As their odds of 21/10 for victory suggest, Arsenal have the hardest task of all the English clubs in action over the two days devoted to Champions League matchday three.
While Manchester United and Chelsea look set to record routine wins against inferior opposition in the shape of Otelul and Genk, Manchester City have their best chance of picking up their maiden Champions League victory so far when they host struggling Villarreal at the Etihad Stadium.
This leaves the Gunners, who have a tricky-looking encounter against Marseille in the south of France, where the home side are billed as 5/4 favourites in bwin’s 3Way football betting market.
Arsenal’s status as underdogs is certainly justified given Marseille’s home record against English opposition, with seven wins and a draw from ten matches played.
Didier Deschamps’ side have also made a confident start to their Champions League campaign, with two wins to nil achieved in their opening two Group F fixtures.
With the Gunners struggling away from home so far this season – they have just one win from six on their travels – Marseille look good to make it three wins out of three and extend their advantage at the top of Group F to five points.
However, there are other factors at play which suggest that Arsenal’s chances should not be dismissed so readily, and there could yet be value in the draw at odds of 23/10.
Firstly, the Gunners’ travel sickness this season has been confined to their domestic campaign, with the encouraging results achieved on their travels in Europe suggesting their defence is better equipped to deal with continental attacks.
A 2-1 play-off win over Udinese at the Stadio Friuli was the first sign of this, with the 1-1 draw with German champions Borussia Dortmund on matchday one offering supporting evidence.
Then there is the fact that Arsenal have not lost a game in France in the seven matches they have played on the other side of the Channel, with four wins and three draws recorded.
Marseille’s poor league form offers Arsene Wenger’s men further hope – they might have won their first two Champions League matches, but a solitary victory in ten attempts in Ligue 1 shows L’OM are a long way from top form.
Suddenly a Marseille win looks less assured, and with Arsenal quick out of the blocks in both of their group games so far – all three of their goals have come before the break – they could silence the Stade Velodrome faithful by taking an early lead.
With this in mind, Arsenal to score the first goal could pay off at odds of 5/4.
But with Marseille more prolific after the break and boasting home advantage, the best bet could be on Arsenal to be winning at half time before the game ends in a draw at 13/1.
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