Arsenal vs Ludogorets Preview: Gunners aim to brush aside minnows

Arsenal vs Ludogorets Preview: Gunners aim to brush aside minnows's match preview of Wednesday night's UEFA Champions League Group A clash between Arsenal and Ludogorets Ragrad at the Emirates Stadium.

Mike Taylor

Arsenal welcome Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Ragrad to the Emirates Stadium as they continue to challenge Paris Saint Germain to finish top of Group A.

The two teams have never met in a competitive fixture before and Arsene Wenger will hope his side can seal three points on Wednesday night.

Arsene Wenger’s men enter the fixture fresh from a 3-2 win over Swansea, a win that prolongs their winning streak and pushes them level with Manchester City at the Premier League summit.

Arsenal chase top spot 

Last Champions League match day saw Arsenal overwhelm FC Basel through dominating possession, slick movement and threatening counter attacks in a 2-0 win. A Theo Walcott brace showed that the English forward was finally fulfilling his potential and currently helping to craft Arsenal into a more clinical and dangerous side.

Since their opening day defeat to Liverpool, the North London side come into the fixture 10 games unbeaten in all competitions, blending slick passing play with sharp finishing and solid defending.

With PSG their main rivals for Group A’s top spot, Arsenal will require a resilient professional performance to maintain their form and qualify for the knock out stages.

Bulgarians seek upset

Despite having a single point from their first two group fixtures, Ludogorets have taken the lead in both games against FC Basel and Paris Saint Germain. It shows that while Georgi Dermendzhiev’s men are the clear underdogs of Group A, they can ruffle a few feathers along the way.

Their main threat lies in Brazilian winger Jonathan Cafu with five goals in his last six games including a goal against FC Basel. Fellow Brazilian and attacking midfielder Marcelinho will be relied upon to gel the team together and break Arsenal’s defence.

Ludogorets are seven games undefeated away from home and a point here could help their campaign to finish third and qualify for the Europa League knockout stages.

Plucky underdogs?

Managed by Georgi Dermendzhiev, the Bulgarian champions have experienced a rapid rise to becoming Bulgaria’s best side since the club was taken over by businessman Kiril Domuschiev.  

The epic rise to Bulgaria’s top level yielded Europa League and Champions League campaigns with notable results such as a 2-2 draw against Liverpool and a 4-3 aggregate Europa League win over Lazio.

Team News

Oliver Giroud and Aaron Ramsey are still injured and Arsene Wenger faces no fresh fitness concerns after their win against Swansea. Due to his upcoming three Premier League match suspension, Granit Xhaka is likely to start against the Bulgarian champions with David Ospina continuing in goal.

Ludogorets are expected to field a familiar side to the line-up against PSG with no notable absences or suspsensions.