Can Arsenal afford not to win in Marseille?

By Avenell Dave

Looking at the pots ahead of the Champions League draw, there were sides I really wanted us to avoid. 

Napoli and Dortmund were among them, making this one of the most challenging groups we will have to get out of in recent memory. 

Arsene Wenger was right to highlight our superb away record in recent months and indeed in Europe over the past few years.

Of course, records are there to be broken, and we need to ensure that it doesn't end in the South of France this evening. 

We've won our last five away games against French opposition by a single goal, including a 1-0 win in Marseille a couple of years ago thanks to a goal from current man of the moment Aaron Ramsey in stoppage time. 

They've strengthened a lot since then - out go the likes of last season's enfant terrible Joey Barton and in come the likes of Payet, who scored twice on his debut. 

Their only defeat so far came against free-spending Monaco and they are certainly going to be no walkovers. 

Hopefully they will fancy their chances and try and push us back, giving us the scope to play the counter-attacking football that suits us best.

I have a feeling Jack Wilshere will score tonight - and he's certainly overdue, but I'm still concerned that other players need to step up to the plate. 

I like Theo Walcott and I know he has something about him which can be valuable to the team, but he cannot miss chances with the regularity that he did against Sunderland. 

He also needs to track back harder to protect Bacary Sagna rather than think his only relevance is as a forward. Even Cristiano Ronaldo defends at times. 

While winning our home games should not be presumed as a given, if we win tonight and our home games, we are through, whatever happens in our tricky away matches against the Italians and Germans.

With the squad already stretched to capacity, the quicker we can get through the group, the sooner we can rest players with games coming thick and fast.

Three points, no suspensions or injuries - it's not much to ask, is it?

Addict XI


Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs

Wilshere Ramsey Flamini

Walcott Giroud Ozil