Arsenal’s revival to continue with German Champions League point
A slim home victory over struggling Swansea at the weekend, courtesy of a goalkeeping error, was hardly the morale-boosting performance that Arsene Wenger would have been desperate for.
Nonetheless, given Arsenal’s hairy start to the season, the under-pressure manager will simply be happy to have finally registered his first league win of the 2011/12 campaign.
Now his attention turns to the Champions League, with an away trip to Dortmund looking particularly tough. Arsenal’s previous visit was a 2-1 loss in 2002, and last season’s Bundesliga champions have lost at home just once in nearly a year.
But Jurgen Klopp’s side have underwhelmed so far this campaign – they’ve won only two of their five games – and that one home loss came just this weekend, when Hertha Berlin left with a surprise 2-1 victory.
Additionally, Arsenal’s most competent performance this season was away in the Champions League play-off, when they were expected to struggle against a confident Udinese side yet came out well on top.
Wenger will be hoping that the Champions League will once again provide a satisfactory distraction, while new signing Per Mertesacker, who has gathered eight years experience in German football, should boost Arsenal’s chances immeasurably.
While Arsene Wenger will be cast to the stands – with no walkie talkie in sight this time – the Gunners should be good enough to nick a point in Germany.
Arsenal’s odds are 12/5 to draw in Dortmund and 11/4 to win, with the hosts 1/1 to pile more pressure on Wenger.
Elsewhere in Group F, Marseille travel to Olympiakos in even worse domestic form than their aforementioned group rivals.
The pressure is firmly on boss Didier Deschamps as last season’s Ligue One runners-up are yet to register a win in their five matches so far this term.
A second consecutive loss this weekend was the low point so far, but they do have the advantage of regular games, something their undercooked opponents are lacking.
Olympiakos are yet to play a single league game this season and have been hit by the unexpected sale of former Liverpool winger Albert Riera to Galatasaray.
Marseille are 9/5 to win, with the Greeks the slight favourites at 6/4.