Florian Sotoca (32) struck a defiant tone ahead of RC Lens’ UEFA Champions League tie against Arsenal on Tuesday.
Lens have struggled for form so far this season, however, their Champions League opener against Sevilla, which ended in a draw, has provided Franck Haise’s side with some much-needed momentum. They have since picked up wins against Toulouse FC (2-1) and RC Strasbourg Alsace (1-0).
With Haise’s on the up, they come up against Arsenal at the Stade Bollaert on Tuesday. The mythic stadium welcomes Champions League football for the first time in 20 years, and it is a stalwart of the competition that will make the trip to face Les Sang et Or.
Arsenal themselves have been absent from the Champions League these past seasons, but after last season’s second-place finish in the Premier League, they make their first appearance since the 2017/17 season. They got their campaign underway with a comfortable 4-0 victory over PSV, but Sotoca is determined to make life difficult for the Gunners on Tuesday.
“I’m proud to play against such a club here at the Stade Bollaert, a stadium that hasn’t seen European football for 20 years. There will be a lot of emotion before and after the game, but during the match, we won’t be giving any gifts. We’ll try and show our true face. It won’t be easy for them either. It is up to us to play as well as we have in our past two Ligue 1 matches, and do everything possible to frustrate them,” said Lens striker Sotoca in a press conference transcribed by L’Équipe.
GFFN | Luke Entwistle