Saturday 18 November 2017

Arsenal v Braga - key battles

Arsenal open their Champions League campaign against Portuguese side Braga at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow night.

Here, Press Association takes a look at the key battles which could decide where the match will be won and lost.

Sebastien Squillaci v Lima

With Belgian centre-half Thomas Vermaelen still not fit following an Achilles injury suffered on international duty, experienced centre-half Squillaci will again anchor the defence for the Gunners' opening European tie. The France defender is set to need all that Champions League know-how to keep Lima quiet, the Brazil forward having netted a hat-trick as Braga knocked out Sevilla, Squillaci's former club, in the play-off round.

Cesc Fabregas v Hugo Viana

Gunners skipper Fabregas is now looking sharp again following the World Cup. The Spain international will again be the centre of Arsenal's supply line, having impressed in the 4-1 win over Bolton. Portugal international Viana - who had a spell at Newcastle from 2002 to 2005 - has enjoyed a new lease of life at Braga and will be a threat in and around the Arsenal box, especially from free-kicks.

Marouane Chamakh v Moises

With Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie still sidelined by injury, Chamakh will again be at the head of the Gunners' attack. The Moroccan striker has settled quickly into the English game, netting two goals in four games, but the former Bordeaux frontman also knows what is needed in Europe. Brazilian Moises, 31, has plenty of experience, the 6ft 1ins centre-back having played at Spartak Moscow as well as Flamengo, and will be out to deny Chamakh the space to bring the likes of Andrey Arshavin into the attack.

Press Association

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