Arsenal v Marseille – Champions League Match Preview

Champions League Trophy

Team news, match facts and quotes ahead of the Champions League Group F fixture between Arsenal and Valencia at Emirates Stadium.

TEAM NEWS

Thomas Vermaelen and Carl Jenkinson are both fit to start. Marouane Chamakh has suffered a knee injury and is not fit, but Yossi Benayoun is available again after sitting out Saturday’s win over Chelsea due to the terms of his loan deal. Kieran Gibbs (stomach) remains out, along with midfielders Abou Diabyand Jack Wilshere and full-back Bacary Sagna(all ankle).

Andre-Pierre Gignac made an appearance as a substitute in a win over Dijon at the weekend despite suffering from groin pain recently. Midfielder Stephane Mbia remains sidelined as he has a broken foot.

MANAGER QUOTES

Arsene Wenger: “They are a side who can defend well with very physical and quick players on the break, so I believe that the counter attack suits them more than dominating the game. They have gained in confidence in between the two games like we have so it should be an interesting tie. But for us it’s an opportunity to qualify and of course we want to take this chance.”

Didier Deschamps: “We could play 4-4-2. But is it a system that can pose them problems without putting us in difficulty? I saw their match at Stamford Bridge, they conceded three but the three in midfield and three up front have quality. I still have time to ponder 4-4-2. I am going to rotate a bit anyway because of tiredness.”

MATCH FACTS

Marseille have lost six of their last eight CL games against English teams (one win, one draw).

Arsenal have lost only two of their 17 games against French opposition in European competitions (nine wins, six draws).

Marseille have won their last three CL away games in the group stages, keeping a clean sheet in all of those games (goal difference 11-0).

The Gunners have lost only one of their last 35 CL home games (1-3 in the semi-finals 2008/09 against Manchester United). They won 25 of the remaining 34 (nine draws).

The French outfit have kept a clean sheet in seven of their last nine European games (excl. qualifiers).

A win would secure Arsenal a place in the round of 16.

In their last ten home games (of which they won nine and drawn one), Arsenal have scored an average of 3.3 goals per game.

Arsenal midfielder Alex Song has already won 18 tackles, by far the most of all players in the competition.

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