Friday 19 January 2018

Shaktar Donetsk v Arsenal key battles

Arsenal continue their Champions League campaign away at Group H rivals Shakhtar Donetsk tomorrow night.

The Gunners thumped the Ukrainians 5-1 a fortnight ago and look set to secure safe passage through to the knock-out stages.

Here, Press Association Sport's Jim van Wijk takes a look at the key battles which could decide where the match will be won and lost at the Donbass Arena.

Sebastien Squillaci v Eduardo

With Belgian centre-half Thomas Vermaelen struggling to overcome an Achilles injury suffered on international duty in September, former Lyon and Sevilla centre-half Squillaci will again anchor the Gunners defence alongside European novice Laurent Koscielny. The France defender is set to need all his Champions League know-how against former Gunner Eduardo, who has looked sharp for his new club and came off the bench to score a fine consolation goal at the Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago.

Jack Wilshere v Tomas Hubschman

With captain Cesc Fabregas sidelined by a recurrence of his hamstring problem, 18-year-old Wilshere - who yesterday signed a long-term deal - will help to provide the link from midfield. However, in Czech midfielder Hubschman, Arsenal will find an opponent determined to break up play. Wilshere has already left his mark on Hubschman following a crunching tackle during their last meeting.

Marouane Chamakh v Yaroslav Rakitskiy

Summer recruit Chamakh has been handed an extended run at the head of the Gunners forward line after a spate of injuries, but with the likes of Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner fit again, and Robin van Persie also close to a return, the Moroccan striker - who has scored in each European game so far - will need to continue to produce to keep his place in the side. Ukraine Under-21 centre-back Rakitskiy will be out to deny the former Bordeaux frontman space to bring Arsenal's attacking midfielders into play.

Press Association

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