Arsene Wenger has passed Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud fit for tonight’s opening Group F Champions League match against Marseille at the Stade Velodrome.
Ozil, who joined ‘The Gunners’ for a club-record £42.4m, has shaken off an illness while Frenchman Giroud has recovered from a knee problem he picked up during last weekend’s 3-1 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Germany international Per Mertesacker returns to the squad after missing the game at Sunderland while Wenger has named defensive player Isaac Hayden and forward Chuba Akpom among his 18-man party for Marseille.
Ozil’s national teammate Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Abou Diaby, Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta have all been sidelined.
Wenger believes there is no tougher group than the one which includes Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Olympique de Marseille and ‘The Gunners.
“If you look at the group, I would say yes it is the hardest group because all the four teams have a chance to qualify.
“That means the every game is basically a very important one.
“On average you need 10 points to qualify so that gives you the task- 10 points in a group is difficult as that could be a reasonable number to get through.
“I am concerned because from now they play for two months every three or four days and it’s important we get some players back because you cannot play for the next two months with the squad we have at the moment.”