Monday, October 24, 2011

Gunners Down Marseille with Late Strike, Marseille 0-1 Arsenal

Snatching victory through injury time, the Arsenal have topped Group F in the UEFA Champions League. A hard-fought match on foreign soil seemed destined to remain scoreless, but the Welsh Wonder dubbed "Rambo", Aaron Ramsey, broke the deadlock with seconds to spare.  With two of their three remaining group fixtures at home, Arsenal are in the driver's seat and look to finish group play with a top seed in the knockout round.

The Stade Velodrome boasts one of Europe's most spirited (and vocal) atmospheres and 1400 Arsenal fans skipped the channel to find themselves in the midst of a fiery cauldron of Marseille support.  Dismantling Dortmund 3-0, the French side were looking to bide their time and use counterattack technique to undue the Arsenal.  Early on, Jenkinson looked impressive down the right flank for Arsenal, spending more time in Marseille's half than ours.  The first half was full of intensity from both sides and thirty minutes into the fixture, either squad had reasonable appeal for a penalty.  Neither would have their complaints heard and for all the back and forth football, it was nil-nil going into the break.  

Jubilant Gunners celebrate 'just-so' victory
The second half was much like the first.  All buildup, no result.  Substitutions on both sides.  Seemingly no avail.  Despite the scoreline, it was an encouraging performance by the Gunner defense.  Undoubtedly, the achilles heel of recent Arsenal performances, the backline was showing a determined solidarity.  It was good play by the hosts and visitors alike, unfortunately nothing could separate the two.  The draw looked inevitable as injury time ticked away and then, out of nothing, a goal!  Second half sub Johan Djourou sent a searching ball into the box.  Nudged ever so slightly by Gervinho, another second half installment, the ball wound up at the feet of Ramsey.  Without a moment's hesitation, the ball was flitted into the net and the match was over.  

The win gives Arsenal 7 points and command of the group.  This side is on the rise and look more dangerous with every game.  The Gunners 'never say die' attitude brought home all three points in this crucial Champions League game.  Look for them to grow stronger as the campaign continues.  Cheers Rambo!!  Come on You Gunners!!

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