Arsenal are preparing to take part in their first Champions League group match today, in what should be a good match against French side Marseille. Arsenal travel to face Marseille in the south of France to face the famous French team in the club’s first group match of the season, after successfully progressing to this stage of the Champions League with an aggregate 5-0 win over Turkish side Fenerbahce.
Arsenal’s opponents will be much tougher this time; however it’s absolutely vital that we take advantage of this opportunity, because ultimately many suggest that this away game is perhaps the easiest one we will have in the Champions League this year. Although I don’t disagree with the fact that Marseille will be the weakest team we will face, especially when we know we will be later facing Borussia Dortmund and Napoli both home and away, but we cannot simply say that Arsenal are guaranteed all three points from today’s game because I’m honestly expecting a very tough game from the French.
They may be the easiest team in the group, but they won’t be any pushovers and we’ve experienced havoc from them in the past, so we should know what to expect. I think our main concern will be on which players are actually available to play in the game, because at the moment players seem to be dropping like flies.
Luckily it seems like it’s only good news on the injury front ahead of this game because it’s been confirmed by the club that Per Mertesacker will return to the squad, whilst Mesut Ozil has recovered from illness and should start. The main concern is still over Olivier Giroud and as much as I’d like him to play, I fear that if he isn’t 100 per cent then I don’t think we should risk it because at the moment we cannot afford a serious injury on another one of our top players.
Assuming that the injury front remains the same, I also expect Flamini to keep a starting place, whilst I think Wilshere will start on the bench. I reckon if Giroud is a risk then Walcott will be given another chance to play striker, however he will have a very tough game trying to get past the strength of the Marseille centre backs. I’m certainly not expecting this to be an easy game and as much as I want it to be a comfortable 2/3 nil to the Arsenal, I think it could be a very close game with Arsenal just edging it out 2-1. Come on you Gunners! Prove to everyone why we deserve to be in the Champions League once again this season!