By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger admits he is reluctant to rotate his team against Marseille on Tuesday night.
Arsenal are on a roll right now. They have won eight of their last nine games and another victory against the French giants would put the Emirates Stadium side in the Knockout Stages for the 12th successive season.
Wenger retained his previous Premier League side for the stunning 5-3 win at Chelsea on Saturday and, though the games have been stacking up, he may name a similar team for this crucial European clash.
"I am tempted to do it," said the manager on the eve of the game. "Sometimes if you take a team on a roll there is no need to change it. You can defend any [decision] but when a team is on a positive experience, why not? That is what I have to decide."
Wenger's attitude is shaped partly by Arsenal's experience in the past few seasons when his side took giants strides in their first few Group Stage matches but struggled to get over the line of qualification and sometimes missed out on top spot.
"I [changed players] away from home at Donetsk last season and got punished," he said.
"First we want to qualify of course. But then I did it when we were qualified and we paid a heavy price [by finishing second in the Group]. But you could finish first this season and still play Barca!"
Arsenal: Diaby (ankle), Chamakh (knee), Gibbs (stomach), Wilshere (ankle), Sagna (ankle)
Marseille: Gignac (groin), Mbia (broken metatarsal)
Referee: Paolo Tagliavento (Italy)
* Arsenal will definitely qualify for the Group Stages if they win on Tuesday night. That would give Wenger's side 10 points from four games and, crucially, a superior head-to-head against Marseille. This method is used to differentiate teams the Champions League ahead of goal difference.
Arsenal would be through because there is only one combination of results which could see two other teams reach ten points - and in that instance Wenger would still progress as results against Dortmund would be discounted.Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source