The group of death… It consists of four big European clubs - Arsenal, Dortmund, Marseille and Napoli.
This year’s battle for qualification to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League has never been tougher for these sides. For some, they have leaped into battle for the top-spot, but for Marseille, they haven’t been that tough and frightful French team we have seen in previous years.
Currently, the French side sit rock-bottom of group F, with no points to show for their current efforts. They now trail nine points behind the top two sides - Arsenal and Napoli.
With just two fixtures left of the group-stage, advancing into the next round is out of the question for the Ligue 1 outfit. It was always a harsh group for Marseille, but most of us still expected more from a side that has a large amount of experience in European tournaments.
Nevertheless, tonight’s clash sees Arsenal take on the Marseille boys. Even though they no longer have a chance to advance, they still have pride and dignity to play for.
To finish the group with zero points this season in the Champions League will be very disheartening for such loyal and passionate fans found at Marseille. Picking up three points however at the Emirates Stadium tonight, will be a certain confidence boost for both fans and the players, and will encourage them to push on in their league efforts.
This is easier said than done. The Gunners currently sit at the top of their group. Qualification is just around the corner, and they have a massive battle on their hands against two of the biggest clubs in their retrospective countries.
Arsene Wenger's side have also got back to winning ways after an agonising defeat to Manchester United and the international break. The Gunners enjoyed a terrific 2-0 win over Southampton at the weekend, and taking on this side will be a massive obstacle for Marseille.
So how do they overcome such a confident side? Well, as mentioned, the club have passionate fans that follow their club around the continent ensuring they are heard by the opposition. Their support both home and away is electrifying, and can sometimes overshadow the opposition's.
If the Marseille fans turn up tonight with confidence, attitude and passion, this will reflect onto the players.
In addition to this, we mustn’t forget the quality and depth the side have amongst them. From the experienced keeper, to the fearsome attackers up-front, Marseille do have the quality to take on the likes of Arsenal. The question is - do they have the faith?
Arsenal fans may feel confident tonight taking on Marseille at home, but they still need to be prepared for a fight put up by a struggling french side There is certainly a lot up for grabs!
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