LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal’s path into the Champions League knockout rounds looks to be a safe one with a home game against rock bottom Olympique Marseille coming up on Tuesday but they are taking nothing for granted.
The Londoners top Group F with nine points from four matches, the same as second-placed Napoli and three more than Borussia Dortmund.
Should Arsenal beat Marseille and Dortmund fail to defeat Napoli, Arsene Wenger’s side would be guaranteed to qualify with a game to spare.
Midfielder Santi Cazorla has warned against complacency especially with a trip to Naples concluding the group stages.
“The main problem I see is everyone thinks it’s going to be an easy game for us to win,” the Spaniard told the club’s website (www.arsenal.com) after Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Southampton also kept his side top of the Premier League.
”There is nothing at stake for Marseille because they have zero points but they are going to make things difficult for us. It may be tough and if we’re not careful we might slip up and then we might not be able to get through to the next round.
“We need to understand it’s a vital match,” said Cazorla. “If we obtained a bad result then it would make things very complicated for us to go to Napoli and win there.”
Marseille held Arsenal to a 0-0 draw the last time they played at the Emirates two years ago but the French club have a poor record in England.
Their only victory in 11 competitive visits was a 1-0 win over Liverpool in the 2007-08 Champions League group stages and they have lost six times.
With little chance of even finishing third in the group, Marseille may elect to field a weakened side at Arsenal.
Coach Elie Baup, whose team enjoyed a 3-1 victory at AC Ajaccio on Friday in Ligue 1, has hinted he may try some new faces.
“We’re eliminated from the Champions League but we need to show some good things,” he said. “It will perhaps be the occasion for some young players to gain some experience.”
Marseille will hope Andre-Pierre Gignac is in good form on Tuesday as they are without forward Dimitri Payet because of a knee injury.
The 1993 European champions are also minus Ghana striker Andre Ayew due to a knee problem.
Editing by Tony Jimenez