Olympique Marseille 0 Arsenal 1: Aaron Ramsey makes the trip worthwhile

Olympique Marseille and Arsenal were suffering from the same case of mediocrity in their respective leagues and dominance in Europe. Marseille ended last season as runners-up to the French Ligue 1 behind Gervinho’s former employers but they are uncharacteristically 14 points off the pace while their London counterparts are currently 12 points behind Manchester City with just eight games gone.

Marseille surprisingly had a miserly home defense in the Champions League as Chelsea and Manchester United visited the Stade Velodrome and couldn’t score a goal while Arsenal had not recorded an away clean sheet in the Champions League since that famous 2-0 victory in San Siro three and half years ago.

Andrey Arshavin got the nod ahead of Gervinho and Aaron Ramsey was fit enough to make it to the bench whilst Kieran Gibbs remained out.

With just three minutes gone, Alex Song produced a horror moment where he was robbed off the ball after dwelling on it only to receive a yellow card for a tackle he made trying to recover the ball back. Mathieu Valbuena lofted the free kick in but Wojciech Szczesny was equal to the challenge. Shortly afterwards, a cross field ball was sent to Lucho Gonzalez’ path but Laurent Koscielny came across to anticipate the ball only to receive a shout from his goalie so the Frenchman ducked as Szczesny caught the ball.

The last time Koscielny and Szczesny were involved in a mix-up, Arsenal lost their best shot of a trophy on the 27th of February, 2011.

Song sent a ball to Theo Walcott who controlled it well before swinging it into the box. Robin van Persie got on the end of the cross but he strayed fractionally offside. On the other end of the pitch, Bruno Cheyrou was unmarked from a throw-in but his effort sailed effortlessly over the bar.

The first major talking point of the match arrived when Carl Jenkinson allegedly handed a cross inside the box but the man with the whistle was having none of it. Andre Ayew was the closest on the crime scene and he was quick to let out his frustrations vocally on the ref only to be brandished with a yellow card.

Vabuena made mince meat of Andre Santos on the right flank but the Brazilian full back decided to exert his revenge on the French elf before getting his name in the Slovenian referee’s book. Song and Mikel Arteta combined well before teeing up Jenkinson but his proposed cross for van Persie was intercepted by Souleymane Diawara for a corner kick.

Arsenal had a series of corners that were handled well by the Marseille defense but another talking point surfaced when Diawara deliberately handled the ball inside the box before clearing the ball off the line when van Persie’s header beat Steve Mandanda fair and square.

Walcott used his blistering pace to great effect as he dribbled past Jeremy Morel but his ball in the final third was blocked off for another corner that yielded no fruit. A major concern came from the Arsenal bench when Jenkinson hit the turf while clutching his knee. Johan Djourou warmed up a bit but his services were not needed because Jenkinson continued with the game.

Out of the blue, Loic Remy used his pace to keep the ball in play before jinking past Per Mertesacker to advance into the Arsenal box. Jenkinson ran at the player with the hope of winning the ball but Remy skipped past him too before Song arrived on the scene to mop up any threat that ultimately led to Marseille’s first corner of the game.

Laurent Koscielny showed some uncertainty with a panicky clearance that went in for a throw-in. Cesar Azpilicueta pelted it to Valbuena and the French hobbit’s cross arrived on the feet of Lucho but his effort went wide.

That was all the first half had to offer and Marseille were sitting pretty at the top at that point of the game. Arsenal started as the brighter side after the interval and a pass by Tomas Rosicky which was intended for van Persie was anticipated by Mandanda.

Jenkinson couldn’t continue with the tie so Johan Djourou came in his stead. Song sent a nice pass to van Persie but Mandanda did well to save the Arsenal captain’s low drive that came off his fabled chocolate leg. Rosicky did extremely well to create a through pass for Walcott but his finish was quite atrocious.

The pacey Englishman was replaced by Gervinho who added wit to Arsenal’’s play from the flanks. The ref’s performance was put under question when he awarded a card to Djourou for a tackle that was won fairly by the Swiss brick wall.

Late on, Arsene Wenger brought Aaron Ramsey back into the fold to replace the peripheral Andrey Arshavin. Valbuena made Per Mertesacker show him his number before drilling a ball that was anticipated by Laurent Koscielny.

Gervinho made a good run before feeding van Persie but his shot was saved by Marseille’s goalie. At the 90th minute of play, I’d already prepared a title for today’s post:

Olympique Marseille 0 Arsenal 0: The Gunners show lack of quality and confidence perhaps?

But it was smashed to bits when Djourou produced a cross Bacary Sagna and Jenkinson would have been proud of that arrived at the foot of Ramsey and the Welsh captain wasted no time in smashing it past the onrushing Mandanda to win the game for Arsenal right at the death.

Football is all about moments like that and it was a joy to behold.

Ramsey’s goal meant a lot to Arsenal at this critical stage of the season. For starters, it was Arsenal’s first away clean sheet since the famous 2-0 win against AC Milan in March 2008, it was a goal that was going to raise the confidence of the players, It signified that Arsenal had recorded an away win and they have been hard to come by nowadays and it has brought Ramsey to the spotlight for all the right reasons.

Szczesny (6.5) had an untroubled outing but did okay under the circumstances.

Jenkinson (7.0) made a large amount of crosses and supported Walcott superbly on the right hand side.

Andre Santos (6.5) didn’t offer much in attack and had his lucky stars thank when the referee left him on the pitch.

Koscielny (7.5) was very impressive in defense and made many vital interceptions.

Mertesacker (6.5) was on the end of some disgraceful dribbles against the opposition but he did okay for make some challenges in the course of the game.

Song (6.5) put his team under pressure in the game and was lucky that his mistakes were not utilized by the opposition.

Arteta (7.0) coordinated himself well and was always available for a pass.

Rosicky (7.5) showed good movement on the ball and defended well off it.

Arshavin (5.5) was painful to watch.

Walcott (6.0) eased off as the game progressed.

Van Persie (6.5) lacked good service but did well to get on the end of some moves that ended up being offside.

Djourou (7.5) provided a brilliant assist.

Gervinho (7.0) added some steel to the attack.

Ramsey (7.5) was Arsenal’s hero at the end of the encounter despite being on the pitch for a short while.

The fans chanted the ‘One Nil to the Arsenal’ song and the winning run that Arteta hoped for is currently ongoing. A win against Stoke will be highly welcome before Arsenal hosts Bolton in the Carling Cup.

As Jordin Spark said in her hit song,

It’s one step at a time for Wenger’s men.

Sayonara.

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About enigma106

An Arsenal fan with a good sense of humor

Posted on October 20, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Match Report and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. The D held strong the whole game and that was without our two best defenders TV5 and Bac. Those two plus Jack returning and having and influence on the midfield will be huge. If we can just tread water and stay close enough in the league we’ll be lookin good. AWs three subs albeit one forced was the combination for the goal. Rambos finish made for a perfect trip to France. Lets finish the job this year and win the group so we dont draw those Catalan C*nts in the round of 16

  2. Thank you for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your next
    post thanks once again.

  1. Pingback: Olympique Marseille 0 Arsenal 1: Aaron Ramsey makes the trip worthwhile « Internet Era

  2. Pingback: Gooner Daily awards for the month of October « Gooner Daily

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