Arsenal v Marseille Preview: Team News, Preferred XI & Prediction

By on September 18, 2013

It’s Champions League time! The greatest club cup competition in the world is back and we kick off the group stages with a tricky trip to France to take on Marseille at the Stade Velodrome.

Lady luck hasn’t been kind to us with the draw this year as we’re in a ‘group of death’ along with Marseille, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli. Make no mistake, it’s going to be extremely difficult to make it through to the knockout stages and Arsene’s record of achieving that feat is going to be severely tested this year.

Marseille are the weakest opposition in the group, despite coming from Pot 2 in the draw, so we need to get off to a positive start. The Champions League group phase is all about winning your three home games and picking up points on the road where you can and tonight’s game represents out best opportunity of picking up a vital away win so let’s take it!

Team News

The good news is that Olivier Giroud has been passed fit to play despite being forced off late on against Sunderland with a knee problem. He trained on Tuesday but with heavy strapping on his right knee and he says it’s been niggling him since the summer so we’ll have to be careful not to aggravate it.

Lukas Podolski is still a few weeks away from fitness and with the lack of back up options, Giroud is going to have to play through the pain over the next few weeks.

Mesut Ozil is also fit despite suffering from tight muscles following his excellent debut performance at the weekend.  However, Santi Cazorla is out and he joins Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Yaya Sanogo, Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta on the sidelines.

Per Mertesacker will return from sickness and is set to take his place alongside Laurent Koscienly at the back with Bacary Sagna moving to right-back.

Preferred XI

I said yesterday that my preferred line-up would include Nacho Monreal at left wing with Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey in the middle, but I’ve had a change of heart. This front six were superb for the opening 45 minutes against Sunderland and deserve another chance tonight.


I think tonight’s game is going to be a cagey affair with neither team wanting to give too much away, but I’m backing the boys to nick it 1-0. Marseille 0-1 Arsenal

What’s your score prediction? Do you think we’ll collect all three points?