Arsene Wenger: Arsenal have the toughest Champions League group
Arsene Wenger claims that Arsenal have the toughest of all of the Champions League groups this season
Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have the toughest of all of the Champions League groups this season as the Gunners gear up for their opener against Marseille.
Wenger’s side were pitted against last year’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund and Serie A leaders Napoli along with the French outfit in last month’s draw.
And the Arsenal boss feels that all four teams have a chance of reaching the round of 16 ahead of the north London side’s clash at the Stade Velodrome.
“I would say it is the hardest group because all the four teams have a chance to qualify,” said Wenger.
“That means the every game is basically a very important one. On average you need 10 points to qualify so that gives you the task. Ten points in a group as a difficult as that could be a reasonable number to get through.”
Wenger, who confirmed that Olivier Giroud is fit and available for Wednesday’s clash after the striker suffered an injury scare at Sunderland, also says that Arsenal’s away form in the competition will be crucial to their success.
“It will play a big part because it is difficult to predict that you will absolutely win your three home games,” he said.
“You need points away from home and, like in every competition, the start is very important for the confidence of the team and to put you in a good position.
“Whether it is home or away, it is the same basically, we come here and we will try to win the game.”
Marseille v Arsenal: Pre-match facts
• Arsenal have remained unbeaten in their nine visits to France: six wins and three draws. They have won the last five fixtures, including a 2-1 success at Montpellier on matchday one last season.
• Marseille have lost their last three home fixtures on matchday one; two years ago they were away, at Olympiacos, and won 1-0.
• Arsenal’s success in France is out of step with their recent record on their travels which shows nine defeats in 17 away games in the competition proper and five victories.
• Mathieu Flamini began his career at Marseille, making his senior debut in December 2003. At the end of that season he joined Arsenal for the first time.