Arsenal were undoubtedly handed the toughest Champions League group of the Premier League competitors, and at the halfway stage sit on top of Group F.
However, having played two games at the Emirates Stadium and the weakest side away from home, the second half of the fixture list looks slightly more daunting.
Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli all sit on six points with two wins from three games, while Marseille have been the whipping boys with three consecutive defeats.
The game against Dortmund at the Emirates last time out had the potential to see Arsenal with one foot in the knockout stages if they won it. However, last season’s beaten finalists showing their clinical edge to win 2-1 in England, all is to play for. The Emirates Stadium faithful will hope they will be buying tickets for the Champions League in 2014, but whether there team are in the last 32 remains to be seen.
Arsene Wenger’s men must travel to Germany in their next game and face the intimidating atmosphere that Signal Iduna Park possesses. The French coach will urge his side to remember their 2-0 away win over Bayern Munich from last season’s tournament, but the visitors will have a tough 90 minutes without a doubt.
From there Marseille are the visitors to north London in Arsenal’s last home game; a must-win clash if the Gunners are to get through to the next stage.
Finally, a trip to San Paolo to face Napoli completes the group fixtures. It remains to be seen just how the other teams will go against each other and what the state of play will be before Arsenal travel to Italy. However, there is every chance that it could be a winner-takes-all clash against the accomplished Serie A side.
Napoli have proven to be tough opponents on the continent for a number of seasons, and beat Manchester City in Naples two seasons ago to see the Premier League side eliminated.
With Arsenal summer target Gonzalo Higuain leading the line for Rafa Benitez’s men, it could well be a nervy end to the campaign for the Gunners.
Realistically, Arsenal need to try to avoid defeat in all three games, drawing twice away from home and winning once at home. This should be enough to clinch a spot, but they may well rely on Marseille to get a point at some stage against either Dortmund or Napoli.
Come the end of the group fixtures, Wenger will hope that he is not left cursing Robert Lewandowski’s counter-attacking winner at the Emirates two weeks ago.