Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda has warned Arsenal that it will be an uphill task for them to qualify to the knockout stages as every game in the group of death will be like a cup final for the Gunners. The north London club qualified for the group stages with a 5-0 win in aggregate over Fenerbahce and have been pitted against the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Marseille in what is believed to be the toughest group in the competition.
The Gunners will travel to France on Wednesday where they will take on Marseille in what is likely to the easiest of the away games for Arsene Wenger's side. The introduction of Mesut Ozil will boost Arsenal and the improved performance of Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud will make sure there are no walkovers in their group.
"This Champions League group is terrific. For any club to progress, every game must be like a final and you have to win your home games. Unless you do that, you have no chance. Giroud is in sensational form," Mandanda said.
"We have to stop them from scoring and creating danger but that will not be easy. They look a very strong team. Now Ozil has increased Arsenal's level in attack. His arrival has taken Arsenal to another level and he is perfect for the style of football and play that Wenger likes. I never expected Real Madrid to allow him to leave," he added.
The Gunners are going through a great vein of form, winning their last five games in all competitions after their shock 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day. Arsenal were leading the league table but for Liverpool's draw against Swansea which saw them reclaim the top spot. Defeat against Marseille could act as a telling blow to their chances of qualification to the next round.
However, the Gunners are stung by a series of injuries to key players before the game, with the likes of Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky all out due to injury. The return of Thomas Vermaelen will improve their defence with per Mertesacker also available after missing out against Sunderland due to illness.