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Antony Heath 31st Oct 2011 - 16:09

Marseille to be shot down in London

Arsenal v Marseille - 19:45 live on Sky Sports 2

At the halfway stage of the Champions League Arsenal find themselves on 7 points, just 1 ahead of their visitors but in full control of their own destiny, a win here will see them move 4 points clear and almost certain to qualify for the 11th consecutive season.

The Gunners (4/6) have kept on picking up results in Europe all season long despite their early season struggles. They have managed to get some impressive European results, most notably being close to victory in Dortmund and the win in Udinese that saw them reach this stage. Now that they have started to pick up results in the Premier League too it's hard to see Marseille being able to stop them at the Emirates in the form they're in.

Arsenal may have failed to win either of their last 2 ties against French sides at home but I can't see Marseille being able to make it a hat-trick of failures for the Gunners. The front line has started to click and the new defensive recruits seem to be gelling together so it is likely to be more of a case of by how many will Arsenal win by as opposed to if they will or not. Arsenal -1 on the handicap looks cracking value at 17/10 and for those optimistic of a bigger Arsenal win -2 is 9/2 and -3 is 11/1.

Arsenal's attacking style has certainly seen van Persie (7/2 First, 10/11 Anytime) come to life as proved by the hat-trick he bagged at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and he will be huge threat to a resilient Marseille defence.  The support he received from those behind his was equally as damaging to Chelsea as both Walcott (15/2 First, 9/4 Anytime) and Gervinho (9/2 First, 6/5 Anytime) looked dangerous as the Gunners pushed forward. Recent signing Park Chu-Young has scored twice against Marseille during his stint at Monaco and can be backed at 11/2 first and 6/4 anytime.

Marseille (4/1, draw 11/4) will be needing to bounce back to winning ways after letting their concentration slip in the last minutes to allow Arsenal to snatch a 1-0 victory in their backyard. Les Phocéens have tough ties to come as they have to face Olympiacos at home before ending with a difficult trip to Germany to meet German champions Dortmund so any points here would be greatly appreciated, if unlikely.

Marseille will still be without the injured Stephane Mbia as the midfielder hasn't recovered from his broken foot in time for this fixture and is targeting the weekend for his return. In his absence Didier Dechamps side have struggled, but they have played better of late claiming 6 points from 6 since the sides met at the Stade Velodrome but they still sit just mid table in Ligue 1.

Marseille do have some dangerous players that can stick the ball in the net given half a chance, Loic Remy (15/2 First, 9/4 Anytime) and Andre Ayew (9/1 First, 10/3 Anytime) both have 4 goals to their name in the Ligue 1 season as well as playmaker Benoit Cheyrou (16/1 First, 6/1 Anytime) who can also pop up with the odd goal and is a dangerous player.

As much as Marseille will want to keep it to a tight defensive encounter Arsenal should be able to open the game up with an early goal (Arsenal first goal 1st to 15th minute - 17/5) and get up and running quickly. As there should be a hat full of goals the 10/11 and 9/4 on over 2.5 and 3.5 goals respectively look decent value bets. On the correct score side of things look for Arsenal to win convincingly but Marseille will likely score too so 3-1 (14/1) or 4-1 (25/1) would be the picks.


Top Bets

Arsenal -1 @ 17/10

Arsenal first goal 1st to 15th minute @ 17/5

Chu-Young Park anytime @ 6/4

Over 3.5 goals @ 9/4


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