Wenger Mertesacker Wilshere Arsenal
Arsene Wenger, Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere walk up towards a training session ahead of their Champions League game against Marseille, November 25.Reuters

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Arsene Wenger, Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere walk up towards a training session ahead of their Champions League game against Marseille, November 25. Reuters
Arsene Wenger, Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere walk up towards a training session ahead of their Champions League game against Marseille, November 25. Reuters

The proverbial smash-and-grab at Borussia Dortmund has put Arsenal in pole position to qualify for the knockout stages for the 11th straight time.

The equation is easy enough - beat Marseille at the Emirates on Tuesday night, and if Dortmund only manage a draw against Napoli, then Arsenal are through to the last 16.

In fact if Arsenal better Dortmund's result, it will be enough to see them make their preparations for the Champions League in February.

Arsenal currently lead the group with nine points from four matches, the same as Napoli who are second. Dortmund, after that debilitating 1-0 defeat to Arsenal in the last matchday find themselves third on six points with Marseille, Arsenal's opponents on Tuesday, bottom without a single point so far.

Usually in the group stages, 10 points is the benchmark for qualification into the knockout round. However, with the way this group of death has panned out, a side with 12 points to their name can also conceivably find themselves relegated to the Europa League.

Therefore, Arsenal cannot afford to put their handbrakes on just yet, and a win against Marseille, a side desperate to not finish the group stages without a single point, is a must.

"We're starting to be consistent," Wenger said. "It is always a must-win game and tomorrow's [Tuesday] game is again, against a very difficult opponent. We just want to keep going now.

"We know what is at stake and we want to qualify and know that tomorrow is a very big game in that final stage of the qualifiers. We have an opportunity to do it at home -- 12 points might not be enough, it's true, but it might also be enough and it might be enough tomorrow -- so let's get the 12 points."

Arsenal do not have a great recent home record in the Champions League, having lost three of their last five games, albeit against opposition of seriously high quality.

Wenger asked for a little perspective when coming up with such statistics, but will also know the importance of putting that record to rest with a convincing win over Marseille.

"When we speak about losing three of the last five at home we are talking about losing to Bayern, who won the Champions League last year and who we beat at their home, and Dortmund, who we beat away as well," he said. "These kinds of games are very, very tight. But overall, if you look over a number of years we have been very strong at home.

"Of course [Marseille] have nothing to lose and that always makes the French teams very dangerous. They have quality, Marseille, and they are in a better period because they won their last two games and that makes them a dangerous team to play against of course. The quality of our concentration and our focus will be vital."

Marseille picked up an impressive 3-1 win over AC Ajaccio at the weekend, while Arsenal bounced back from the disappointing loss to Manchester United, with a 2-0 victory over high-flying Southampton.

Team news: Arsenal have the entire squad from the Southampton game available, with Mathieu Flamini also being added to the list, after the French midfielder missed the weekend's game through suspension. That leaves Lukas Podolski, back in training but still a few weeks away from a comeback, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Yaya Sanogo and Abou Diaby as the players missing.

Marseille will be without Andre Ayew, who twisted his knee on international duty. Rod Fanni remains sidelined, but Lucas Mendes could make a return after a month on the treatment table.

Key men: Arsenal: Olivier Giroud scored what will still be one of the most memorable goals at the end of the season, robbing Saints goalkeeper Artur Boruc, who suddenly seemed to think he was Cristiano Ronaldo. The Frenchman will be up for it against a side from his homeland and a couple more goals, conventional ones, will be more than helpful from an Arsenal standpoint.

Marseille: Andre-Pierre Gignac got his scoring boots on at the weekend, but the key player could be Mathieu Valbuena who will look to make use of the space in between the lines to hurt the Gunners.

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled for a 1.15 am IST start on Wednesday morning with live coverage on Ten Action in India. You can also catch the action live online by clicking the link HERE. To live stream the match in the U.S. via Fox Sports click HERE. To catch all the action via live streaming in the U.K., click HERE. To catch the action via live streaming in North Africa and the Middle East, click HERE.

Expected lineups: Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Flamini; Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud.

Marseille: Mandanda; Abdallah, Diawara, Nkoulou, Mendy; Romao, Cheyrou, Thauvin, Valbuena, Payet; Gignac.

Prediction: 3-1 to Arsenal

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