MARSEILLE 0 vs ARSENAL 1
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger insisted that confidence is slowly starting to flow again after Aaron Ramsey’s injury-time goal secured a precious Champions League victory which shot the Gunners to the top of Group F.
Like Arsenal, Marseille have been struggling domestically and thriving in Europe, but Didier Deschamp’s side were criminally unadventurous against opposition who had gone three-and-a-half years without keeping a clean sheet away from home in this competition.
Centre-halves Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker enjoyed reputation-enhancing evenings to keep Marseille at bay, before late substitute Ramsey secured all three points with a tidy finish.
Arsenal now head the section with two of their three remaining games at home and look set for a 12th consecutive year in the knockout stages, not that Wenger is taking anything for granted.
He said: “We’ve made a little step forward but we have to be humble. We are a team who must continue to grow and we have to show that. The next game at home against Marseille is very important.
“Yes [winning], it will help us, but if you look back last five or six games you will see we only have one defeat. We are slowly getting there.
“I felt like we needed to be patient and intelligent. You could see our midfield had experience – we didn’t make stupid mistakes and we didn’t play stupid balls. It’s an important win but you take any win away from home in the Champions League.”
Both sides were unfortunate not to earn first-half penalties for handball offences, while Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie were both denied by goalkeeper Steve Mandanda after the break. But he was beaten late on when his defenders failed to cut out substitute Johan Djourou’s deep cross and Ramsey, unmarked, fired low inside the near post.