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UEFA Champions League

  • 19 October 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
  • Referee: D. Skomina
  • • Attendance: 33258
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Marseille 0-1 Arsenal: Aaron Ramsey strikes priceless injury time winner for Gunners

Marseille 0-1 Arsenal: Aaron Ramsey strikes priceless injury time winner for Gunners

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Welsh captain's late effort sends Arsene Wenger's men top of Group F, as Premier League side forget domestic woes to inflict first European defeat of the season on French team

Arsenal snatched a late 1-0 victory over Marseille in the Stade Velodrome as Aaron Ramsey struck in injury time to seal all three points to put the Gunners top of Group F in the Champions League.

Boss Arsene Wenger opted to replace Gervinho with Andrey Arshavin on the left-hand side, as Andre Santos came in for the injured Kieran Gibbs in an otherwise unchanged starting XI from Sunday's 2-1 Premier League victory over Sunderland.

Didier Deschamps was able to call upon the attacking trio of Loic Remy, Andre Ayew and Mathieu Valbuena as the French side looked to continue their positive European form.

Wenger’s side looked to get on the front foot straight away, but when Alex Song lost the ball in midfield he then fouled Loic Remy and picked up a yellow card. Fortunately for the Cameroonian, Valbuena’s free-kick went straight into the hands of Wojciech Szczesny.

The Gunners began to get into gear with their controlled passing game and their patient approach was nearly rewarded when Theo Walcott’s cross was almost headed into the net by skipper Robin van Persie, however the Dutchman could not connect properly as his effort sailed wide.

Marseille tried to get back into the game and were using the ball quite nicely, but their delivery in the final third was poor as they wasted decent opportunities to put Arsenal’s fragile defence under pressure, particularly from set-pieces.

However the French side did feel they were denied a penalty when a cross appeared to hit Carl Jenkinson on the arm in the box, but their appeals were waved away by referee Damir Skomina.

The visitors nearly made the home side pay for their lack of cutting edge as Van Persie saw his goal-bound header cleared off the line by defender Souleymane Diawara as it looked destined for the back of the net from Mikel Arteta’s corner.

The hosts responded to this threat through Remy, who danced his way through the Gunners' defence before firing a shot at goal which deflected off Jenkinson, which was enough to take the strike away from Szczesny’s net.

Didier Deschamps’ side were beginning to increase the pressure on the Arsenal backline and Lucho Gonzalez came extremely close to breaking the deadlock as he latched onto a cross in the area, but his left-footed shot went just wide of the post.


         Ram-raid | Aaron Ramsey strikes at the death to snatch all three points for Arsenal

The Gunners began the second half the stronger of the two sides and saw a lot of possession, but like the hosts in the first period, they wasted good chances to put Marseille under pressure with sloppy deliveries in the final third of the pitch.

The home side came close to ending the stalemate when Remy put a dangerous ball into the Arsenal area which the Gunners failed to clear and Ayew nearly capitalised upon, however Song was on hand to make a great tackle to prevent the Ghanaian getting a shot at goal.

Just after the hour mark Walcott had Arsene Wenger’s side’s best chance of the evening when he was put through by Tomas Rosicky.

The England international managed to escape the attentions of defender Nicolas N’Koulou before firing an effort straight at keeper Steve Mandanda, who made a decent stop to deny the Gunners taking the lead.

Both teams had problems in the final third of the pitch as neither seemed capable of producing the quality needed to carve out that one clear cut opportunity, much to the frustration of their managers on the sidelines.

Van Persie threatened for Arsenal late on but he was again denied by Mandanda as the Frenchman looked to keep a clean sheet and a share of the points for the French side.

However his efforts proved to be in vain as Ramsey struck in the 92nd minute after latching onto a through ball, smashing a right-footed effort past the Marseille keeper to steal the points for the Gunners.

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