Both sides have gotten off to tough domestic starts to their respective campaigns, Marseille are sitting 15th in Ligue 1, Arsenal have finally broken into the top half of the Premier League after a nervy win on the weekend. In Europe however their form is far more convincing with Marseille topping the group after two wins and Arsenal unbeaten in second.
Arsenal come into this fixture after a 2-1 home victory against Sunderland on Sunday, after some brilliance from captain Robin Van Persie secured all three points after a nervy patch that saw the Gunners heading for a single point. Keiran Gibbs is the latest casualty, who will be out for approximately two weeks, however Aaron Ramsey looks set to feature against Marseille this Wednesday after missing the weekends match.
So far the Gunners are yet to record a loss in the Champions League after a home win against Olympiacos and a draw away against Dortmund. Finishing top of the group is the main objective to avoid possible knockout matches against the winners of other groups (Barcelona, Manchester United etc.) like the past two UCL campaigns, however qualifying will be no easy feat in itself, so this match is huge for the North London club.
Marseille have suffered an unimpressive start to their domestic season too after three losses and an unusal six draws. Their form in the Champions League however has been a different matter as they posted wins away at Olympiakos and at home to Dortmund. Marseille have yet to concede a goal this Champions League campaign, and have an attacking force to rival the best with in-form striker Loic Remy and Andre Ayew in attack for the French side, with Arsenal target Lucho Gonzalez creating chances for the strikers.
Both sides have struggled defensively in their domestic competitions this season, but are extremely creative and dangerous on attack. Bookies and sports fans alike are predicting a high scoring contest, a semi-high scoring draw is looking highly likely and is worth a cheeky punt.
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Marseille 2 Arsenal 2
Arsenal : WLWWW
(UCL in red)
on the latest team news:
Gibbs is out, he has a muscle strain in his stomach. He is out for two weeks I think. Ramsey is fit. Everybody else is available, we have no knocks from Sunday.
on the importance of this fixture:
A positive result will put us in a strong position to qualify because you could see until now there are three contenders – Marseille, Dortmund and Arsenal.
It will be interesting to see how strong Marseille are tomorrow because after that we play them at home. For us to get at least four points from these two games will put us in an extremely strong position.
We are a bit less under pressure than we are in the Premier League where of course we are absolutely in need of winning the games. So we play a little bit with more pressure.
This is a game with pressure because these two games will basically decide our Champions League future.
Arsenal – Robin Van Persie – The Dutch international is in menacing form at the the moment, netting another brace in the weekend against Sunderland. He will provide a handful for the strong Marseille defence.
Marseille – Loic Remy – The Striker has been an important figure for the French outfit, netting 6 goals in 12 appearances this season. He will hoping to keep Marseille at the top of the table with a strong performance in front of the clubs home crowd.
Jenkinson Koscielny Mertesacker Santos
Arshavin Van Persie (c) Gervinho
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Miyaichi and Park have all been left at home for the trip to France, while Gibbs is now out for approximately two weeks with a stomach muscle injury he picked up at the weekend, meaning Santos will return to the fold.
Walcott had a tough game against Sunderland on the weekend, and after Arshavin’s excellent performance off the bench, it may have be enough for the Russian captain to nudge his way back into the starting lineup.
The midfield is expected to be largely the same after impressive performances by Rosicky and Song, however Arteta may possibly be rested with Ramsey returning to the squad.