Gunners firing on the road

Arsenal kick off their Champions League campaign at Marseille on the back of nine successive away wins.

Last Updated: 18/09/13 at 08:17 Post Comment

Mertesacker: Plenty of confidence within the Gunners

Mertesacker: Plenty of confidence within the Gunners

Arsenal kick off their Champions League campaign at Marseille on the back of nine successive away wins - a run Per Mertesacker puts down to the strong mindset of an "exceptional team".

An impressive 2-0 victory at eventual champions Bayern Munich in March proved the catalyst to the superb winning streak, which this term has seen Fenerbahce, Fulham and Sunderland fall by the way side.

Arsene Wenger's side are hoping to add Marseille to their impressive list of conquests this evening as their Group F campaign kicks off at the Stade Velodrome.

It is a match of significant importance as sterner tests against Borussia Dortmund and Napoli await, with centre-back Mertesacker confident of collecting another important win.

"We have an exceptional team - that's the main thing," the Germany international said.

"We built up confidence from last season, especially the last 10 games when we didn't lose anything.

"You could feel it from the first day that there is something special in this team, apart from the first game [against Aston Villa], no one dropped and the performance went well after that.

"We have shown so far that we are ready to keep our confidence and keep the run going. The most important thing is to keep that mental level high and to be prepared for because it will be hard.

"They will put pressure on us so we need to be aware of that, particularly in the first 15-20 minutes."

The chances of Arsenal starting with their campaign with three points look to have been dramatically boosted by the news Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud are available.

Ozil, signed to much fanfare on transfer deadline day, travelled to Marseille after struggling with tight muscles following his superb debut in Saturday's 3-1 win at Sunderland.

Giroud, who suffered a knee injury at the Stadium of Light, has also been passed fit, but Arsenal's squad still looks threadbare.

A lengthy injury list including Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski means teenagers Isaac Hayden and Chuba Akpom have had to travel as part of Arsenal's 18-man party.

"The situation of the other players is we had some small knocks but for tomorrow they look okay," boss Wenger said.

"But of course I am concerned because from now they play for two months every three or four days and it's important we get some players back because you cannot play for the next two months with the squad we have at the moment."

In the meantime, though, Wenger hopes his depleted squad can secure an opening-night win in what is sure to be an intimidating - if half finished - Stade Velodrome.

"There is a passionate home crowd here in this city and then the team of Marseille have a compact game," he said.

"They are very good defensively, they are very strong physically and have this experience of playing big games in their stadium.

"And then you cannot forget about their offensive players like Mathieu Valbuena, Andre-Pierre Gignac etc."


Sky Bet Free Bet Club: £10 free bet - £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

m only commenting on this (I don't care about Liverpool) because F365's twitter said I had call Matt Stanger a tw*t (which I don't agree with anyway) but I just wanted to be the first. Am I the first?

tk421
Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

S

unday, Sunday. Will there be a fan of either team, who if they are winning after 80 mins, won't still be nervous? This could be anything from 0-0 to 5-5, and no one would bat an eye.

megabrow (cufc)
A Season Of Continuous False Dawns

T

his year I am getting F365 a whack-a-mole game but with Brendan instead of the mole (Like the one with JD on Scrubs) and every time he pops up he says something. Outstanding Whack!, Character Whack!, Magnificent Whack!, Wonderful Composure Whack, Whack f**king Whack. Hours of fun.

hump3.
Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

Footer 365

Premier League: Joe Hart agrees long-term contract with Manchester City

Joe Hart has signed a new long-term contract which keeps him at Manchester City until the end of the 2018-19 season.

Premier League: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert says Manchester United can still win title

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert believes Saturday's opponents Manchester United can still win the Barclays Premier League.

Premier League: Manuel Pellegrini confident James Milner will sign new deal at Manchester City

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is confident James Milner will soon sign a new contract with the club.

Mail Box

More Players In The Wrong Bloody Shirt

Plus Cristiano Ronaldo, who looks 'heart-breakingly well-suited to a Real Madrid shirt' according to one United fan. Plus, words from the good doctor and plenty more...

Players Plainly Wearing The Wrong Strip...

There are some players who just look plain daft in whatever shirt they're wearing. Like Cesc and Robin. It's a cracking mailbox with a load of different themes...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property