After sweeping their first two matches during the first stage of the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League, Arsenal will host Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday with an eye toward an undefeated start to the European tournament.
As noted by ESPN FC's Twitter account, the two sides have quite a few similarities worth noting before they square off in front of Arsenal faithful:
Since falling to Aston Villa in their Premier League opener, the Gunners have not lost a match and have beaten the likes of Tottenham, Napoli and West Bromwich Albion during that span. Arsene Wenger's outfit currently has 19 points in the EPL table—good for first place and a two-point lead over Chelsea.
Arsenal are coming off a 4-1 beat down of Norwich City. Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil all scored in the victory.
Dortmund are 4-0-1 in their last five matches, a stretch that included the club's first loss in Bundesliga play this season. Borussia Monchengladbach pulled off the upset behind two goals in the last 10 minutes of the match, but Dortmund are still in second in league action with 22 table points.
In Champions League play, Napoli recorded a 2-1 win over the German side, but Jurgen Klopp's men responded with a 3-0 romp of Marseille to record their first points in the Group F table.
When: Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 2:45 p.m. ET (7:45 p.m. BST)
Where: Emirates Stadium, Islington, North London, England
Watch: Fox Soccer Plus
Live Stream: FoxSoccer2Go
Listen: Sirius XM FC (Internet 85)
Odds*: Arsenal (+125), Borussia Dortmund (+210), Draw (+250)
*Odds via Bovada, accurate as of 10/21/13 at 10 p.m. ET.
Arsenal Midfielder Mathieu Flamini Set to Miss Clash
There's little doubt Ozil has been Arsenal's biggest asset in the midfield this season, but the Gunners will miss Mathieu Flamini's presence in the lineup against a talented Dortmund side.
Flamini injured himself during Arsenal's win over Norwich City. 101 Great Goals had this tweet with a highlight of the play that did the trick:
GIF: Mathieu Flamini’s wipeout after a head clash with Norwich’s Alexander Tettey http://t.co/sI5yNY8kKT— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) October 20, 2013
As reported by Sky Sports' football Twitter account, Flamini was officially ruled out of the Champions League clash on Monday afternoon:
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed Mathieu Flamini will miss the Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund. http://t.co/JAA73ShowN— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) October 21, 2013
While he's made only five starts for the Gunners this year, Flamini is a valuable asset and a huge part of what the Emirates outfit has accomplished this year.
He's started each of the past four matches for Wenger, and although he's yet to score a goal this season, it's clear the Arsenal manager trusts the 29-year-old to provide strong defense, pace and flow to the lineup he would not get elsewhere.
In Flamini's absence, expect Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermaelen to be the most likely candidates to step into a prominent role. Against a Dortmund lineup that will feature Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski, the Gunners need a strong defensive showing from whomever his replacement will be.
Arsenal 2, Borussia Dortmund 1
It's been quite the two-month stretch for Arsenal, who are in control of the Premier League and have a chance to take a commanding lead in the Group F table with a win over Dortmund.
But BVB aren't your typical pushover club, and they won't be threatened by Arsenal's strong start after one of their own in Bundesliga play and the experience of making it to the final in this tournament just a few short months ago.
Who wins this match?
The key to the match could very well come down to the middle of the field, where Flamini's replacement will have to help the Arsenal back line contend with Lewandowski and the BVB attack.
However, the same key holds true for the Ruhr side, who will require Sven Bender to slow down Ozil, Ramsey and Olivier Giroud throughout the course of the match.
With home-field advantage and one of the hottest players (Ozil) on the planet right now in tow, look for the Gunners to win the first leg of this matchup. Dortmund will have a chance for revenge on Nov. 6 at Signa-Iduna-Park, but Tuesday will be Arsenal's day.
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