Arsenal Wenger Ozil

Arsenal were pretty ruthless in the Champions League playoffs, dispatching Fenerbahce - arguably the toughest team they could have drawn - with ridiculous ease to book their place in the Champions League group stages.

Their reward? A place in the Group of Death of this year.

The Gunners now have to see off the challenge of last year's finalists Borussia Dortmund - who they incidentally met in the group stages couple of seasons ago - Italian big-spenders Napoli and French side Marseille, the team they meet on Tuesday.

Arsenal have taken the confidence gained from the win over Fenerbahce into the English Premier League winning their last three quite convincingly.

That £42.5 million man who goes by the name of Mesut Ozil has added a little stardust to the Arsenal cast and Arsene Wenger will be quietly confident of big things from his side this season.

Ozil seemed like he had been playing for Arsenal for yeas when he made his debut against Sunderland last weekend and the German can only get better the more he gels with his teammates - surely a scary thought for the opponents who already have to cope with Arsenal's potent attack.

The first match of the group stage is always important - because if you pick up all three points, especially away from home, as Arsenal will look to do at the Stade Vellodrome, the rest of the five games becomes considerably easier.

Put yourselves under pressure early and it could all go pear-shaped in a hurry especially in such a strong group.

Team News: Arsenal have several players missing so early in the season, with Santi Cazorla joining the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mikel Arteta, Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo, Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby on the sidelines.

Wenger's main worry though is the fitness of Olivier Giroud who is a doubt for the game with a knee problem picked up in the late stages of the 3-1 win over Sunderland - Wenger though is hopeful of the French striker being passed fit. If Giroud fails a fitness test, then Wenger will most likely go with Theo Walcott down the middle.

Ozil is still feeling the effects of a virus, but is expected to feature along with Per Mertesacker who missed the Sunderland game through illness.

The positive for Arsenal though of course, is that Thomas Vermaelen is back from injury and the Arsenal captain is in with a chance of starting the game on Wednesday.

"It is fantastic to have him back, as a character and a player," Wenger told Arsenal Player. "Everyone is happy that he is back.

"He has gone through a difficult period but he is a great player, and will show that now that he is completely fit and available."

The other bright spot for Arsenal is the form shown by Aaron Ramsey this season, with the midfielder scoring three goals against Fenerbahce in the two-legged tie.

The Arsenal midfielder was also in brilliant form against Sunderland, and proved to be the match-winner with two wonderfully taken strikes. The better he gets, the better Arsenal will be, and with Ozil and Wilshere in tow, Arsenal have quite a scary trio.

Marseille do not have too many injury worries, with only Souleymane Diawara expected to miss out.

The last time Arsenal played Marseille at the Stade Vellodrome, Ramsey scored a late winner, and Wenger will be quite happy if history repeats itself - perhaps with a bit more oomph this time around.

Where to watch

The game is scheduled for a kickoff on Thursday morning (12.15 am IST) with the match being telecast Live on Ten HD.

Expected lineups: Marseille: Mandanda; Fanni, Mendes, N'Koulou, Morel; Romao, Imbula, Valbuena; Payet, Gignac, Thauvin.

Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Flamini, Ramsey; Walcott, Ozil, Wilshere; Giroud.

Prediction: 2-0 to Arsenal