A goal by Aaron Ramsey in the 92nd minute gave Arsenal a 1-0 victory over Marseille at the Stade Velodrome in the Champions League to send them to the top of Group F.
In what was for the most part an uneventful match where neither team had a clear scoring opportunity, substitute Ramsey popped up to score on Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda’s near post in the dying minutes.
For each team the best chances to score were on missed handballs in the box. In the first half Marseille had a legitimate shout for a penalty when Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson handled the ball in the box.
At the other end, Arsenal nearly scored from a Robin van Persie header from a corner kick, which was cleared off the line. Yet on the same corner Souleymane Diawara for Marseille handled the ball prior to van Persie’s header.
Missed calls like these question the effectiveness of goal line officials.
Both teams went into the half 0-0 and in the second half neither side appeared able to change that score line.
During much of the second-half Marseille controlled most of the possession with Arsenal trying to threaten on the counterattack.
Walcott had one scoring opportunity, but Marseille captain Mandanda comfortably blocked it. Instead Arsenal had to rely on their often criticized defense and their solidity without the influential Thomas Vermaelen bodes well for the rest of their season.
When this game appeared destined for a draw, which would have been a good result for Arsenal, Ramsey scored an invaluable goal to remind the rest of Europe that Arsenal is still one of the top teams in the competition.
Despite the turmoil of this summer and the losses of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, this Arsenal team showed heart tonight.
Marseille’s season however appears to be in free fall. This home defeat only compounds their dismal Ligue 1 form where they only have 9 points from 10 matches.
This is a new Arsenal team might not have the fluidity and speed that most expect from Arsenal, but they are improving match by match. This victory will provide a much needed confidence boost.Follow paulmbanks