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Marseille vs. Arsenal: Champions League Match Thread

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In a match featuring no champions, Arsenal take on Marseille to kick off their 2013-14 Champions League campaign.

You'd think they'd polish it every once in a while
You'd think they'd polish it every once in a while
Ulet Ifansasti

Marseille vs. Arsenal
Champions League Group Stage, Matchday 1
Wednesday, September 18, 2013; 2:45 PM EDT/11.45 AM PDT
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
TV: Fox Soccer Plus; foxsoccer2go

So here we go.  England's fourth place champions take on France's second place champions in the dumbest-named competition since baseball invented the World Series (yes, Toronto, I know.  Joe Carter, etc.  What have you done for me lately?  NOTHING, eh?).

And for once this injury-riddled season, Arsenal's actually able to kinda field a full-strength-ish side; still no Arteta/Cazorla, obviously, but as long as Arsenal don't have to go to their bench early, they have more than enough firepower to take points from the French.  The conventional narrative so far this young season is that Arsenal must take points from the French, because taking points from Dortmund and Napoli will be really, really hard - but guess what?  All these games are hard.  Arsenal are just as capable of taking points from the other two teams as anybody, so it's not like tonight's game is do or die.

That said, a positive result sets a good tone for the rest of the group stage; it'd also be nice for everyone to stay healthy.  Please.

LINEUPS:

Arsenal: Szczęsny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Wilshere, Özil, Ramsey, Flamini, Giroud, Walcott
Subs: Fabiański, Vermaelen, Monreal, Jenkinson, Miyaichi, Hayden, Akpom

Marseille: Mandanda, N'Koulou, Mendes, Morel, Fanni, Payet, Romao, Imbula, Valbuena, Gignac, A Ayew
Subs: Samba, Mendy, Cheyrou, Lemina, J Ayew, Thauvin, Khalifa