Arsenal vs. Marseille FIFA 12 Simulation: Match Preview, Commentary and More
Arsenal, of England's Premier League, and Marseille, of France's Ligue 1, are looking to square off in a heavyweight matchup in Group F of the Champions League group stage.
This is a key game for the Gunners to win, as they are tied on points with German side Borussia Dortmund, with four points apiece. Dortmund are also looking in good position to pounce on the beleaguered form of Olympiakos, so Arsenal are in dire need to take all three points from this.
On the other side of the tie, however, Marseille are looking strong, with full points from their first two group matches.
They will be looking to maintain their stellar Champions League form against a North London side on the road to recovery.
How about we take a peek into the future and see what the match could turn out to be with the power of FIFA 12?
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Marseille will be playing this match with a near-full-strength squad at hand, but with a few key departures.
The formation Les Phocéens will be looking to implement is an alternate version of the attack-minded and free-flowing 4-3-3 system.
In goal will be the French side's captain, Steve Mandanda, looking to continue his shutout streak against Champions League opponents.
On defense, the middle will consist of Diawara and N'Koulou, who comes in for the injured Mbia. Out on the flanks will be Azpilicueta and Morel, on the right and left side respectively.
With just three midfielders holding down the midfield, Marseille will look to key playmakers Diarra and Gonzalez to take the game to the Gunners with quick and efficient transition play. Cheyrou will also be adding to this strong midfield lineup, with his talents being used on the left side of Marseille's midfield.
And finally, up top there is the clinical finisher Remy, with help from his supporting cast and winging forwards Valbuena and Ghanaian international Ayew, not to be confused with Jordan Ayew, who is out on suspension.
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Arsene Wenger will be looking to get creative against a very solid Marseille squad and has several injuries to account for in his lineup.
Arsenal will be rolling out with their version of the 4-3-3 formation, complete with the same flowing attributes that grace their opponent's same formation.
In goal for the Gunners is Szeczeny, who had an excellent game against Sunderland despite conceding.
With Sagna, Vermaelen and Djourou out and with the fitness and well-being of Gibbs under question, the Gunners back line will consist of Mertesacker and Koscielny holding the middle.
Out wide will (possibly) be the talents of Arsenal new boy and Brazilian Andre Santos on the left and Jenkinson out right, following a strong performance this past Sunday.
Across the middle, Wenger will keep it the same as he did on Sunday with Song on the right side, Rosicky on the left and Arteta being the main cog in the middle of the park.
On the wings, Arsenal will be keen and tenacious as Walcott graces the right side of the park and Gervinho is on the left.
And finally, at the target striker position will be the on-fire captain van Persie, looking to continue his streak of scoring in all competitions.
1st-Half Statistics and Commentary
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At the end of the first half, it was one-nil to Arsenal, thanks to a well-taken, right-footed shot from the Dutch forward.
The shot count was five to one, in favor of Arsenal. Even though Arsenal have had more chances, Marseille's one chance on goal was a dangerous one, with a long shot from Gonzalez skirting just wide of the left post.
Arsenal controlled the overall possession, with a whopping 65 percent of it, compared to Marseille's measly 35 percent.
There was only one minor foul committed around the halfway line, with a mistimed tackle taken on Rosicky. The resulting free kick was of no real consequence.
If Marseille want to get back in this match, they are going to have to abandon their timid, defensive first-half scheme in favor of a risky, more attack-minded approach if they want to stand a chance against this rather strong-looking Gunners squad.
Arsenal, though, will just have to maintain what they did in the first half. No major complaints other than a few silly giveaways from Gervinho.
To really put the game away though, Arsenal need to continue pressing and put another goal or two in to ensure the victory and offer some breathing room between themselves and their opponent.
Full Game Statistics
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An excellent game played by both sides!
Shots: Arsenal led in the shots department 10-7 over Marseille.
Shots on target: Arsenal led with on-frame shots 6-4.
Shot accuracy: Arsenal were above average with their aim, with a healthy 60 percent to Marseille's 57 percent.
Possession: Possession was stark, with Arsenal continuing to lead the way with 61 percent to the 39 percent of the time Marseille had the ball.
Pass accuracy: Arsenal rifled the ball around the park with an astounding pass completion percentage of 96 percent. Marseille, not to be outdone, also did well, with 88 percent of their passes making it to the receiving player.
Tackles: Only five tackles apiece for the sides, creating a much more flowing game to watch with the ridiculous amounts of passing for both sides.
Fouls: Just the one from Marseille on Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky.
No yellow cards, red cards or injuries to account for.
Arsenal: Arshavin in for Walcott.
Final Comments and Thoughts
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Final Score: Marseille 1-3 Arsenal
Arsenal left it until late, but in the end, they walked out victorious over former group-leaders Marseille.
Marseille came out slowly in the second half, but their counterattacks proved to be rather deadly, as their on-form striker, Remy, struck in the 72nd minute to level things up at one apiece.
Not to be outdone by anyone else, Arsenal captain Robin van Persie received the ball from an excellent play-through pass from Arteta, held the ball up, turned the corner on the defender and placed the ball across the frame to take Arsenal ahead 2-1.
Then, to seal the deal late on, Arshavin went on another of his excellent weaving runs up the flank, squared the ball across the top of the box to Song who fired it home over the outstretched palms of Mandanda to make it three for the North London side.
After the final whistle blew, the Arsenal squad celebrated by gathering around their mercurial captain as their gracious hosts trudged off the field, looking rather dejected.
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Just a reminder to those reading this: This is a simulation.
The real game between these two sides is to be played on Wednesday in the Stade Velodrome in France.
If the Gunners are as dominant in the real version of this match as their virtual counterparts were, they should have no problems seeing off the Group F leaders.
Marseille are no slackers when it comes to quick and decisive play. They could very well give Arsenal a run for their money as they look to stay on top of the group table.
I hope everyone enjoyed this simulation analysis. Look for the follow-up to this game and comparisons to the simulation after the match Wednesday.