Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
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Thursday, 28 November 2013

Wilshere scores two as Arsenal beat Marseille

Arsenal maintained their lead at the top of their Champions League group with a convincing 2-0 win over Marseille. Jack Wilshere grabbed both on a night he showed his confidence was ever improving. The Gunners made the French side look like a distinctly average side and they hardly caused any sort of threat all night. Dortmund also beat Napoli meaning we now only require a point to be guaranteed a place in the last sixteen. As for the starting line-up there were a few changes made. Kieran Gibbs missed the game through illness so Nacho Monreal made only his second start of the campaign. Meanwhile Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini replaced Cazorla and Arteta respectively.
Jack Wilshere scored the first brace of his career as Arsenal beat Marseille
Despite winning pretty comfortably, it was one of those games in which the players and Wenger himself came away from the game with one regret, and that was that we didn't score as many goals as we would've liked. Marseille's defence was pretty poor and it could've been 4 or 5. Mesut Ozil missed the chance to regain some form as he missed a penalty. It was a stuttered run-up and a surprisingly poor penalty from a German. Meanwhile, before that, Aaron Ramsey missed a chance from close range. If the challenge on Mertesacker on Saturday was anything to go by then Giroud could've had a penalty too after being dragged to the floor in the first half.

I picked up on Jack Wilshere's fine performance against Southampton at the weekend by saying that we're finally getting to see him at his best this season. He scored two very fine goals on Tuesday night which is bound to give him new found confidence. The first came just 27 seconds into the game. A ball was put down the right channel for Wilshere to run onto, he then cut inside before clipping the ball into the far corner in what was a brilliant finish. His second was the product of a brilliant piece of build-up play which resulted in Ozil sliding the ball across goal for the English midfielder to tap home. Wilshere now has 4 goals this season, the most he's scored in a single campaign, definitely something to get excited about.

Another positive from a pretty productive night for the Gunners was Wojciech Szczesny. He didn't have much to do but when called upon put in a convincing display. In the second half when Marseille looked a little livelier, he pulled off two brilliant stops to deny Thauvin from scoring and putting the visitors back into the game. The Polish keeper has put in some brilliant displays this season, Crystal Palace up there as one of the best, to further assert himself as our number one. He had a spell last season on the sidelines in which Fabianski took his place and it looked as though his position was under threat. However he's come back stronger than ever and only conceding one goal this month outlines that.

Wojciech Szczesny's form hasn't half been helped by the formidable pairing of Mertesacker and Koscielny. Arsenal's back four have only conceded once this month, whilst Per Mertesacker, because he missed the United game, hasn't conceded in the whole month of November for Arsenal and Germany. A quite incredible record. Nacho Monreal came in as mentioned earlier and he did a stern job and looked fairly solid, albeit he wasn't exactly tested until Valbuena and Thauvin came on.

We now look fairly certain to qualify having amassed 12 points from 4 games so far in the so called 'Group of Death'. We're sitting pretty at the top of our group with Dortmund and Napoli both behind on 9 points each. However, if Napoli are to beat us in Naples next time out then they'll need to win by a margin of three points in order to knock us out of the competition. That's if Dortmund some how lose to Marseille on the final match day.

Before that though is a game in the Welsh capital against Cardiff City at the weekend. They've been fairly good at home this season and have beaten Manchester City and recently this weekend, managed to grind out a draw against Manchester United. It won't be an easy game but it's still one that I'm expecting us to win if we want to go on and really challenge for the Premier League title.

The teams lineups:
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Wilshere(74), Ramsey, Rosicky(74), Ozil(81), Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Arteta(81), Cazorla(74), Gnabry, Walcott(74), Bendtner.

Marseille: Mandanda, Abdallah, N'Koulou, Mendes, Morel, Lemina(81), Romao, Imbula(57), Ayew(57), Khalifa, Gignac.
Subs: Samba, Diawara, Mendy, Fanni, Cheyrou(81), Thauvin(57), Valbeuna(57).

My man of the match: Jack Wilshere.

Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP).
Attendance: 59,912.

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