowed it to move up to sixth place after having vegetated in the depths of the ranking.
In the league, the Artois club has not conceded a single goal in its last five matches and has found verve in attack, scoring eight times during this period.
And then beyond the figures and its good current dynamic, Lens can also remember one of its greatest European exploits, when it managed to win against the Gunners at Wembley (0-1) in front of 73 707 people, almost exactly 25 years ago. On November 25, 1998, a goal from Michaël Debève gave Lensois victory. A gap in their favor on Wednesday evening, however small it may be, will be enough for their happiness.