Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has spoken of the need for the Gunners to contain Marseille star Mathieu Valbuena during the Champions League tie at Stade Velodrome on Wednesday evening.
Arsene Wenger's men travel to France for the Group F opener and will confident of achieving a positive result having notched up an impressive run of nine consecutive victories away from the Emirates Stadium.
German midfielder Mesut Ozil, who joined Arsenal for £42.5 million on transfer deadline day and impressed on his debut on Saturday, is set to make his European bow for the Gunners but Wenger will be without the talented midfield quartet of Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta who are all sidelined through injury.
Ahead of the clash, former Auxerre star Sagna, who has won 37 caps for his country, has pinpointed diminutive playmaker and international teammate Valbuena as the key threat for the hosts.
“He is quite difficult to catch,” he said in an interview with Arsenal Player. “He is really small and moves a lot. He creates a lot of chances so we need to be on form that day and we need to play our way, dictate the game and show we are Arsenal.
“[Marseille’s French internationals] could easily play for Arsenal. I think technically they are at the top and they have a lot of quality and they are used to playing big games. We've talked about the game and they are ready to play against us."
Arsenal, who will also have to face Jurgen Klopp's talented Borussia Dortmund and Serie A leaders Napoli in order to progress to the knockout stage, have started the domestic season in impressive form and currently sit in second place after bouncing back from a humiliating opening day defeat to Aston Villa to record consecutive victories over Fulham, Tottenham and Sunderland.
They return to domestic action this weekend with a fixture against Mark Hughes' Stoke City on Sunday afternoon.