The UEFA Champions League has started for Arsenal and it’s in the best possible way. An away win isn’t a joke. It might not have been an accomplished display but the result was just what we wanted. A Theo Walcott’s sumptuous volley and a Ramsey’s shot ensured a 2 goal cushion before the referee gifted Marseille a penalty which Jordan Ayew converted to put a dent on Szczesny’s clean sheet. It seems the only way to beat the Pole these days is from the spot. He has only conceded 2 goals from open play this season while letting in 4 from the spot.
Arsenal still had injury issues though Mertesacker returned to the starting line-up after recovering sufficiently from the illness that kept him away from the win at the Stadium of Light. The implication was that Sagna reverted back to his natural right back position with Jenkinson dropping to the bench.
Chances came the way of both teams but wayward finishing halted the French side while Mandanda stood stoutly against Arsenal until the 2nd half when Walcott was able to beat him with a sumptuous volley from point blank range while Ramsey’s shot also took a decent deflection to fly past him. For the first goal, a cross from Gibbs was misjudged by a Marseille defender allowing the ball to bounce over him and fall kindly for Walcott to volley in.
For the second goal, Ramsey received the ball in a decent position and ghosted past a couple of challenges before firing at goal. A minor deflection helped the shot beyond the reach of Mandanda. The shot took a deflection but it won’t stop the goal from been awarded to the Welshman, after all, the effort was on target.
In the twilight of the game, Marseille got a gift in the mould of a penalty. Ramsey was adjudged to have fouled a Marseille player in the box though replay showed there was minimal contact. No need crying over spilt milk, after all it didn’t stop us from bagging the maximum points.
Now, it’s time to share my thoughts from the match with you.
Walcott opens his account for the season
The Englishman has finally grabbed his maiden goal of the season. He has been closing in on scoring but wayward finishing and brilliant goalkeeping had combined to deny him but yesterday his exquisite volleyed finish was too hot for Mandanda to handle. My hope is that he continues scoring.
Ramsey can’t stop scoring.
The Welshman is in the form of his life. Not only is he playing well, he is also scoring. Yesterday, he bagged his 5 goal of the season. What a stunning form. Until this season, he had only scored 6 goals for Arsenal but now he has almost equaled that in less than 6 weeks of the new season. With his outstanding standout performances, he is justifying the faith Wenger reposed in him and with his form, Arteta faces a huge battle to return to the side. The competition for place can’t be sterner.
Wilshere on the wings
In the injury absence of Cazorla, Rosicky, Podolski and Chamberlain, Wilshere had to move on to the wings. It wasn’t a totally new experience to him since he started out his career on the wings. In that position, he didn’t do badly, showed good movement and got into some decent goalscoring positions. Wilshere isn’t bad on the wings but he is better through the middle.
Ahead of the game the Frenchman was an injury doubt and had to take a late fitness test. Yesterday, he was very quiet and almost anonymous. It’s good that Arsenal could win without goals or assist from him but we need him firing on all cylinders especially against Stoke that we play at the weekend.
Flamini convincing again
The Frenchman had been on song since his return to Arsenal. Like fish to water, he has adapted to life at the Emirates, bossing the midfield and shielding the back 4 from attack onslaughts. His defensive astuteness has allowed the creative and attack minded trio of Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil to thrive. He is one of the reasons why Ramsey is getting goals because he tends to advance forward and get into goalscoring positions. That is something he won’t have attempted if the defensive midfield wasn’t in good hands. Arteta faces a huge battle to get back into the side with the way Flamini is playing.