Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen ready to play against Marseille

Arsenal defender could start against Marseille, but Marouane Chamakh is out with a knee injury

arsene wenger
Wenger's men beat Marseille at the Stade Vélodrome a fortnight ago PA Photos

arsene wenger

Thomas Vermaelen has been declared fit for Arsenal’s Champions League clash against Marseille at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, but Marouane Chamakh is out with a knee injury.

Vermaelen was a late substitute during the Gunners’ thrilling 5-3 win over Chelsea on Saturday and could start against the Ligue 1 side after recovering from ankle surgery.

Chamakh has been ruled out of the Group F clash after suffering a knee injury, while Kieran Gibbs (stomach), Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna (all ankle) will also miss out.

Arsenal go into Tuesday’s clash as Group F leaders, one point ahead of their opponents after having beaten the Ligue 1 outfit 1-0 at the Stade Vélodrome a fortnight ago.

But Gunners boss Arsène Wenger insists the disappointment of that result will have no impact on Lille during Tuesday’s clash in north London.

“I believe they have the team which certainly is more at ease away from home,” Wenger told a news conference on Monday.

“They are a side who can defend well with very physical and quick players on the break, so I believe that the counter attack suits them more than dominating the game.

“They have gained in confidence in between the two games like we have so it should be an interesting tie. But for us it’s an opportunity to qualify and of course we want to take this chance.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who was instrumental in Arsenal win at Stamford Bridge at the weekend and scored the winner in Marseille, is aiming to net more than 10 goals for the Gunners this season.

“I like to get forward and into the box,” said Ramsey. “My target is to get into double figures so hopefully I can do that this season. It’s always a nice feeling when you score a goal so yes, hopefully I can do that.”

Pre-match facts: Arsenal v Marseille

“¢ The Gunners have scored 247 European Cup goals, conceding 149.

“¢ Arsenal have had only four shots wide in the Champions League this season, fewer than any other side.

“¢ Marseille’s loss to Arsenal on matchday three was their 50th defeat in Uefa competition.

“¢ Having taking 10 games to notch up their first three domestic victories this season, Marseille have now won three in a row.

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