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Anderlecht v Arsenal

Scouting Report - RSC Anderlecht

Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Arsène Wenger's side face Anderlecht on Wednesday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.

MICHAEL COX

Anderlecht are on home soil this week for the visit of Arsenal, but they’ll consider themselves underdogs and are likely to play reactively.

Albanian coach Besnik Hasi has played two different formations in the competition so far, using a 4-2-3-1 in the 1-1 draw at Galatasaray, before unsuccessfully switching to a 4-4-2 for a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Dortmund.

Either shape could be used on Wednesday evening, but logic suggests it will be the 4-2-3-1.

"Youri Tielemans is a highly promising all-round midfielder in the Jack Wilshere mould, capable of receiving the ball under pressure and turning defence into attack"

Michael Cox

Either way, the back four is unlikely to change significantly. The most eye-catching defender is right back Andy Najar, who represented Honduras at the World Cup. He’s a winger by trade, however, and as well as storming forward into attack regularly, is keen to get tight to opponents and put in some tough tackles.

In the centre, the young, athletic Chancel Mbemba Mangulu should play alongside Dutchman Bram Nuytinck, who distributes the ball well with his left foot, with veteran Olivier Deschacht at left back. He lacks pace at the age of 33.

Steven Defour was the star summer arrival from Porto - he’s a tough-tackling, energetic central midfielder who will primarily attempt to break up Arsenal’s passing, but he also scored a well-taken equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Mechelen on Saturday.

His partner should be 17-year-old Youri Tielemans, a highly promising all-round midfielder arguably in the Jack Wilshere mould, capable of receiving the ball under pressure and turning defence into attack.

The pacy Ibrahima Conte should start wide right, although Anthony Vanden Borre returned from long-term injury at the weekend, and could play in tandem with Najar.

Dennis Praet, another highly promising young Belgian, is a diminutive playmaker who can play as a No 10 or drift inside from the left, depending on the system.

Further forward, the situation is uncertain. Up front, the 20-year-old Serbian, Aleksandar Mitrovic, is likely to lead the line, and support could come from Matias Suarez, a decent poacher who is more likely to be a super-sub in a 4-2-3-1.

Therefore, Anderlecht’s 11th man could be Frank Acheampong, yet another youngster. The Ghaniaian is particularly effective on the break, which is likely to be Anderlecht’s primary approach.

 

Steven Defour (left) in action against Galatasaray

Steven Defour

 

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