Olympique De Marseille vs Arsenal FC: Champions League Match Preview

Khalid KhanCorrespondent IIOctober 17, 2011

Van Persie carried Arsenal to victory against Sunderland
Van Persie carried Arsenal to victory against SunderlandPaul Gilham/Getty Images

Arsenal will travel to France this week to take on Olympique Marseille in Champions League. This fixture is vital to Arsene Wenger and his side as they trail Marseille in the group by two points. Wenger, who was banned from the first two group matches, will be hoping that his side can pick up three points in France to build on their performance from this weekend against Sunderland.

But, it will not be that easy because Marseille has played very well in the their first two games in the group stage with a convincing 3-0 against Borussia Dortmund and a tough away victory against Olympiacos. However, Marseille has struggled in domestic play this season. In 10 games in the French League this season, Marseille has only won once, they have drawn six, and have lost three. Both of these clubs have struggled domestically, but have played very well in Europe.

Even though their recent form has been dismal, Marseille still have a great squad with plentiful of skilled attackers that can trouble this weakened Arsenal defense. Marseille's three man attack with Lucho Gonazlez, Mathieu Valbuena, and Loic Remy will trouble Arsenal's back four, which is missing Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen.

The same goes with the Arsenal attack matching up with the Marseille defense. Marseille's defense has been pretty stable this season, but with the suspension of Rod Fanni, Marseille will be very vulnerable on the right side of the defense where problems could arise with the pace of players like Theo Walcott and Gervinho.

There is some concerning injury news for both sides ahead of this fixture. It seems that Marseille will have to play without the services of Rod Fanni, Stephane Mbia, Jordan Ayew and Djimi Traore. Arsenal are already without Abou Diaby, Thomas Vermaelen, Bacary Sagna, and Jack Wilshere. Also, Arsenal may be without the services of Kieran Gibbs (stomach muscle inflammation) and Aaron Ramsey (hamstring).  

Projected Starting XI:

Olympique de Marseille: (4-3-3) Mandanda, Azpilicueta, N'Koulou, Diawara, Morel; Kabore, Diarra, Gonzalez; Ayew, Remy, Valbuena

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Santos; Song, Arteta; Walcott, Rosicky, Gervinho; Van Persie

Prediction: 3-2 Arsenal. It finally seems that Arsenal have finally shaken off that dismal start to the season with four wins in their last five games. Arsenal are more threatening than Marseille in the attacking aspect of the game and will trouble the Marseille defense throughout the night. But, their defense is still shaky, which will allow Marseille to get into this game. However, Arsene Wenger and his men will find a way to prevail and continue their fine form that they have found.