A very short preview ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League opener against Marseille tonight. Well, it has been going pretty well with Arsenal in the past few days, with a winning run, a goal scoring midfielder and a new really expensive German assist machine.
Last night provided some really exciting clashes in the Champions League. Actually they were mostly one sided, with Real Madrid thrashing Galatasaray 6-1 in Turkey, Manchester City and Manchester United registering easy wins over Plzen and Bayer Leverkusen. Paris Saint German and Bayern Munich had pretty easy outings too.
Arsenal go into their Champions League group knowing there is very little room for error, considering this is the Group of Death they have been dropped into, with extremely strong sides such as Napoli and Borussia Dortmund.
Arsenal open their account with a trip to Marseille. Two seasons back, Arsenal faced the similiar group, with the exception of Napoli. Instead, Olympiakos completed the group. An Aaron Ramsey goal of a Johan Djourou cross late into injury time won the Gunners the game.
The Welsh midfielder has been in terrific form this season, playing a host of roles, from deep in midfield to pushing the ball forward, to winning tackles and scoring goals. He has been a dynamite and his old woes such as haggling over the ball, the unneeded backpasses seem to have disappeared all of a sudden.
Marseille won their opening 3 games of the Ligue 1 campaign, 3-1 over Guingamp, 2-0 over Evian, and 1-0 over Valenciennes, before losing 2-1 to big spending Monaco and drawing 1-1 to Toulouse. Marseille will bank heavily on the trio of Dmitri Payet, Mathieu Valbuena and Andre-Pierre Gignac for the attacking thrust.
Right, team news then. Marseille will be without centre back Soulyamane Diawara, while Arsenal have a host of injury problems. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Yaya Sanogo and Abou Diaby are all ruled out.
This means that youngsters like Isaac Hayden, Emmanuel Frimpong, Ryo Miyaichi, Chuba Akpom, Serge Gnabry will continue being on the bench. Here is how I expect the two sides to line up.
Arsenal will continue with the same side that started against Sunderland. Luckily, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud have been passed fit to play. Marseille will provide a stern test to Arsenal, especially with the fantastic atmosphere that is the Stade Velodrome.
Enjoy the game wherever you are!
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