Super Sanchez can help Arsenal reach last 16 with Anderlecht win
Arsene Wenger will be hoping for minimum fuss, as the Gunners prepare to welcome Belgian side Anderlecht. Arsenal are odds-on with Coral at 1/3 for victory, and equipped with Alexis Sanchez, who has 10 goals in all competitions so far this term, have a great chance of running riot.
The Chilean is 4/1 to open the scoring and 9/2 to bag a third brace in a row. After a stuttering start to the season, as opposed to this time a year ago, when they were flying high, Arsenal seem to have gone back to their usual business of beginning slowly and then gradually building momentum. All the signs look good for a challenge in the latter half of the campaign.
Having just broken into the Premier League top four, a win against Anderlecht would secure them safe passage through to the last 16 of the Champions League, with two matches remaining, if Borussia Dortmund also beat Galatasaray.
With Sanchez in their attacking cluster, though, Arsenal have a decent chance. His boss Wenger recently criticised the number of top European strikers, suggesting society in Europe has become softer compared to Latin America and produces different players.
“When football is more formalised, it’s less about developing your individual skill and fighting attitude. We’ve lost that a bit,” Wenger said. “Maybe it’s because in Europe street football has gone. If you go back 30 or 40 years in England, life was tougher. We’re much more protective and have all become a bit softer.
“In street football when you’re 10-years-old, you want to play with 15-year-olds. Then you have to prove you’re good, you have to fight and win impossible balls,” continued the Frenchman.
Wenger paid tribute to Sanchez, saying the 25-year-old’s determination reminds him of the Gunners defence from the 1990s when he took over as manager. “He reminds me of the first generation of English players that I had – Lee Dixon, Steve Bould, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Martin Keown. This kind who is just ready for the fight.”
The Chilean forward, however, only has two goals in the competition so far this season, including in qualifying and it is actually his strike partner Danny Welbeck that has fared better in Europe, netting three goals in as many matches.
Former Manchester United forward Welbeck has odds of 4/1 to net two or more goals and has hit the target five times in all competitions so far this campaign.
For Anderlecht, 20-year-old striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is 7/2 to be among the scoring in the anytime market, having netted on six occasions in 16 appearances so far this season, while Andy Najar, who opened the scoring in Belgium, is 16/1 to do the same at the Emirates.
Holding their midfield together is Steven Defour, if fit (8/1 anytime scorer), who will be the key to keeping possession for the visitors, however, up against the likes of the relentless Sanchez, Welbeck and even Theo Walcott (5/1 to score first), who will no doubt apply a high, energetic pressing game, may find himself swamped quickly.
Lukas Podolski grabbed a late winner last time out, as Arsenal came from behind in the final two minutes of the game, and he is 6/1 to be the last name on the scoresheet, as the Gunners chase a place in the last 16.