Lens vs Arsenal H2H: Saka to score anytime – RC Lens take on Arsenal at home in matchday two of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stages on Tuesday night, 25 years after their first-ever meeting in the same competition.
The Gunners thrashed PSV 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium on matchday one, while Lens drew 1-1 away to Sevilla.
Lens vs Arsenal H2H Record
Lens and Arsenal have only met four times in European competition before, with the Gunners just edging it in terms of victories:
- Lens Wins: 1
- Draws: 1
- Arsenal Wins: 2
Their first-ever meeting was in September 1998, in a 1-1 UCL group stage-opening draw, as a dramatic 90th-minute equaliser from Tony Vairelles cancelled out Marc Overmars' opener for Arsene Wenger's men. Lens then recorded a famous 1-0 win at Wembley – rather than Arsenal's then-home Highbury – in the return clash.
The following season's UEFA Cup saw them paired in the semi-finals, meaning that the most recent meeting dates back to April 2000. Arsenal won 2-1 away from home (3-1 on aggregate) to reach the UEFA Cup final. Thierry Henry and Nwankwo Kanu got on the scoresheet, before the North Londoners lost in the final to Galatasaray on penalties.
Lens vs Arsenal H2H: Potential MVP
Bukayo Saka is quickly growing into Arsenal's talisman, having recorded five goal contributions in his opening six Premier League fixtures.
Having not played in the UCL before this season, Saka will be playing with no fear, and could make the Stade Bollaert Delelis his personal playground.
The Englishman (pictured below) was also shortlisted for the Ballon d'Or in September, showing him to be one of the best players on the world's stage.
Lens: Players in focus
Brice Samba – A forgotten enemy
Captain Samba was at Nottingham Forest before he joined Lens, and Arsenal supporters will remember him keeping a clean sheet in his only appearance against the Gunners as Forest knocked them out of the FA Cup in January 2022.
Angelo Fulgini – Free-kick maestro
Fulgini scored a wonderful free-kick to earn Lens a point against Sevilla on matchday one, and so Mikel Arteta's side must be wary not to give any dangerous set-pieces away.
Elye Wahi – The club-record signing
Lens signed Wahi for a club-record £30m this summer after being courted by the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and West Ham United. The striker scored 19 goals for Montpellier last season, and will want to beat that personal record for his new club this campaign.
Arsenal: Players in focus
Bukayo Saka – Ready to run riot again
Saka was a particularly bold menace on matchday one against PSV, scoring and assisting inside the opening 20 minutes. No player on the pitch recorded more key passes (three) than him, while he also completed two successful dribbles out of three.
William Saliba – Familiar opponents
Saliba played against Lens three times while on loan in France, and his team got the better of them twice, so he is sure to share any potential inside knowledge which may give Arsenal an edge.
Kai Havertz – A point to prove
Havertz (pictured below) will be desperate to get on the scoresheet and show Gooners making the journey across the channel why the club paid £65m for him this summer.
The German has pedigree in the UCL too, having scored the winner for Chelsea in the final against Manchester City in 2021.
Lens have started this campaign slowly, with their first Ligue 1 win not coming until six games in. On the other hand, Arsenal are unbeaten in their opening seven league matches, and kept three clean sheets in their opening trio of away games.
The group favourites should be full of confidence having thrashed PSV in matchday one, while Lens may be hanging on for another point to keep them in the race for second spot. As such, expect a comfortable away victory for the Gunners.
We're saying 3-0 to Arsenal and Saka to score anytime.