"I don't think they (Ludogorets) will be looking forward to playing us, that's for sure." After scoring twice to put Arsenal level on points with league leaders Man City, Theo Walcott stated the obvious. As Arsenal fans do their annual whinging about needing a world-class striker, Walcott has emerged to score seven in all competitions. Add in the defensive solidity that the addition of Shrokdan Mustafi has brought and Arsenal are the most confident they've looked in years. Ludogorets, meanwhile, will be well aware of Arsenal's history of slip-ups in Europe and will visit London with very little pressure. They boast three Brazilian attackers with four goals apiece in the Bulgarian league, alongside Romania's Claudiu Keseru, who also has four. An unlikely upset, but Arsenal have misread the script before.
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.
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.
Recorded the second-highest assist tally in EPL history last season with 19.
Mustafi calmly marshaled a German defense that only allowed three goals in six matches at Euro 2016.