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Marseille's away prowess worries Arsenal

Published: Monday 31 October 2011, 20.20CET
Arsène Wenger warned Arsenal FC of Olympique de Marseille's counterattacking prowess on the road as the Gunners look for a Group F win to book a berth in the round of 16.
by Jamie Reid
from London

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Tournament statistics

ArsenalMarseille

Goals scored10
 
9
Attempts on target39
 
36
Attempts off target17
 
57
Corners37
 
44
Offsides24
 
22
Fouls committed101
 
148
Yellow cards17
 
23
Red cards0
3
 
Published: Monday 31 October 2011, 20.20CET

Marseille's away prowess worries Arsenal

Arsène Wenger warned Arsenal FC of Olympique de Marseille's counterattacking prowess on the road as the Gunners look for a Group F win to book a berth in the round of 16.

Having seen his Arsenal FC side continue their revival with a 5-3 weekend win at Chelsea FC, Arsène Wenger is still wary of visitors Olympique de Marseille as the UEFA Champions League Group F leaders look for a victory to book a round of 16 berth. Marseille are a point adrift as they seek a response to the 1-0 home loss to the Gunners a fortnight ago.

For us it is an opportunity to qualify tomorrow and we want to take that chance
Arsène Wenger
The most important thing for me and my players is to believe that we are capable of getting a result
Didier Deschamps

Arsenal
Manager Arsène Wenger

I was always very confident. I believe that in football sometimes the lines [between victory and defeat] are very slim, even if it was a big win. We saw that again on Saturday. But I believe from a team who [a few weeks ago] played against relegation, to a team that is now 'unbeatable' we have still some progress to make. I'm very positive, of course I believe in the quality. But I see among the players there is also a huge desire to focus, to improve, and good solidarity within the squad – that's why I was always optimistic.

I believe [Marseille] have a team [better suited to] playing away from home than at home. They have a side that can defend well [and are] very physical and quick on the break. I believe counterattack suits them more than dominating possession in the game. They've gained confidence, like we have, since the last game, so it will be an interesting tie. For us it is an opportunity to qualify tomorrow and we want to take that chance.

Weekend result
Saturday: Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal (Lampard 14, Terry 45, Mata 80; Van Persie 36 85 90+2, Santos 49, Walcott 55)

Szczęsny; Mertesacker, Koscielny, Santos, Djourou (Jenkinson 76); Arteta, Song, Walcott (Rosický 79), Ramsey, Gervinho (Vermaelen 88); Van Persie

• Robin van Persie took his tally to 28 goals in 27 league appearances in 2011 as Arsenal ended a run of eight away league games without a win – their longest in the Premier League. It was their fifth successive victory home and away in all competitions, however, and Wenger's 500th as Arsenal manager.

Team news
Kieran Gibbs is out with a stomach muscle problem while Marouane Chamakh misses the game with a knee injury. Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Bacary Sagna (broken leg) are long-term absentees. Abou Diaby is nearing full fitness after an ankle injury that has kept him out so far this season.

Marseille
Coach Didier Deschamps

Football is not an exact science. You can play well and control the game and you lose. But you can have the total opposite. The first leg was pretty even. It should have been 0-0, but we cannot turn back time.

Arsenal put in a great performance to score five goals against Chelsea. They have a great attacking trio and of course Robin van Persie is in exceptional form. He's certainly one of the best players in Europe. What you want from a striker is to score goals, and his return is really impressive. But maybe he plays in a team that likes to help him; he has players like Gervinho and [Theo] Walcott who would rather pass to him than shoot. Maybe marking him is the best thing to do; we need to stop him getting the ball.

A win would be amazing, but a point would also be a big achievement. The most important game might be our next one, at home to Olympiacos. Anything is possible. The most important thing for me and my players is to believe that we are capable of getting a result. That's what we need to focus on.

Weekend result
Saturday: Dijon FCO 2-3 Marseille (Jovial 46, Corgnet 63; Rémy 1, Cheyrou 11, Diarra 82)

Mandanda; Morel, N'Koulou, Diawara, Fanni; Cheyrou (Diarra 61), Kaboré, A Ayew, Amalfitano (Valbuena 61); Rémy, J Ayew (Gignac 78)

• Having taken ten games to notch up their first three victories this season, OM have now won three in a row. Alou Diarra's winner was his first goal for the club.

Team news
André-Pierre Gignac came on against Dijon despite suffering groin pains. Stéphane Mbia remains out of action with a broken metatarsal suffered on 14 August.

Match fact
Arsenal have had seven previous home fixtures against French visitors and their record is W3 D2 L2. Their last came in 2002/03, a UEFA Champions League first group stage game against AJ Auxerre which they lost 2-1. The previous year they faced Olympique Lyonnais in the competition's second group stage, drawing 1-1 at Highbury.

Last updated: 27/11/12 12.18CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000263/match=2007619/prematch/preview/index.html#wenger+issues+om+warning

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