Arsenal's 18-man squad for Marseille - A must win game for Arsenal

Marseille Velodrome

Arsenal start their Champions League campaign away to Marseille tomorrow night at the Stade Velodrome.

Their 18-man squad for the fixture is as follows:

Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Walcott, Flamini, Giroud, Akpom, Hayden, Miyaichi, Fabianski, Monreal, Vermaelen, Jenkinson.

It is critical for the Gunners that they come away from the South of France with all three points because they will know they have much tougher trips to both Borussia Dortmund and Napoli.

In previous years Arsenal have been in groups where Marseille would have been their strongest opponent, however this year it is not the case. Taking six points from the two games against Marseille will set them up nicely for the contests in Italy and Germany.

If you look at the Gunners points totals from the last four Champions League group stages they have averaged just over 11 points, they will have to exceed this total during the current campaign if they want to be sure of progressing to the knockout stage.

This is why it is vital to get off to a good start on tomorrow night, dropping points would leave them playing catch up for the rest of the campaign.

Manager Arsene Wenger will not want to be travelling to Naples fro their final match in the group needing a victory to qualify; we’ve seen over the past few seasons how hard a place it is to visit. Both Manchester City and Chelsea both were defeated at the Stadio San Paolo.

It will be crucial for Arsenal to take the crowd out of the game early because if Marseille get any kind of momentum going then the Stade Velodrome can become extremely loud.

Even with the injuries that Arsenal have currently got in their squad they should have enough to beat Marseille home and away. L’OM tend to play a high defensive line so Theo Walcott could prove important with Mesut Ôzil feeding him passes.

It will be between Napoli, Arsenal and Dortmund for the top two spots in the group so this game is an opportunity to get off to a flying start before the much tougher contests ahead.

As an Arsenal fan I find it much more exciting to test ourselves against some of Europe’s best teams this early in the competition, in past years the group stage was just a warm up for the knockout stage. It feels much more special to have three home games that fans can really look forward to.

image: © T1o

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