Predicted Arsenal XI to play Marseille

Olivier Giroud 3

Arsenal start in the Champions League travelling to France to take on Marseille.

The Gunners should be very confident ahead of their opening group match as they comfortably defeated Sunderland over the weekend to move top of the Premier League table.

European football is a completely different animal but Arsene Wenger will ensure that his side are fully prepared.

Here is the side he may go with.

GK – Wojciech Szczesny

Arsenal’s Polish goalkeeper should continue in goal. There remain lingering question marks over his quality but no one can fault his determination and will to protect his number one position, which ensures he should be able to raise his game for this important European clash.

RB – Bacary Sagna

Sagna is the obvious selection to play at right back. Defensively he should be solid enough to keep Marseille at bay and he offers an extra threat with his pace inside the opponent’s defensive third of the pitch.

CB – Per Mertesacker

The German missed the match against Sunderland with a bout of illness but he should come straight back into the defence. He offers a real presence through his height and power, which should compliment his ability to read the game nicely.

CB – Laurent Koscielny

The Frenchman seems to have a little problem with his timing following his mistake which led to Sunderland’s penalty and only goal over the weekend. However, he is one of the quickest players in Arsenal’s team and he should have more than enough to ensure the Gunners keep a clean sheet.

LB – Kieran Gibbs

Gibb’ pace is going to be a real asset when the pressure on Arsenal’s back four is released and they get a chance to counter attack. Defensively his game continues to improve and he’s becoming one of the most complete left backs in the country.

RM – Theo Walcott

Walcott will take his usual place on the right side of Arsenal’s midfield with two main threats he can offer. Firstly, his pace down the right should be good enough to beat the Marseille left back and his skill cutting inside to link up with the attack will also give Marseille a real problem.

CM – Aaron Ramsey

Ramsey continues to have a fantastic season and his confidence will be even higher following his brace against Sunderland. He’s popping up in advanced positions when a lot of the focus from the opposition is on other players. There’s no reason to doubt why he can’t be as effective in this game.

CM – Jack Wilshere

Expect to see Wilshere playing a slightly deeper position in this game. His power and control in the middle of Arsenal’s team allows others to bomb on into more advanced positions. He’s god enough to fill in anywhere across the midfield where he sees potential danger developing.

CM – Mesut Ozil

The German had a great debut for the Gunners with an assist for Olivier Giroud’s goal. He looks as though he’s going to be the creative force which the majority of Arsenal’s play flows through. Wenger will more than likely give him a free role at the top of the midfield.

LM – Mathieu Flamini

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski still out injured, Flamini is likely to continue on the left side of midfield. He did a great job there against Sunderland although he needs to resist his urge to come inside a little bit more as it can leave Gibbs exposed.

ST – Olivier Giroud

There was a slight injury concern over Giroud after he picked up a knock to the knee against Sunderland but the man himself has confirmed that he should be fit enough to start against Marseille.

What do you think? Will Mertesacker come straight back in? Should Vermaelen come back?

image: © wonker

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