Arsenal face Marseille in the Champions League at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.
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ARSENAL v FRANCE
KEY MAN - OLIVIER GIROUD
Fresh from his brace against Southampton on Saturday, Olivier Giroud's confidence should be sky-high for the clash against Marseille. Not only is he back on the scoresheet after six games without a goal for club and country, but he has already reached double figures for the season.
Giroud was a constant thorn in the side of the Saints' backline, and deserves great credit for showing the willingness to pressurise Artur Boruc for the opening goal. The France international was also a dominant force in the air, winning 83.3 per cent of his aerial duels to bring the midfield runners into play.
As our heatmap above shows, Giroud's tireless workrate was not concentrated down the centre of the pitch - he was especially prevalent in the battle on the halfway line as he supported the midfield, and to the right of the visitors' penalty area. Indeed, Giroud also spent significant time in the Arsenal box, using his height and physical prowess to make four clearances.
The French striker has been involved in Arsenal's last three goals in the Champions League (scoring twice, against Dortmund and Napoli, and setting up Aaron Ramsey's goal in Dortmund) and if he maintains his prodigious workrate, we can expect a similarly effective performance against Marseille.
ARSENAL v MARSEILLE - MATCH FACTS
- Marseille have lost their last seven Champions League games, their worst-ever run in the competition
- The French side have conceded at least two goals in each of their last seven Champions League games
- Arsenal have lost three of their last five Champions League home games (W2)
- Marseille have won on only one of their seven trips to England in the Champions League (v Liverpool in October 2007)
- Last season's encounter between these teams at the Emirates ended in a goalless draw
- Aaron Ramsey has scored two of Arsenal's three goals against Marseille in the Champions League
- Marseille have conceded 10 goals in their first four group games in the Champions League for the first time in their history
- Arsenal last month became the first side ever to keep a clean sheet against Napoli in the Champions League
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