The Sang et Or on the relaunch in London? RC Lens travel to face Arsenal on matchday five of the Champions League group stage on Wednesday, November 29 at 21 p.m., with the intention of repeating the same performance as in the first leg (2-1 win).

It's a mountain that the Blood and Gold will try to climb in the English capital, against the natural favourites in Pool B, who took the lead in the Premier League last weekend. But if they reach the top, they will remain in the race to take part in the spring games of Europe's most prestigious competition, bringing together the top 16 teams at the end of the first phase.

But before dancing with the stars, there is a path to go and it is strewn with pitfalls. One of them being PSV, who defeated Lens in Eindhoven (1-0) on the last matchday in the match that should not be lost.

Third with five points, Lens no longer have the advantage of direct confrontations with the Dutch club, second with the same number of points. If the Artesian club lose in London and PSV win in Sevilla at the same time, they can only hope for third place leading to the Europa League.

At the top of the group, Arsenal (9 points) are very close to reaching the knockout stages of the competition. They just need not to lose to Lens, or even hope for a defeat for PSV in Andalusia, in which case even a setback would not prevent them from reaching the final draw.

Not content with having to do battle with the in-form Gunners, who have just taken the lead in the Premier League, RC Lens could also be without their defensive rock Kevin Danso, already out of action against Clermont this weekend, because of a "pain felt at the end of the week".

Remembering the feat at Wembley in 1998

But there are reasons for hope. First of all, we must remember the major performance achieved in the first leg at the Stade Bollaert, when the club from the mining basin overthrew Arsenal in an extraordinary atmosphere.

Franck Haise's players had deployed a crazy amount of energy to prevent Mikel Arteta's players from setting up their slick attacking game. They also managed to show great technical accuracy to score two beautiful goals, and admirable mental strength to equalize and then take the lead.

The defeat in Eindhoven, after conceding a 1-1 draw at home to the same opponent in the first leg, should not make us forget the superb momentum of the Artesian club, engaged in an eight-match unbeaten run in Ligue 1 that has allowed them to climb back up to sixth place after languishing in the depths of the table.

In the league, the Artois club have not conceded a goal in their last five games and have rediscovered their verve in attack, scoring eight times in that period.

And beyond the numbers and their current good momentum, Lens can also remember one of their greatest European exploits, when they managed to win against the Gunners at Wembley (0-1) in front of 73,707 people, almost exactly 25 years ago. On 25 November 1998, a goal from Michaël Debève gave Lens the victory. A margin in their favor on Wednesday night, however small, will be enough to keep them happy.

With AFP

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