By Richard Clarke in Marseille

Arsène Wenger believes the biggest danger for his Arsenal side in Marseille on Wednesday evening is being caught on the counter-attack.

Didier Deschamps' side soaked up significant pressure against Dortmund on Matchday Two before running in three goals and taking control of Champions League Group F.

The Arsenal manager expects the former French World Cup-winning captain to attempt the same trick at Stade Velodrome by allowing the visitors ample possession.

"Marseille are strong defensively and very efficient on the counter-attack," said Wenger on the eve of the game.

"We analysed their games in terms of goals from shots on target and they are very efficient. They have individual players who are really strong and quick like Loic Remy, Andre Ayew and players with a lot of vivacity like Mathieu Valbuena and Lucho Gonzalez who make a lot of passes so they are a very dangerous team.

"Against Dortmund, they [counter-attacked] very well. They have good ball-winners in midfield and are very quick going forward so I might be wrong but I expect them to do that again."

In many ways, Arsenal and Marseille are kindred spirits right now - decent in Europe, patchy in domestic competition. But while Wenger's men returned to the top half of the Premier League by beating Sunderland at Emirates Stadium this weekend, Deschamps' side are currently 15th in Ligue 1 having registered just one win in their opening 10 games.

"They are a strong team who play for the manager," said the Arsenal boss. "But they are in the middle of a very difficult period and maybe they lack confidence. However that goes goes away quickly and is hard to get back.

"[As for us,] we are coming back in the League and have won some games now. We have won five times in a row at home and last season we were very efficient away and I think that will come back as well.

"We will not give up on the League because it represents our future and the qualification for the Champions League.

"But I would like to remind you that this is the 14th time in a row that we have qualified for the Champions League and the only other clubs who have done that are Real Madrid and Man United. That shows how important that is for us."

This is the first game in a double-header against Marseille which, according to Wenger, will determine Arsenal's final position in Group F. Part of that will be self-determining but, of course, the Dortmund side caught in that counter-attacking web in Marseille last time out, will still have a say.

"The group is still open when the third team is as good as Dortmund," said the Frenchman. "They will play twice against Olympiacos so I don't rule them out of qualifying."

Team news

Marseille - Stéphane Mbia (broken metatarsal) Djimi Traoré (foot)

Arsenal - Gibbs (stomach muscle), Vermaelen (ankle), Wilshere (ankle), Diaby (ankle)


Referee: Damir Skomina

Match officials: from Slovenia

Expected attendance: approx. 33,000.

Travelling fans: approx. 1,400

Kits: Arsenal in blue, Marseille in orange

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
19 Oct 2011