Two weeks ago, Arsenal beat Ludogorets 6-0, like a 15-year old playing FIFA 17 on amateur level. It was beautiful, devastating, and far too easy. Coming off a 4-1 dismissal of Sunderland featuring two goals each from Alexis and Giroud, it's safe to expect more of the same this week. With PSG level with Arsenal on points at the top of Group A, goal difference is the current deciding factor, providing the Gunners motivation to run up the score again. Ludogorets, meanwhile, went top in Bulgaria this weekend in an eight goal thriller that they won 5-3. Three of the league's five top scorers play for the Eagles, with Romanian forward Claudiu Keșerü leading the way with nine. While they'll hope playing Arsenal at home this time may change the script, we expect that it will merely dampen the onslaught.
The Bulgarian champions make it to the group stage for the second time in three years after getting past Czech side Plzen in their play-off. Their squad is a mix of Brazilians looking to move up the ranks in Europe and journeymen from leagues across Eastern Europe. The Flying Eagles will be led by the Bulgarian league’s top scorer, Claudiu Keșerü, who nabbed 15 last year. Their inclusion should make for entertaining TV viewing as Arsenal and PSG visit the 8,808 capacity Ludogorets Arena.
With Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez coming in to cover long term deficits at center back and forward, Arsene Wenger has no excuses left. While getting out of their group in the Champions League is now routine, the Gunners have exited in the second round for six consecutive years. Much like their EPL title drought, there is a perception that Arsenal are in a rut - incredibly talented, but struggling to reach the heights you’d expect from a squad of their talent. With this being the final year of Wenger’s contract, however, perhaps there will be a sense that being very good is no longer good enough.
His best-ever tally was in 2014-15 when he scored 20 goals in 29 matches for Steaua București.
The 25 year old winger is one of seven Brazilians in the Ludogorets squad.