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

H

e made his power play to try and get Sheikhy to raise his wages or trade him to PSG. PSG were probably not interested and he is stuck with no cake and no vacation. @Jay_D> Surely you jest about FFP being real, right? All Platini is doing is making billionaries pay measly fines, so he and his cronies can get rich. If a fool can pay 50 mil for David Luiz, he will happily pay some fine to UEFA. FFP has failed as for it to succeed UEFA had to take it...

Synergy
Toure: I am staying with City

G

uess we can expect Toure's explanation of his behaviour around the same time Pete Townshend publishes his book then.

ceeps
Toure: I am staying with City

D

amn you Yaya, don't scare me like that! I only ate the icing. I didn't eat the soft and scrumptious middle - I will buy you another cake!

MCFC87
Toure: I am staying with City

Footer 365

Premier League: Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool will move on without Luis Suarez

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists there is no bad blood between the club and the outgoing Luis Suarez.

Transfer news: Liverpool appear to be close to completing a deal for Loic Remy

Liverpool are closing in on the signing of Loic Remy with the French forward reportedly having his medical in Boston.

Executive vice chairman Ed Woodward says Manchester United are still global giant

Manchester United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward insists the club are still the biggest in the world.

Mail Box

Anyone But Rooney. Or Baines. Or Hart.

There isn't a great deal of excitement in the Mailbox regarding England's potential new captain, but we have good stuff on Gerrard's development and a one club man team...

Goodbye Patrice And Farewell Steven...

Man United fans say a fond farewell to Patrice Evra in the mailbox while there are also thoughts on Steven Gerrard's retirement from England duty. Plus, some rare cricket bantz...

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