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UEFA Champions League
October 19, 2011
• Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Referee: D. Skomina
• Attendance: 33258
A. Ramsey 90'+
90' + 3'
FULL TIME! Far from a classic in the Stade Velodrome but how vital that late winner from Aaron Ramsey which sends the Gunners to the top of group F.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
Goal Aaron Ramsey
GOAL! They've nicked it! A ball (from the right, amazingly) goes beyond Gervinho's control but no matter as there is substitute Aaron Ramsey at the back post to slide it under Mandanda. No more than the Gunners deserve given how poorly Marseille have played this half.
Gervinho slides in Van Persie on his right foot and he brings a good low save out of Mandanda.
Arsenal's best passing move of the night works Ramsey in on the right but he is, of course, compelled to drive his cross into a defender. Story of the night.
Panic for Marseille as a Diawara pass almost allows Ramsey in but N'koulou nips in to smash it clear.
Benoit Cheyrou is removed for Charles Kabore. Deschamps happy with the point evidently.
A low cross finds Gignac but he takes a complete airshot at what could have been a good opportunity late on.
Van Persie bends his run behind the L'OM defence but not enough to avoid seeing the flag go up for offside.
Yellow Card Andre-Pierre Gignac
More Arsenal possession, can they nick a winner at the death?
Valbuena leaves Mertesacker for dead in the box but his low cross is stopped by Koscielny.
Song so nearly threads Gervinho through but brilliant work from N'koulou cuts it out safely.
Another poor Djourou cross emphasises the theme of the night before a break in play for a Marseille injury.
Aaron Ramsey makes a return from injury and replaces Andrei Arshavin.
A well-worked build up from the Gunners finds Arshavin on the right but he tries to beat his man and can only muster a cross which rolls out of play for a goalkick.
15 minutes remaining now and you feel that Didier Deschamps would be the most content with a point given how poor his side has been this half.
Yellow Card Johan Djourou
Djourou receives a booking for a clean-looking tackle on Morel.
Lucho Gonzalez is withdrawn for Amalfitano.
Djourou and Gervinho link encouragingly on the right but when the Swiss defender attempts a further one-two with Van Persie the Dutchman miscontrols for perhaps the first time tonight.
Gignac's first contribution is to cut inside from the left and release a daisy cutter which meanders toward a grateful Szczesny.
The impressive Remy is removed for Gignac for Marseille.
Van Persie appears to be in behind from Rosicky's pass but is flagged offside before clashing into Mandanda.
Theo Walcott removed for Gervinho for Arsenal. Can the Ivorian contribute more to the Gunners attack?
Possession-based pass-the-parcel in midfield here. Neither side wants the ball.
Best chance of the night! Walcott is alone in the box after a mistake by N'koulou but hesitates and allows the defender to put him off enough to hit it weakly at the keeper.
Walcott disposses Morel but is pulled down cynically by the full-back who knows the Englishman's pace would've seen him away.
Djourou is finally introduced and should go in as a makeshift right back.
More good work from Arsenal but Robin Van Persie cannot get any power behind his effort from 18 yards after a great touch in a tight space.
Makes you wonder what the heck Arsenal do in training. Carl Jenkinson is withdrawn with an injury and it looks like Djourou will be the man to replace him - once he's got his tracksuit off that is.
And upon that claim from me, a goal is almost scored. A ball into the box from Remy pinballs between Ayew, Gonzalez, Jenkinson and Mertesacker before Song somehow gets it away under pressure. If a Marseille man could've controlled it it was a certain goal.
Two similar formations appear to be cancelling each other out somewhat so far tonight. Neither side really able to get an extra man over to threaten the opposition.
Mertesacker involved again as he clears the ball with Loic Remy bearing down on him. The German has looked a cool head so far in the Gunners defence.
A Valbuena free kick looks threatening until a well-timed Mertesacker header and the offside flag help clear the danger for Arsenal.
The Marseille fans in fine voice here still even though their side have had little of the ball this half.
Andre Santos intercepts well and has an opportunity to break but with only Robin Van Persie in support the move breaks down.
Arsenal have clearly been told to keep the ball for longer periods instead of rushing their attacks this half. More possession work however is followed by the inevitable poor final pass.
Yellow Card Souleymane Diawara
The free kick delivery is poor and a subsequent cross from Jenkinson is perhaps even worse. Really poor final ball from both sides so far tonight.
A good run down the left by Arshavin is brought to an end by Diawara with a clumsy shoulder charge. Free kick to the Gunners.
Slow, slow start to this half. Incredibly patient build up from the Gunners sees a Rosicky cross collected by Mandanda.
Arsenal get the game back under way.
45' + 1'
HALF TIME! Cagey is perhaps the best and only way to describe that half. Arsene Wenger perhaps the happier coach given his side's late domination of possession but they may well have to score here to even earn a point given their notoriously shaky defence.
A clear handball from Andre Santos concedes a free kick but the Marseille players want a second yellow as well for the Brazilian. The referee reluctant to brandish his card again.
Sloppy in the final 3rd from Arsenal again as neither team seems willing to yet grab the game by the scruff of its scrappy neck.
An Arsenal corner is cleared but drops to Van Persie whose shot is powerful, swerving....and about 10 yards wide of the post.
Song does well to win possession in his own box but flicks it dangerously to Theo Walcott who is foolishly fouled by Azpilicueta when he might have been better served standing the Englishman up.
Arsenal players taking turns now to cross poorly from the right as Jenkinson's effort is easily flicked away. Arsenal with more of the ball but none of the bite.
