Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger will look to lift his team’s spirits after a bitterly disappointing weekend in the Premier League when it visits Braga in the Champions League on Tuesday.
A victory would put Arsenal through to the knockout stages from Group H, and the odds are stacked in Wenger’s favor.
His side thrashed Braga 6-0 in London in September and the Portuguese team, which is 10th in its domestic league and coming off a 2-1 defeat by Guimaraes, will be without goalkeeper Joaquim Sampaio "Quim" and striker Paulo Cesar due to injury.
However, Wenger expressed his frustration at Arsenal’s lack of killer instinct after surrendering a 2-0 first-half lead against archrivals Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s 3-2 derby defeat.
Braga’s medical director, doctor Joao Pedro Araujo, said Quim was still recovering from an Achilles injury and Brazilian striker Paulo Cesar was battling a left thigh strain.
"We are all very concentrated and working very hard so that our team can get a good result on Tuesday," said Brazilian striker Elton, recruited earlier this year from Vasco da Gama. "I am fully focused on helping the team and pleasing the fans."
Arsenal’s Moroccan international, Marouane Chamakh, said it was good that his team should be faced with a tough match so quickly after the defeat to Spurs.
"It will help us to forget the Tottenham game, and we must focus on Braga and get a victory," Chamakh said.
Arsenal remain top of the group, despite losing 2-1 away to Shakhtar Donetsk earlier this month, another match in which the team lost the lead.
Wenger says he is acutely aware that his young side must learn to close out matches.
"It is very important that we do not repeat the performance in Donetsk," he said. "We need to produce a performance that allows us to get the points to qualify. I also want to win the game, as that gives us the possibility to finish the group stages very strongly. That is our target – we are ambitious to win the group."
Wenger was critical of how his team had allowed the Ukrainians the space to level the match before going on to win through a goal by former Arsenal player Eduardo.
Midfielder Jack Wilshere should be fit for the match after recovering from the back problem that kept him out of England duty.
Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner is also likely to be in the squad despite clashing with Wenger over selection policy at the club.
Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia could also play, having recovered from an elbow injury sustained in September.