Marseille Vs Arsenal, Match preview, team news + Arsene willingness to stay for another 3 years

Match day again, oh how I love football season. We take on french side Marseille later on, and as per norm Arsene has released some team news. However, let’s all cheer the fact that Thomas Vermaelen future captain of Arsenal has signed a new long term contract.

Signed new contract - Source Arsenal.com

I have read online some of the skepticism of fans, who believes that we are signing the player so that we could ensure a higher transfer fee for the Belgian. Things happened to be exacerbated after the Fabregas and Nasri saga, but I think it is important to note that those one left for desire to win at his hometown, understandable, and the other was a greedy cunt. Let’s all not be so skeptical, and rejoice for once alright folks?

For those who are not convinced, at least let the man himself try to persuade you otherwise. Vermaelen has stated his loyalty to the club being the main reason behind his decision to sign a longer term contract, and said:

““I played my first year”, he told Arsenal Player. “I had a big injury last year, getting injured again, I want to give something back to the club, to the fans, to show my qualities. And that’s why I want to stay longer.

A hunger to repaid the fans faith, now that is what I call loyalty and like seeing. Anyway, this signing of contract bodes well for Arsenal. With more stars tied down, we can persuade players like Van Persie that we are ambitious and aim to keep our best players. Of course, we must back up that claim by going for the best players in the market as well, but that is for future Bystander to worry in January.

I guess TV’s contract being lengthened would be met with cheers, only to turn into jeers for some fans when Arsenestates his desire to continue for another 3 years.

I have three years to go with Arsenal and I always respect my contract,

Can’t imagine this happening if Arsenal doesn’t improve on our league placing and winning some silverware. If it does, our board must be dreaming.

Anyway, back to today’s match. For starters, Arsene has highlighted that Marseille are a strong proposition, and he is expecting a draw tonight.

It will be interesting to see how strong Marseille is tomorrow, because after we play them at home.

For us to get at least four points from these two games would put us in a very strong position.

To win, we would need a credible team out there playing. There are no fresh injuries apart from Gibbs, who is set to be out for two weeks. The 18 man squad sent to Marseille is

Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski, Carl Jenkinson, Andre Santos, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou, Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, Alex Song, Theo Walcott, Gervinho, Yossi Benayoun, Francis Coquelin, Andrey Arshavin, Aaron Ramsey, Robin van Persie, Marouane Chamakh.

Looking at this list, I find it queer that Park is not included. Considering his international form, and familiarity with French opponents, I would think that he is a adequate option to be used for tonight’s match. I don’t understand why did we buy the player if we are not going to play him at all. Besides, Park did score 12 league goals last season in the Ligue 1. So, really funny selection by Arsene Wenger I must say.

Arsene has said that he intends to put out his best team, and not rest anyone.

“I will put out the best team to win the match tomorrow,” he said.

The margin between the players is very thin but I will not rest some players due to fatigue because they are not tired.”

With so many games, I still think that Van Persie would be rested at the very least. Furthermore Arsene’s indication that a draw would be a good result might mean that we are playing for a draw, so even if Chamakh does start instead that wouldn’t matter.

Anyway, the strengths of this 18 man squad is that some of them have played in the Ligue before, and are familiar with the style of play there. Koscielny, Gervinho, Chamakh and Coquelin are players who excelled over there before coming / returning to Arsenal.

As such, I believe the starting 11 would be:

Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Santos, Song, Coquelin, Ramsey, Gervinho, Chamakh, Arshavin

Marseille are not in the best of forms at the moment, and have only drawn their last three match. However, lets not forget that they trounced Dortmund 3-0 at home too prior to their 3 consecutive league draws.

Marseille also possess several dangerman, the first being frontman Loic Remy, who has scored 4 league goals to date. I watched some of his videos and he appears tricky and fast, and could potentially cause some problems for Mertesacker, as the big man is not the most mobile person around.

There is also highly rated Lucho Gonzalez, who can provide that moment of inspiration and make those through passes to the forwards. However, the Argentina has been in poor form so far this season, so fingers crossed he keeps it up. However, from what I remember and watched, I think Lucho doesn’t have much pace so as long as either Coquelin or Song read the game correctly, and leave Lucho little space, I expect him to have little impact.

For Arsenal, as always, our weakness has been our inability to defend set pieces. However, seeing that Marseille plays 4-3-3 as well, that means we would have a little bit more space, and that the midfield would not be outnumbered. Hopefully Arshavin does more of his 1-2 dance as he did against Sunderland, and make them count today.

I am calling a 2-0 win for Arsenal, because this team is good enough to accomplish that. So pardon me as I leave to go make a flutter. For those interested ahead of next week’s Carling Cup match, here’s a good read on how the youngsters did against West Brom yesterday.

Here’s to a good win, COME ON YOU GUNNERS!

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