Arsenal go for record away win but injury crisis looms
Giroud and Ozil passed fit for Marseille game but Wenger's squad still looks threadbare
JUST A few weeks ago, the talk at Arsenal was of crisis. But now the Gunners have their sights set on a record-breaking tenth straight away win as they begin their Champions League campaign against Marseille.
There was more good news for their fans today. Both Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil have been passed fit and defender Per Mertesacker is also available after missing the game against Sunderland last weekend.
The Gunners' run of away form began in the Champions League last season, when they beat Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Allianz Arena but were knocked out of the competition on goal difference. Since then Arsenal have beaten Swansea, West Brom, Fulham (twice), QPR, Newcastle, Fenerbahce and Sunderland, scoring 18 goals and conceding only three in the process.
The omens for tonight are good: Arsenal have never lost a European match to French opposition in France. They may need to register a victory as they have a tough group and the visit to Marseille represents their best chance of an important away win.
But not everything is rosy in the Gunners' camp, says The Times: "Even in his brave new world, Arsene Wenger finds himself stalked by a familiar ghost ... an injury crisis could yet again reveal the lack of depth in his squad."
Some would say it already has. Arsenal will be without eight first-team players tonight. Youngsters Isaac Hayden and Chuba Akpom have been drafted into the squad to ensure that there are seven men on the subs' bench.
And even the news on Giroud is not all good, notes the Daily Telegraph. It says "familiar questions" have been raised about the depth of Wenger's resources "especially after Olivier Giroud's admission that he has endured a niggling pain in his right knee since the summer ... [and] there is mounting concern over how his squad will cope during the next two months". ·