A dangerous inswinging free kick from the right finds Loic Remy but he can only flick it upwards instead of onwards and Arsenal have the ball again.
Same position. Same player. Same result. Frustrating from Walcott.
Walcott finds space again on the right but is wasteful and puts in a poor low ball which is easily cleared.
Nearest we've been to a goal. Valbuena surprises the Arsenal defence with his low cross but the onrushing Lucho Gonzalez can only toe wide when he might have done better.
Loic Remy wastes the opportunity to go one-on-one with Szczesny as a poor touch fails to control a bouncing pass in behind.
Marseille build pressure well until a weak lofted cross allows Szczesny to regan possession for the Gunners.
Remy runs the channels well and beats Mertesacker and Jenkinson looking to get a shot away. Fortunately for Arsenal the English defender nips back in in time to block the shot at the expense of the corner.
Marseille passing the ball along their back four now and Deschamps is likely to want them to show a touch more patience in their build up given their inability to keep possession thus far.
Jenkinson comes back on and that is good news for Wenger, he could probably do with one less injury worry.
The corner cleared but Arsenal are camped at the edge of the Marseille area until the ball is put out to see to a Carl Jenkinson injury.
Walcott beats Morel easily for pace but can't find Van Persie in the box. Another corner.
An Arsenal attack breaks down but Marseille fail to find Ayew on the break. Moving into end-to-end territory here. Who will blink first?
Arsenal surrendering possession readily here. How much longer will the hosts continue to let them off with it?
Alou Diarra charges forward but spoons his shot well wide of the post. Not even close.
On second viewing it appears that a Marseille hand helped to clear the Arsenal corner minutes ago. One decent penalty shout apiece now.
Mandanda does well to punch the corner away this time and a spell of pressure for the visitors is relieved.
So close for Arsenal! A second consecutive corner is headed goalward by Van Persie but is somehow scrambled away by Diawara. Another chance for the Gunners.
Incredibly slow and disjointed start here for both sides and you just feel that always benefits the away side most.
Jenkinson gets his cross right this time and forces Diawara to a scrambled clearance for a corner. Fortunately for Marseille, that set piece is collected easily by Mandanda.
The free kick is swung in but a Diarra flick on is straight to Szczesny.
Yellow Card Andre Santos
The card's out again. This time for Andre Santos after he bodychecks Mathieu Valbuena harshly on the touchline.
Valbuena too enthusiastic in closing down and concedes a foul just into his own half.
Yellow Card A. Ayew
Ayew is shown a yellow card for dissent after protesting to the referee over a clear handball in the box by Carl Jenkinson. Arsenal lucky to escape without conceding a penalty.
Cagey start in Marseille as a spell of Arsenal possession is roundly booed. The Gunners will have to do a lot of this tonight in order to prevent the host's pacey attack hurting them.
Benoit Cheyrou's ambitious half-volley from 25 yards flies way over the crossbar. Poor effort.
Good football from Arsenal sees Walcott find space on the right. He crosses well into the box and Van Persie looks to have missed an easy header from 8 yards but is relieved to see the flag go up to indicate he was in an offside position.
Van Persie shows brilliant feet to skip past two defenders but his flicked pass cannot be collected by a flat-footed Koscielny and possession is surrendered.
Koscielny allows a ball to drop over his head under pressure at the edge of his own area but it looks like it was all part of the plan as Szczesny collects. Either great communication or very fortunate from Arsenal that.
Carl Jenkinson appears to have plenty of license to attack from right-back tonight but he is yet to beat his opposing full-back with a cross.
Valbuena gets the resulting free kick on target but it is straight into the hands of Szczesny. Early touch for the Pole.
Yellow Card Alex Song
Song receives an early yellow card after bringing down Loic Remy. The French forward had picked the midfielder's pocket at the edge of the box and it was perhaps a wise decision to bring him down given his ability to put the ball in the back of the net.
Song's clipped pass fails to find Robin van Persie's run. Encouraging opportunity to get in behind the Marseille defence for the Dutchman there.
The linesman amusingly forceful in blocking Carl Jenkinson's attempt to take a throw from the wrong spot.
Mertesacker chests a hoofed ball down well but then inexplicably and with plenty of time to spare puts Jenkinson in an awkward situation by clip the ball behind him. The young defender manages to clear up the mess but not a clever start from the German centre back.
Marseille get us underway in a rather fetching orange kit.
The teams making their way onto the pitch now and there is an electric atmosphere at Marseille's Stade Velodrome.Who can grab the initiative in group F with a win here?
Arsene Wenger's hands were somewhat tied in terms of selection given an increasing injury list but he does make one unforced changes bringing in Andrei Arshavin for Gervinho. Aaron Ramsey has managed to prove himself fit enough for a place on the bench.
Didier Deschamps' team much as expected tonight as the influential Valbuena returns after missing their 0-0 draw with Toulouse at the weekend. In-form forward Loic Remy leads the line for L'OM and will hope to add to his impressive goal haul so far this season.
Arsenal (4-3-3): Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Andre Santos; Song, Arteta, Rosicky; Walcott, Arshavin, van Persie. Subs: Fabianski, Ramsey, Djourou, Gervinho, Chamakh, Benayoun, Coquelin.
Marseille (4-3-3): Mandanda; Azpilicueta, Diawara, N'Koulou, Morel; Diarra, Gonzalez, Cheyrou; Valbuena, Remy, Andre Ayew. Subs: Bracigliano, Gignac, Kabore, Traore, Amalfitano, Sabo, Roland.
Welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of Marseille vs Arsenal in Champions League group F. I'm David Lynch and I'll be talking you through this early top-of-the-group clash in France tonight.
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