Arsenal FC v Marseille –
Final Score/Result: Arsenal 2-0 Marseille
Man Of The Match: Jack Wilshere
Arsenal FC moved one step closer to securing their place in the next round with a comfortable win over Marseille at the Emirates.
The group of death has lived up to its billing and the testimonial to this fact is that Arsenal are yet to qualify for the knock-out stages despite having 12 points from their five matches so far. Arsene Wenger’s men did the job at their hand by beating the French club, but Dortmund’s win against Napoli means the Gunners could yet miss out on qualification on the final day. The probabilities are in favour of the English club though, as anything less than a 3-0 loss on their final match against Napoli will ensure their qualification, while a draw or a win will ensure their place at the top – this of course is given Dortmund win at France.
The match started on a bright note for the Gunners as Jack Wilshere provided them with an early lead. Bacary Sagna played through Wilshere down the right and he had acres of space to run into. The England international drove at the Marseille left back Jeremy Morel and eventual skipped his challenge inside the penalty box and made room to shoot. With the stroke of his left foot, Wilshere curled the ball into the far post.
Just few minutes later, Wilshere found himself in a similar position and this time he set up Aaron Ramsey with pass across the goal, but the Welsh midfielder’s shot was wonderfully saved by Mandanda this time. In the 37th minute of the match Arsenal did have the opportunity to double their lead as Nicolas N’Koulou fouled Aaron Ramsey inside the box. Mesut Ozil stepped up to take the resultant penalty, but Mandanda guessed right and saved the spot-kick.
Marseille failed to make any significant impact on the game in the first half and manager Elie Baup made the changes in the second half. Mathieu Valbuena and Florian Thauvin replaced Ayew and Imbula, and made an instant impact on the match. Thauvin in particular had some good chances to equalise and was all over the pitch. Szczesny had to make two good saves to keep him out, while Monreal cleared one off the line.
But Arsenal did have their second goal eventually in the 65th minute of the match. Aaron Ramsey played through Mesut Ozil inside the box on the right and the German international picked out Wilshere on the far post, who finished calmly to complete his brace. In the end, it was a comfortable win for the Gunners as Marseille looked out of sort.
Arsene Wenger was happy with the result, but knows that his side still has a job at hand when they face Napoli in their last group stage fixture.
“We were in control of the game and overall we were never really under threat. Maybe sometimes we were missing that cutting edge to finish off the game early on, but we felt so much in control we knew that would come. It came a little bit late for my taste but I’m happy it came. I like Jack Wilshere’s first goal. He is starting to think ‘whatever [Aaron] Ramsey can do, I can too’. He’s calm in front of goal.
“We have to finish the job. It’s a tricky situation because you think you just do not have to lose big, but that is a dangerous thing to put into our heads. Marseille have to play Dortmund in the last game.
“Marseille played well. They had some young players out there who were looking for experience and that would have been good for them tonight. He [Wilshere] played on the right quite a lot as a young boy. He’s free to come inside and he does that in an intelligent way. Sometimes you can find more freedom that way than if you play in the centre.” – The Arsenal manager told the press.
Arsenal v Marseille – Statistics
Jack Wilshere produced a delightful performance for the Gunners last night. The 21-year-old was a constant threat down with his running and kept the Marseille defence on the back foot. He scored the first with a delightful run down the right and an even better finish with a curling shot. The second arrived after a period of possession. Mesut Ozil set him up and he finished with ease. He is seemingly reinventing himself as a right sided attacker this season. The above heat-map shows his movement and positioning on the pitch against Marseille last night.