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UEFA Champions League

  • November 1, 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: P. Tagliavento
  • • Attendance: 59961

Champions League Preview: Arsenal v Marseille

Gunners are taking on a French club for the first time at the Emirates Stadium, with their last encounter against a Ligue 1 side at home being a 2-1 defeat to Auxerre at Highbury



Djourou, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Santos
 Song, Arteta, Ramsey
Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho


Fanni, Diawara, N'Koulou, Morel
Diarra, Cheyrou
Valbuena, Remy, A. Ayew
Arsene Wenger may have doubts concerning the right-back spot for this fixture, with Johan Djourou and Carl Jenkinson fighting for a place in the starting line-up.

Meanwhile, Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere are both out with ankle injuries and are not expected to play any part in this clash. Andrey Arshavin could come in place of Gervinho if the latter needs rest following the exertions at Stamford Bridge, where the Gunners defeated Chelsea in a sensational 5-3 victory.

Didier Deschamps may put forth an attacking line-up to take revenge on Arsenal for the defeat they suffered at home, while hoping to boost their prospects of qualifying for the next stage of the Champions League.

Mathieu Valbuena is likely to fall back a bit when Marseille are starved of possession, otherwise he should play a more attacking role with Loic Remy and Jordan Ayew proving to be the primary threat in the attacking third of the pitch. The latter returns after serving a tournament suspension, while Rod Fanni also comes back into the fold after being banned.

Stephane Mbia is their only absentee after suffering a broken metatarsal in August.


  • Arsenal are so far undefeated in the group stage of the Champions League, winning two and drawing one of their three games. Every other team in Group F has lost at least one match.
  • This will be the first time that the Gunners are taking on a French club at the Emirates Stadium in the European competition. The last time they played a team from Ligue 1 was in 2002-03, when they lost 2-1 to Auxerre at Highbury.
  • Arsene Wenger's men have had trouble keeping clean sheets in recent weeks, as they have managed only one in their last seven games in all competitions. But that came against Didier Deschamps' men at the Stade Velodrome - where they registered a 1-0 victory.
  • In the last five games for the Gunners, skipper Robin van Persie has scored seven goals.
  • Marseille have scored 12 goals in their last four away games in the Champions League, with their biggest victory coming in the form of a 7-0 thrashing of Zilina in 2010.
  • The visitors are also on an undefeated run of six games in Ligue 1, but find themselves in a mid-table position due to a poor start to their domestic campaign.
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Field Report
Reader's Predictions
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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
1Wojciech SzczesnyGoalkeeper
4Per MertesackerDefender
5Thomas VermaelenDefender
27Andre SantosDefender
25Carl Jenkinson Defender
8Mikel ArtetaMidfielder
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
10Chu-Young ParkStriker
14Theo WalcottStriker
21Lukasz FabianskiGoalkeeper
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
5Johan DjourouDefender
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
30Yossi BenayounMidfielder
10Andrey ArshavinMidfielder
20Robin van PersieStriker
30Steve MandandaGoalkeeper
3N. N'KoulouDefender
15Jérémy MorelDefender
21Souleymane DiawaraDefender
24Rod FanniDefender
23Alou DiarraMidfielder
7Benoît CheyrouMidfielder
28Mathieu ValbuenaMidfielder
11Loïc RemyStriker
10André AyewStriker
15Jordan AyewStriker
1Gennaro BraciglianoGoalkeeper
28César AzpilicuetaDefender
18Djimi TraoreDefender
8Lucho GonzálezMidfielder
-Charles KaboréMidfielder
19Morgan AmalfitanoMidfielder
9André Pierre GignacStriker
Players to Watch
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 20
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Robin van Persie has been in fantastic form, and recently bagged a hat-trick as he led his side to victory over Chelsea. He should be able to take his recent form into the upcoming game against Didier Deschamps' men, and will likely be a threat that the visitors can ill-afford to look past.
Steve Mandanda
Steve Mandanda
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 30
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Steve Mandanda has his task cut out as the Gunners have been scoring freely, and he will need to be on his toes if the Ligue 1 side are to get anything out of this game.

The France international has been in sparkling form this term, but his mentality has been questioned in the big games, and this is an opportunity to answer some of the shrinking group of critics.
Arsenal have been in solid form of late, winning their last five games in all competitions. In the Champions League, the Gunners have lost only one of their last 40 matches at home.

With the kind of confidence they will have gathered from their recent outings - including the victory over Deschamps' men in France - a victory should be on the cards.
Editor's Prediction

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