Confident Lucescu insists Shakhtar can beat Arsenal

COACH Mircea Lucescu maintains Europe will see the real Shakhtar Donetsk when the Ukrainians look to avenge their 5-1 trashing at Arsenal in tonight’s Champions League clash.

The Gunners chalked up a record 14 goals from their opening three Group H games, with Shakhtar going the same way as Braga and Partizan Belgrade as Arsene Wenger’s side took control of Group H.

Another positive result for Arsenal, who will be without skipper Cesc Fabregas because of a hamstring problem, and the Premier League club could secure their place in the last 16 of Europe’s elite once again.

However, since the thrashing in north London, Shakhtar have won all three of their domestic matches, without conceding a goal. And Lucescu believes his men can head into tonight’s return fixture at Donbass Arena with confidence.

“After analysing all the technical and tactical actions, I can say that the teams had about the same of the ball, 51% to 49%, and the passing also were about the same level,” the Romanian said. “We hope to show to our fans and the whole of Europe that now it will be a quite different Shakhtar. We have analysed the game that was in London to draw attention to the mistakes.”

Lucescu added: “Not in any way do I think that Arsenal is stronger than Shakhtar. We will try tomorrow to demonstrate that on the field.”

Lucescu continues to lament a number of decisions by Swedish referee Svein Moen which he felt went in favour of the home side.

“The mistakes of the referee in favour of Arsenal were clearly visible. The third goal was not a penalty, the players pulled shirts together – and it should have been a red card for a hard Jack Wilshere reception against Tomas Hubschman,” said Lucescu.

“After three games, Arsenal has one card, while the rest of the teams have seven or eight. That says something.”

Lucescu added: “I have been in European football for more than 25 years, so pay attention to what is happening.

“In recent years, some things happened, and I again had to take up the topic of judging comment.

“Scandinavian referees do not have the right to serve the games involving English clubs – that’s my opinion.

“I make this conclusion not only on the game, which was in London. Throughout my career, such moments have taken place.”

Former Arsenal striker Eduardo added: “Arsenal have always had difficulties against Eastern European teams and I am hoping they will find it the same this time. I know we are a good team and are always strong at home – the team have not lost a single match since moving to the new stadium.”

Arsene Wenger arrived here last night admitting he expected some form of a Shaktar backlash for their heavy defeat in London.

“They are a better side than what they have shown at the Emirates. For me they are one of the best European sides,’’ he said.

“They will have been hurt by what happened, and at home, they will be a completely different team.”

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